I hate to label this scare, but that’s how I felt; week 27 was not my favorite week. As I mentioned during week 26, amidst getting ready for our move I was scheduled for my glucose tolerance screening. This is a routine screening pregnant women do around weeks 24-28. Depending on the results, you may take a follow up glucose tolerance test to see if you have developed gestational diabetes (GD), which may develop in the third trimester. I’ve read it is common in 2-10% of pregnant women.
So I went to my screening, drank the sugary orange drink (50 g of sugar which didn’t taste too bad), waited an hour then had my blood drawn and did not think much of it. I’ve been working out (this term is relative during pregnancy) 6-7 days/week and eating fairly healthy during my pregnancy, so I thought no big deal, I’ve prepared, right? Well, I got a call from the nurse a couple days later that I did not pass my screening. My blood glucose was 145 mg/dL after 1 hour, 6 mg/dL over the cutoff of 139 mg/dL. Though only slightly elevated, I felt disheartened, guilty and sad. While I knew this was out of my control and might just be my hormones and genetics, I couldn’t help but question if the post-dinner dark chocolate squares, my very fruity/carby breakfasts, or the occasional pizza were to blame. But at the same time I was frustrated as I have been good about eating fruits & vegetables and keeping up with my fitness. David was out of town for work, and was very supportive, but I still went into a pretty stressed mode. He reminded me that if I did have gestational diabetes it was only a matter of monitoring what I eat and my glucose levels. I was still upset at myself, no matter how much I told myself it was out of my control.
I had to go back to the clinic to take the glucose tolerance test a couple days later, which is a 3-hour test that requires fasting. You fast 8-14 hours before, have a blood sample drawn, drink a sugary drink at twice the concentration of the screening drink (100 g sugar) then have blood drawn again after 1, 2 and 3 hours. Now this was a really sugary drink. The after-taste was strong. Talk about making a pregnant woman uncomfortable – no food for 17 hours except an insanely sugary drink! I came to the clinic armed with my laptop, a book, crossword, magazine and some letters to write. 3+ hours of sitting around hungry is a LONG time. Luckily the lady doing the tests was ever so kind and nice to work with. At least that was pleasant. By the end of the tests I was ravished but also starting to feel achy and feverish. I went home for lunch but then had to crawl under my sheets as I was getting a mild fever. I can’t say whether this was related to testing or not, but it was the first time I had any sickness during the pregnancy. Of course, this added to my worries and I thought I had definitely not passed the test. I spent the rest of the weekend mentally prepared that I had gestational diabetes and reviewing low glycemic index (GI) food lists and making sure I was not eating certain carbs and sugars. I also read way too many forums (do not do this) on the testing and GD. Not knowing was not fun.
On Monday I put in a call to the nurse and much to my surprise she told me “Good news! Your numbers are fine”. PHEW. I realize GD is something that can be dealt with, but I was also much relieved as I wouldn’t have to watch every bite going into my mouth. There are enough things going on with pregnancy that I wasn’t looking forward to having to think about one more. For the few days that I didn’t know, I also found it a bit difficult to balance eating enough calories for my growing boy but to also find low GI foods. I certainly sympathize with those diagnosed with GD, and I plan to be a bit more conscious of super high sugary/carby things going forward. But I’m also very thankful I can eat what sounds good – in moderation. Pregnant ladies note: the screening has a very high false positive rate. As many as 2/3 of those that fail the 1-hr screening go on to pass the 3-hour test. Don’t stress like I did (easier said than done).
Other than that we’ve been hard at work organizing and packing! Not much longer and we will be in a HOUSE with a garage and baby room even. Much needed. Have a great weekend all!