Declining the Glucose Test and the Alternative

At my last prenatal appointment (25 weeks), my midwife brought up the Oral Glucose Tolerance Test (OGTT). Yep, that nasty (or so I have been told) orange drink. As with my pregnancy with Ethan, I declined the test. Thankfully, I have a natural-minded prenatal care group that is open to alternatives to monitoring gestational diabetes development. Declining the test didn't make her bat an eye.

Why did I decline?

A few reasons... First, I don't think the test is an accurate portrayal of the function of my body. Many women experience false positives that could cause unneeded stress and additional testing. Approximately 15-20% of women taking the OGTT register a false positive while only 2-5% actually develop gestational diabetes. With my first pregnancy, after learning about the high false positive rate of the OGTT, I decided finding an alternative would be the best decision for my pregnancy.

In addition, I do have some form of diabetes in my family history. I felt that because diabetes was in my history, I wanted a bigger picture of how my body processed sugar. And I knew I wasn't going to get the full picture from a glass of sweetened orange drink and one finger prick. I needed to know how my body handled different kinds of foods and forms of sugar (simple carbs, etc) and over time with variables like exercise included.

Lastly, the drink used for the OGTT isn't remotely like anything I consume on a regular basis. It is not "real food." In my normal day to day diet, I would not consume anywhere near 50 grams of sugar, especially in the form of Dextrose, in the span of five minutes on an empty stomach. For this reason, the OGTT many times triggers nausea, headaches, or vomiting. Of course, just the possibility of these mild reactions are not a deal breaker for taking the test, but made at least researching an alternative seem like good due diligence.

So what's the alternative?

The alternative was clear-cut for me: monitor my blood sugar like my diabetic dad - with a blood sugar monitor. For my first pregnancy, I used an extra monitor of his (new needle) and bought the test strips. I took my blood sugar readings three times per day; one fasting (before breakfast), two post meal after waiting 1-2 hours directed by my midwives. Along with the readings I kept a food journal where I recorded food intake, water, and exercise for a duration of 1-2 weeks. I admit it was fun! And I felt like I had a deeper understanding of how my body functioned. For this pregnancy I am currently in the process of monitoring my blood sugar the same way. Declining the OGTT was an easy decision to repeat.

I understand that not everyone has access to a diabetic family member from whom you can borrow an extra monitor. Discuss your options with your midwife or OB. They may be able to prescribe a monitor and test strips for a period of time and depending on your insurance, co-pays for the device may be relatively small.

If a blood monitor is not the right decision for you, some natural food alternatives for the orange drink may be an option. Basically any sugar-based food eaten to the correct amount (50-70 grams) of sugar should produce the same effect of the orange drink. I have heard that drinking real maple syrup is a popular alternative. You may even be able to substitute pancakes for the orange drink! Of course discuss your desired substitutions with your OB or midwife.

As I approach week 30 and my next prenatal appointment, I am happy with my results thus far and am confident that I will be cleared of gestational diabetes. Yay!

Have you tried any real food alternatives or used a blood monitor in lieu of the glucose test?

Vi ses senare!
Share to Facebook Email This Share to Twitter Pin This

No comments:

Post a Comment

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...