3 Hour Glucose Tolerance Test Is the Gold Standard
OGTT is an oral glucose tolerance test. For most women, around week 24-28, they do a 1 hour glucose test in the doctor’s office. Now, if you had gestational diabetes with an earlier pregnancy or your risk factors are high, you might get tested earlier in your pregnancy, and your doctor might go straight to the 3 hour glucose tolerance test.
The doctor is doing a quick check to see if you need to take the 3 hour glucose tolerance test. So, if you fail the 1 hour test, they send you for an OGTT. OGTT is the standard to measure and diagnose you with gestational diabetes. This test also tells your doctor how “bad” your gestational diabetes is. So, he/she will know if you are going way high or just a little over. That information may or may not affect their decision about medication and diet.
So, you arrive at the lab for your 3 hour glucose tolerance test. You will sit in the lab waiting area for a little over 3 hours so bring something to read or write to keep you busy. It’s a lonely place and the only thing on the TV’s is the news or Jerry Springer. Not much fun. Trust me, you will need something in addition to the 3 year old magazines they have in the lobby.
You come in fasting, not having eaten anything after midnight the night before. You may or may not be able to drink water. If you can, drink water so that your blood is easier to draw. The last thing you want is to be dehydrated and not be able to get blood or take forever. They take your blood sugar level first as a fasting level for the baseline of the 3 hour glucose tolerance test, then you drink a “glucola” which is a concentrated sugary drink. (I would say it tastes like coke, but it doesn’t.) It’s pretty sugary, and there may or may not be flavor options. Then in 1 hour increments they take a sample of your blood to measure. Otherwise, you sit in the waiting area between blood draws for the 3 hour glucose tolerance test.
Then What Happens?
Once it’s over, you leave and your doctor gets the results fairly quickly. Then you find out if your body has done a good job of removing the sugar from your blood stream or not. Some women view it initially as a judgement and feel that they have done something wrong. You should know that it’s just the hormones and your body is not handling the amount of hormones well, but that does not make you a good or a bad person.
Either way, you will be fine and so will your baby. Gestational diabetes is very treatable with diet, exercise and sometimes medication. Read about gestational diabetes meal planning in my recently published book on amazon, and find out how to plan your day to make your pregnancy healthier and happier.