Gestational Diabetes Test Alternatives


Did you know that you don't have to drink the orange glucose drink for your gestational diabetes screening? I hear from many clients who tell me how unappealing the orange drink is. The test alone has the potential to bring anxiety and then they add this sugary, syrupy drink on top of that. 

Gestational diabetes (GD) screening typically happens between 24 and 28 weeks gestation. Your care provider may alert you ahead of time that you should not eat or drink for a period of time before the test. Once you 've had the sugar-laden beverage, your blood will be drawn about 30 minutes later and then tested for how well the body has processed the sugar.  

Why test for GD? For some people, diabetes can develop as a pregnancy symptom and resolve once pregnancy has ended. Gestational diabetes is often asymptomatic, meaning that you may not see or feel obvious signs of having developed diabetes. Diabetes in pregnancy can increase the risk of high birth weight babies (called macrosomia), jaundice, shoulder dystocia and preterm labor. Pre-eclampsia in the birthing person (high blood pressure) can also be an increased risk of GD. Pre-eclampsia symptoms can lead to more interventions such as induction of labor, the introduction of medications such as Magnesium, and Cesarean birth. Gestational diabetes typically resolves after birth. 

So back to the screening procedures. Many care providers and labs prefer the uniformity of the glucose drink but you do have choices. Some may be open to discussion about alternatives. I personally chose to drink 10 ounces of Welch's grape juice for my test. Others have used bananas, jelly beans, pancakes and orange juice. Doesn't that sound far more delicious than soybean oil and orange dye? 

As always, do your own research and speak with your care provider about what is the best choice for you and your baby. Because you always have choices!