19 August 2010

The Dreaded Glucose Test

Uck SO glad this test is done. Hopefully I pass and don't have to do it again.

The glucose screen is given to discover whether or not you have developed gestational diabetes in later pregnancy.

From Babycenter.com:

Between 2 and 7 percent of expectant mothers develop this condition, making it one of the most common health problems of pregnancy.

When you eat, your digestive system breaks most of your food down into a type of sugar called glucose. The glucose enters your bloodstream and then — with the help of insulin, a hormone made by your pancreas — provides fuel for the cells of your body. Like the type 1 and type 2 diabetes you can get when you're not pregnant, gestational diabetes causes the glucose to stay in your blood instead of moving into your cells and getting converted to energy.

Why does this sometimes happen when you're pregnant? During pregnancy, your hormones make it tougher for your body to use insulin, so your pancreas needs to produce more of it. For most moms-to be, this isn't a problem: As your need for insulin increases, your pancreas dutifully secretes more of it. But when a woman's pancreas can't keep up with the insulin demand and her blood glucose levels get too high, the result is gestational diabetes.

So that's the deal. It's one of the biggest potential inconveniences during pregnancy; diagnosis means dietary restrictions and more close monitoring. According to my Mom, this test wasn't standard when she was pregnant with us kids. It was only given if higher risk was detected by your doctor. Today it's more of a standard practice, probably because of more cases of regular diabetes, and the consequences for you and baby can be severe if steps aren't taken to manage it. To check, a glucose screen is performed between 24 and 28 weeks. Per my doctor you get a better reading later on, so I've waited until 27.1 to do it.

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For the test I went to the blood lab, checked in, and was given this lovely little chilled bottle to drink. It contains 50 grams of glucose and tasted exactly like flat orange soda. I'm very glad it was cold; warm flat soda = yuck. You have to drink all of it within five minutes. Some women find it makes them queasy but I was lucky and was able to chug it about a minute and a half.


Next, you wait. For an hour. Forgetting a book or something to do would be a big mistake. I brought mine and the time went by pretty fast. Finally, blood is drawn to check my blood sugar level and see how my body processes sugar and turns it into energy.

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My doctor gets the results in a few days. If the reading is normal I can breathe easy- no gestational diabetes. If the reading high, I have to go back for the second test which requires fasting and 3 hours. Keeping my fingers crossed! Kinda wishing I had gone at the beginning of the week so I could find out by the weekend, but I'll probably hear on Monday or Tuesday.

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