When I first found out I was pregnant one of the first things I began researching was about all of the prenatal tests and procedures.
There are many more tests and procedures done now compared to over 30 years ago when I was born.
One of the tests that I researched was the pregnancy glucose screening test. I wanted to find natural alternatives to glucose drink that’s required for the test.
At first, I researched online and found that many women just consume 50 grams of sugar as a natural alternative to the pre-made glucose drink called glucola. Then they take the glucose blood test just as they would when you drink the glucola.
My OB, who actually delivered me when I was born, said that I can have anything with 50 grams of sugar an hour before the test instead of drinking the gluocla. He said that if it was him, he would just have a fruit smoothie containing 50 grams of sugar for the test.
Before I talked to him about natural alternatives to the glucose drink, I was prepared for him to tell me that I had to drink the gluocla and there were no other options. I was surprised that he supported drinking something else instead of the glucola.
Even though drinking glucola isn’t healthy, I would if I needed to. But, when you’re already nauseous from pregnancy and want to try to avoid processed/chemically laden foods, why not choose the healthier option with less side effects as long as it’s just as effective.
How the Pregnancy Glucose Screening Test Works:
The pregnancy glucose screening test is recommended some time between 24 and 28 weeks of your pregnancy. It is a test used check for pre-diabetes and diabetes. The test results reveal your body’s ability to use glucose, a type of sugar.
The test involves drinking a sugary drink called Glucola that contains 50 grams of sugar. Then, one hour later, your blood will be tested to measure your blood glucose level. Many recommend taking the test while fasting, however; that is not necessary.
Risk Factors for Gestational Diabetes and Is it Necessary to do the Glucose Screening Test?
When I first asked my OB about the pregnancy glucose screening test, he said that he was not concerned with me having gestational diabetes because I have no risk factors. He said that he can almost guarantee I will not have gestational diabetes, but due to the less than 1% chance of me having it, just because doctors don’t want (the liability) to be sued, they have to recommend testing all pregnant women. He stated that 40 years ago they wouldn’t have even tested me for gestational diabetes because I have no risk factors. Before 1973, pregnant women were only screened for gestational diabetes and not tested unless they had risk factors.
Risk factors for Gestational Diabetes Include:
– Family history of gestational diabetes
– Prior diagnosis of pre-diabetes or diabetes
Can you Refuse the Glucose Screening Test?
Yes, as with any tests or procedures, you can refuse it or ask to use a natural alternative to glucose drink. I would definitely ask your OB or midwife about using an alternative glucose drink if you don’t want to drink glucola. They may be more open to it than you think, such as with my doctor.
Why Do They Want you to Drink Glucola Instead of Eating 50 grams of Sugar?
The drink makes it easier for doctors and patients as it is a pre-made drink with an exact amount of 50 grams of sugar. When you eat or drink other foods in place of it, it makes it harder for doctors to determine if you had the exact 50 grams of sugar. However, for conscientious patients, it is an easy task to determine what foods or drinks to consume that contain 50 grams of sugar. Finding natural alternatives to the glucose drink is actually very easy! Many fruit smoothies contain nearly the exact 50 grams of sugar amount.
What’s in Glucola?
The drink contains artificial flavoring and preservatives. These include; dextrose, food starch modified, glycerol ester of wood rosin, brominated soybean oil, FD & C Yellow # 6, sodium hexametaphosphate BHA and sodium benzoate.
Study Shows consuming 50grams of sugar instead of glucola is just as effective with less side effects
A study published in the American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology showed that jelly beans were an effective alternative to the 50 gram glucose drink (glucola) when used to test for gestational diabetes. There was no significant difference in the one hour serum glucose levels for those that had jelly beans instead of glucola. The jelly beans were preferred by 76% percent of patients in the study. There was also 38% less side effects reported with the jelly beans compared to the glucola drink.
Natural Alternatives to Glucose Drink – Glucola
You can really have any sugary food or drink as an alternative to the glucose drink, glucola as long as it contains 50 grams of sugar. Or you can have a combination of foods/drinks that will bring you to the 50 grams of sugar level.
Just prepare ahead of time, days before the test, by looking at food and drink labels to decide what you’re going to have and make sure it contains close to the 50grams of sugar level.
It doesn’t have to be perfectly 50 grams of sugar, just as close to that as you can get.
For my pregnancy glucose screening test, my alternative to the glucose drink was a fruit smoothie and muffin, which together was about 50 grams of sugar. This was much more appetizing than drinking glucola – a sugary orange drink, especially when you’re already nauseous from pregnancy.
- This is the fruit smoothie I drank. It contains 49grams of sugar. So, it’s a perfect alternative to the glucose drink. That’s all you need to have because it is close enough to the 50grams of sugar level, which makes it easy! I drank half of it (25grams of sugar) along with muffin (25grams of sugar).
Also, for someone like me that never drinks sugary drinks, it was a better option. Over the last 10 years, pretty much, the only drinks I have are water, lemon water or tea. For people that are used to drinking soda and all kinds of sugary drinks, drinking glucola may not give them as many side effects as it would for me.
How to Talk to your Doctor About Using Natural Alternatives to Glucose Drink – Glucola
Your doctor may be more open to you using an alternative to the glucose drink than you think. I was very relieved when my doctor approved of me using an alternative to glucola. When I went to my doctor’s appointment, I brought a printed out copy of the study to show him (although I never had to take it out). I felt confident that I was well informed about alternatives to glucola and that there was research showing that it was effective.
My Results with Using Natural Alternatives to Glucose Drink
I was glad I opted for using natural alternatives to glucose drink, glucola. It was much easier for me to get down a smoothie and have a muffin as opposed to the glucola drink (which made me nauseous even just thinking about something similar to soda).
Hope this was helpful!
Let us know if you used any alternatives to the glucose drink or test in the comments!