Glucose Tolerance Tests: What to Expect

It’s that awesome time of pregnancy where bloodwork seems to be a new norm, and whether you’re a first time mom to be or a seasoned pro, I’m sure bloodwork isn’t your favorite part of being a walking baby carrier.

Today we’re gonna talk about glucose tolerance tests and what to expect, as I currently sit in the waiting room of my local lab on hour one of the three hour leg of my glucose test, I figured it’d be a good time to shed some light on a pivotal part of prenatal care.

One Hour vs. Three Hour Tolerance Test

When you first get your lab slip, it will probably be for a one hour glucose tolerance test, don’t panic this one is easy and can save you the time of doing the three hour depending on your test results.

When you do go in for your one hour test they’ll confirm all your information and then make you drink a glucola drink that tastes like an off brand orange soda, so that’s pretty cool. You have ten minutes to drink the soda type beverage and then you’ll sit and wait for an hour for the sugary substance to be absorbed into your blood stream, once that hours up they’ll call you back in, draw some blood and send you on your way.

The difference with the one hour tolerance test and the three hour is obviously the time it takes to complete the test, but also the one hour test isn’t typically a fasting test, where as the three hour test is done while fasting, meaning I am currently starving as I write this and really missing my morning coffee.

The three hour test is typically reserved for those who’s one hour test comes back high, and this is actually my first time having to do it, I was in the clear with baby number one so that just shows every pregnancy is different and try not to fret too much if you do get called back for the three hour.

The Waiting

With the one hour test it’s an easy one hour wait, then draw and your free. With the three hour test, it’s an initial draw of your fasting blood sugar level, then if you get the all clear to continue you take the drink and get drawn after hour one, two, and three. As you can tell the three hour is really more of a four depending on how long patient registration takes, the time it takes to get the initial draw and reading of your fasting blood sugar, and then subsequent time for drinking the drink and the following three draws. You’re going to be hanging out for a while which brings me to my next point.

Bring Something to Do

I’m not sure if it’s standard policy but with both my tolerance tests they advise you not to leave the building in case of an adverse reaction, or if you loose track of time and ruin the validity of the test. For my one hour I brought a book, this time around I’m spending the first chunk working on blog stuff, then swapping over to binge some Stranger Things during the hour waits.

Don’t Panic It’s Normal

Anxiety with bloodwork is totally normal so try not to panic too much! The lab techs have been doing this for a lot longer the time you’ve been sitting in the chair, so try to remain calm and relax! I always find it helpful to do some solid deep breathing as they draw the blood because I’m a sucker for needles, but whatever helps you stay cool will make the experience 100% easier.

The Results

The reason behind the glucose tolerance testing is to test for gestational diabetes, which in simple terms is a form of diabetes that occurs during pregnancy and can effect both mom and baby in a whole slew of ways. For more information on gestational diabetes you can check out this great resource from the CDC.

The Wrap Up

Regardless if you’re going in for a one hour glucose tolerance test or three hour fasting glucose tolerance test, don’t panic! This is a standard practice in prenatal care and plenty of mamas have been there before and survived!

Feel free to call your OB or midwife with any and all questions and don’t be afraid to speak up and ask any questions you have with the lab staff the day of your test! Everyone is there to make sure you know what’s going on, and should be more than happy to explain and qualm any fears you have.

Best of luck and happy pregnancy!

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