We have a bit of a shorter blog than usual, as this particular test is pretty straight forward, however i will be offering my best tips on dealing with The Dreaded Glucose Tolerance Test!
If you don't know what the glucose tolerance test (GTT) is, it's a set of bloods that are taken and tested to measure your tolerance to glucose, or sugar. It determines whether you may or may not have Gestational Diabetes in your pregnancy. This particular test in my opinion, is a literal form of torture, and it is a real pain if you aren't too fond of needles or getting your bloods taken. The worst part of this test for me, is not the nasty drink, not the blood tests, but the amount of time you have to sit around and wait, that is what i find the most annoying. The GTT test, takes about two hours, and you have to fast for 8-12hours beforehand. The first thing they do when you turn up to your booked GTT test, is they check all your details, and then they take your first set of bloods, i don't know if it's the same for everyone but i get three vials of blood taken with the first set of bloods. You then have five minutes to drink a 300ml Glucose drink. Now in my state and country, Queensland, Australia the glucose drink tastes like a very sweet but flat lemonade. I had this test done just two days ago and i read on the bottle that it has 75.6grams of sugar per bottle. And honestly WOW!? Surely ingesting that much sugar in one hit is not healthy, but that's just how it is. After you finish the drink, you are then sent to sit down for an hour. Once the first hour of waiting is complete, a second set of bloods is taken, and you are sent to wait for another hour. you are not allowed to eat, some places will let you drink water, but not all. After the second hour of waiting is up, your third lot of bloods is taken and that completes the test. And that is the process of the GTT, i assume its the same for other states and countries, with maybe a few tweaks to the process depending on where you are from.
Another hard part for me, is that i don't get to have the test only once during my pregnancy like most mummas to be, i have to do it twice! Now i know there are a lot of other pregnant mum's who have to do this twice as well and i feel our pain ladies. For me i have now completed four GTT's, two for each pregnancy. This pregnancy I've also completed an early fasting sugar test, but not GTT, and i passed well, but unfortunately i still had to complete two GTT's despite this. The reasons why i have to complete two GTT's, is because of twp things. One being that i have PCOS which is a hormonal disease that has a chance to give me diabetes in the future if i don't keep it under control, and the second reason being that unfortunately i am over a certain BMI. I was actually dieting and lost 9kg before i fell pregnant with my second baby, and even though i had lost some weight i still wasn't under the BMI required to not have to do two GTT's, which really sucked! But it's okay because i know how important it is to catch Gestational Diabetes early.
Can you chose to decline the GTT? Yes you can, no one can make you do things you don't want to do in your pregnancy, but it is important to understand the possible risks of having gestational diabetes and not discovering them early, or at all. The risks could be high and could affect you, and your baby. I won't sit here and try and bore with you with the details, and i won't sit here and try and convince you to take the GTT if you don't want to, that's not what I am about. But i do believe in research as you will already know from my other blogs. Take your time, ask questions to your GP or midwife, and research the internet or books about the GTT, before you make a decision. If you choose not to take it, it is okay too, as it is your journey, your pregnancy, your body and your baby.
Let's jump to my tips! I have a couple of things that help me during my GTT and they may help you too, who knows.
Water: A good thing to do the night before your GTT is to drink plenty of water and keep yourself well hydrated especially if you aren't good with needles. The more water you have in your system the more hydrated you are. And the more hydrated you are, the easier it is to get your blood out, which means the blood taking part of the test will go nice and fast and you won't have to worry about having to have a few needles being poked into you, or them even having to take blood from your hand rather than your arm. Plus being hydrated is super important, if you are dehydrated having your bloods taken, and drinking a highly sugary drink can make you very sick, and dizzy. Drink plenty of water and it can help to avoid any dizziness or sick feelings.
Take nausea medicine: This particular tip is for those pregnant mummas who are still experiencing nausea and vomiting. You are allowed to take your nausea medicine before the test, but it will still be a struggle if you eat after your medicine kicks in. I know for me that i struggle with the amount of time i have to wait before i can eat and i manage to do it well, but it's still hard to deal with. Having my nausea medicine before a test helps so much! If i didn't take it i know i would throw up immediately after having the drink.
Keep movement to a minimum: If you are like me and get uncomfortable easy, especially when sitting for long periods of time, this is hard to deal with. I try and keep my movement to a minimum which helps with the nauseous and sick feeling the drink gives me. You're also unfortunately not allowed to get up and walk around really which is pretty hard as well. But the less you move the easier it can be on your stomach. Especially if your baby is like mine, and after the drink, goes absolutely berserk with kicks and somersaults.
Distraction: This is the biggest tip i can give and it makes it so much easier. Having your phone and watching netflix or TV, social media or reading can make the two hours feel like ten minutes. I like to bring my phone, my DSi and sometimes my laptop (for blogging obviously HAHA!) which makes time absolutely fly. The distraction also takes your mind off the sick feeling from the drink, and it can help to ease any nerves you might have if you are scared of needles. Bring whatever catches your interest the most, and distract yourself as it helps so much to get through the test.
As annoying as the GTT test can be, following my tips makes it easier on myself, and i think it could help any pregnant mumma really. I've had my fair share of blood tests, but the GTT is by far the hardest to do, and i really, really don't like it, but i can make it easier and so can you. Always remember that if you have any questions, or any worries you can ask your GP or midwife, or friends and family who have been through it before. Reassuring yourself and calming your nerves makes the test easier too. Yes it's annoying, yes it's time consuming, but you will get through it and once it's over (in most cases) you probably won't have to do it again, at least not until your next pregnancy and by then you'll be a pro, like me!