Between 26 and 28 weeks of pregnancy, you will have a glucose screening test to check your blood sugar levels. If the screening test results are high, your doctor will perform a glucose tolerance test in order to diagnose gestational diabetes. Gestational diabetes puts you and your baby at risk for immediate and long-term health consequences. It is important to follow your doctor's instructions before the test to ensure an accurate test result and to follow a diet and exercise routine if you are diagnosed with this condition.
Glucose Test Basics
For your glucose tolerance test, your practitioner will take a fasting blood draw to determine your blood sugar levels. You will then drink a glucose solution, and your blood will be tested once an hour for three hours. You will stay at the doctor's office the entire time, so bring something to entertain yourself, arrange for child care for older children and have a snack on hand to eat after the blood draws are complete. If two or more of your blood readings are abnormal, you will be diagnosed with gestational diabetes.
Eating the Day of the Test
According to the National Diabetes Information Clearinghouse, you need to abstain from eating anything for at least eight hours prior to your glucose tolerance test. Eat a healthy meal the night before the test. From then on, you are only allowed sips of water. Typically, this test is scheduled for first thing in the morning, so most of the time you are fasting you are asleep. Consider having someone drive you to and from the test if you're concerned about low energy levels from fasting.
Eating Days Before the Test
According to MedlinePlus, you can eat your standard diet leading up to the test. You may be advised that you need to eat at least 150 grams of carbohydrates per day for three days leading up to the test. You get this amount from eating two slices of white bread. Women's Health of Blairsville in Georgia outlines an exact diet for all patients prior to a glucose tolerance test to ensure the test is accurate in determining how well your body burns carbohydrates, so always check with your doctor's office regarding diet and exercise instructions in the days prior to your glucose tolerance test.
Gestational diabetes puts your baby at risk for low blood sugar at birth, breathing problems and risk for obesity and type-2 diabetes later in life. It puts you at risk for high blood pressure, depression, C-section and type-2 diabetes. It is even more important to eat right and exercise if you are diagnosed with this condition during pregnancy. Your diet should contain moderate amounts of fat and protein. Carbohydrates should be less than half of your calories. Opt for high-fiber, whole-grain carbohydrates and fruits and vegetables. Avoid foods high in sugar, such as desserts, sodas and candy.
- Medline Plus: Glucose Screening and Tolerance Tests During Pregnancy
- BabyCenter: Glucose Screening and Glucose Tolerance Tests
- National Diabetes Information Clearinghouse: What I Need to Know About Gestational Diabetes
- Women's Health of Blairsville: Glucose Tolerance Testing
- American Diabetes Association: What Is Gestational Diabetes?
- Medline Plus: Diabetes Diet - Gestational
- American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology: Oral Glucose Tolerance Test and the Preparatory Diet.