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The Glucose Tolerance Test: Did you know there are alternatives?

The Oral Glucose Tolerance Test is a standardized test for gestational diabetes that every pregnant woman is asked to take between 24-28 weeks. During which, you are asked to drink the classic, orange glucola drink and then have your glucose level checked an hour later. Glucola ingredients include: water, dextrose (D-glucose from corn), citric acid, natural flavoring, food starch modified, glycerol ester of wood rosin, brominated soybean oil (banned in Europe, Japan, and India; actually also patented in the US as a flame retardant), food dye and coloring: Yellow #6, Sodium Hexametaphosphate, BHA, and . 10% Sodium Benzoate (3) (check out https://cspinet.org/resource/food-dyes-rainbow-risks for the ‘rainbow of risks’ associated with food dyes). You will find that there is a clear glucola drink you can request that will eliminate the food dyes but will still have all of the other toxic ingredients. I’m really confused about all of this. The minute we find out we are pregnant (and hopefully long before conceiving), we work to be the healthiest version of ourselves (at least I hope so). We are told ‘no deli meat’, ‘no raw fish’, ‘no raw eggs or raw dairy’, ‘no high mercury fish’, ‘no raw sprouts or unwashed produce’ in order to protect our unborn baby but we are drinking flame retardant during our glucose test?! The worst part of all is that many women don’t even know glucola is filled with all this awful stuff and they don’t realize they have other options!

Gestational diabetes can have negative effects on both mom and baby. If mom’s sugar levels are high, baby will also get extra sugars and can grow much larger for this reason, making it more difficult to deliver vaginally without complications. If baby is more difficult to deliver due to size, mom is more likely to need a c-section. In an effort to avoid all of this, many doctors will schedule a 39 week induction. Induction is basically medically forcing a mom’s body into labor before she is ‘ready’. More often than not, this is just the beginning of a long cascade of medical interventions and thus, more risks. Moms with gestational diabetes are also more likely to have high blood pressure and potentially develop preeclampsia. All that being said, standard glucose testing is obviously not something we recommend every person refuse. You need to weigh the pros and cons and do your own research before talking with your doctor about this. I personally chose an alternative way to test and my doctor was very respectful and super flexible (everything you want in your OB, love you Megan). Some of you might still ask WHY? For me, downing 50 g of sugar and carbs from a super toxic source at one time during pregnancy didn’t sit well. I would never do that to my body any other time…so why would I do it during pregnancy? Everything that goes IN and ON our bodies, also goes to baby. The other issue I have with this test is that some women that test positive for gestational diabetes don’t actually have it. They may be advised to go on and drink the glucola A SECOND TIME (100 g this time, on an empty stomach, after fasting for 8-14 hours) and have sugars checked at 1, 2, and 3 hours to finally come to an answer. Some women choose to use insulin to maintain their sugars while some women will work hard to limit carbs and sugars in their diet throughout pregnancy.

This is something I highly recommend researching on your own in order to make an informed decision. The best thing you can do is to be informed and to discuss your options with your doctor. Your doctor is there to care for you the best they can and respect your decisions! If you’re feeling any other way, it might be time to find a new provider.

A few alternative testing options you may decide to discuss and try:

-*The Fresh Test* (a non-GMO, gluten free, BPA free, organic alternative; we sell this in our office!)

-A1C blood test (gives an idea what your blood sugars averaged over the last three months)

-Follow your normal diet and periodically test sugars at home with glucose monitor (fasting, an hour after a meal, randomly)

-Organic juice of choice before testing (50 g sugar)

-Typical meal you might have heavy in carbs and sugar before testing

 

As always, if you have any more questions on this topic, we are here 100% to listen, guide, and support you!

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