The Glucose Intolerance Test – Is it really that bad?

I was not looking forward to getting my Glucose Intolerance test once I hit the 24-28 week mark. If you’ve never had to have one of these, it’s a 1-hour test that involves drinking 75 to 100 grams of an extremely sugary beverage in under five minutes, then having your blood drawn at the end of the hour. While this test can be used to diagnose diabetes and pre-diabetes, it’s most commonly used to diagnose gestational diabetes.

Because pregnancy isn’t complicated enough.

This was my first time taking the test. Anyone who fails has to come back for a second, 3-hour test that involves and even bigger, more sugar-filled drink.

All of the moms who took the test before me told me it was an awful experience, mostly referencing how awful the drink would taste. I decided to make an appointment for the morning so that I would be easily be able to fast beforehand. Some doctors require fasting, some do not. Always go with what YOUR doctor tells you to do! 

When I walked into Quest Diagnostics, I was taken back to a room immediately. To be honest, the nurse working with me was terribly rude, and I was already nervous, so I mostly tried to keep to myself and listen to the instructions she was mumbling. I was told that most women are given a choice as to the flavor they want to drink, but I wasn’t given that option. The nurse came in with a bright orange bottle, set it down on the counter next to me, and told me I had five minutes to finish.

I think it took me three.

I was pleasantly surprised to NOT hate the drink. It didn’t come close to being the worst thing I’d ever drank! Just like the doula who teaches my Bradley Method class told me, it tasted like flat orange soda. For anyone who doesn’t like a ton of sugar in food and drinks, I could see how it could be a struggle, especially first thing in the morning.

Once you get the drink down, it’s back to the waiting room to sit for a full hour, after which you’ll have your blood drawn.

I completely forgot that I wanted to bring a book, and I recommend doing so if you have to take the test. Instead, I played Sim City on my phone as the sugar jitters kicked in. For the first half hour, I was downright uncomfortable. My leg was shaking, I was sweating and I felt slightly out of touch with reality. In the midpoint of the hour, I felt a moment of pure bliss, when the jitters subsided and I was left to build my city in peace.

Of course, this lasted for approximately 40 seconds before the crash began.

Shaking was replaced with yawning and allowing my head to droop forward. The nurse had told me to grab her when the clock hit 9:58 a.m., but at 9:56 a.m., she stepped out.

She never came back.

Panicked that I’d have to do the test over again if I didn’t get my blood drawn, I knocked on a room and asked another disgruntled employee if she could help me.

Note to self: Don’t ever work at Quest Diagnostics. It’s clearly a soul-crusher.

In the end, my blood was drawn on time, just in time for me to crash HARD. If you’re particularly sensitive to sugar, I would actually suggest you take someone with you to drive you home during this crash period.

A week later, my results came in. I passed! No 3-hour test for me!

The glucose intolerance test was not as bad as I expected it to be and not as bad as people told me it would be. You deal with a mild level of discomfort for about half an hour, followed by hours of exhaustion. A tip I would suggest is not to make any big plans for the day that you have the test done. Take the time to relax and focus on how good that relaxation is for the baby.


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