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During our last appointment, I asked the medical aid why I only did one glucose test months ago in my first trimester. Not only did my OB declare that I was good to go, she also said I could eat anything I wanted, in moderation.
So I took a day off from work (a precious, precious day from my maternity leave, actually) and spent my morning and afternoon dizzy and hungry, taking this test.
Immediately after leaving the BBC, I met up with Kim for lunch at Nyonya, a local Malaysian place. The good news is, Baby Taco is currently not oversized and is happily kicking and mobile all the time. This article, in which I take on the toxic ingredients in oral glucose test drinks, is the first in a 3-part series on gestational diabetes. Gestational diabetes increases the risk of a host of serious medical problems for mom and baby.
Elevated blood sugar creates a condition in the body called “oxidative stress” and in pregnancy, which is already a state of somewhat increased oxidative stress, this can lead to high blood pressure, preeclampsia, and preterm birth. Gestational diabetes is a dangerous condition — actually so is high blood sugar even if below the level that qualifies for GDM (discussed in this blog series). Current guidelines recommend what is called a “two step approach” for screening for gestational diabetes. In an age of increasing concern about the toxic exposures our babies are getting even before birth, and the impact of these on their short and long term health, including the impact on their DNA (genes), it is important to note that at least one of the glucose test drinks EasyDex, by Aero Med (note that ingredient lists from the test companies are notoriously hard to find online!) contains something called BVO, or brominated vegetable oil. Yet it is in EasyDex, a medical testing “drink” consumed by presumably hundreds of thousands of pregnant woman in the US!!! Vani Hari (aka The Food Babe), a food activist who is bringing fresh attention to the hazards of the chemical additives in our foods, brought the BVO issue to my attention when we were chatting at a conference. Ok, if you’ve already given it to your baby, take a deep breath – everything is gonna’ be ok. Even if the glucose test drink you are offered doesn’t contain something as obviously noxious as BVO, they pretty much all contain artificial flavors and colors, high fructose corn syrup, and the glucose itself is derived from corn – most certainly not GMO-free! As women, many of us were taught to “be nice,” or “be seen and not heard.” As patients, this can translate into accepting tests, procedures, and treatments that we feel we don’t want or need, or that, in this case, might not be safe for us or our babies!
You certainly have the right to read the label on the glucose test drink you are offered before agreeing to the test!
You also have the right not to be screened for GDM, as well as to choose your preferred screening method.
As I discuss in the next article in this series, What You Should Know About Gestational Diabetes and Glucose Tolerance Testing in Pregnancy, the GTT test has a wide margin of error – the test misses many women who have GDM, and diagnoses others who don’t have it at all. It’s really important to know that this is not an emergency decision, and that you do have a choice! Consider “The Jelly Bean Test.” This test, which has you eat 28 jelly beans, which also provide 50 grams of sugar, has been popular amongst midwives for decades, and now there are GMO-free and naturally-colored brands to choose from. If you found this blog informative (or even just shocking!), please make sure to share it with all of your pregnant – or could get pregnant – friends!
See you in the comments and the next installment on how to know if you should have testing for GDM!
Funny story…I passed this test with my first two pregnancies but had cleaned up diet before third baby ( semi paleo ) and I failed test!! For anyone who needs an alternative: my birth center gave me the option of the the glucose drink or 16 ounces of orange juice. I am curious what your experience and thoughts are with capillary glucose testing for postprandial glucose testing?
Most of your links go to your other blog posts, none of which cite actual studies showing maternal-fetal transmission, any negative effects, or at what levels.
I am familiar with the precautionary principle and as you know it is extraordinarily vague, and if strictly applied actually prohibits itself (i.e.
Sure, it has some gross stuff in it, but a generally healthy woman taking this test has a body that is able to handle it.
There’s no problem with boycotting it to pressure companies to make it healthier in general, but be more straight forward and eliminate the misleading fear-mongering. It seems to me (and this is just my opinion, fwiw) that either approach can be considered a valid one. If I was a pregnant mom, I would want a care providers who has an individualized consideration process when it comes to my and my baby’s care.
Uggg I’ve had this drink 4x this pregnancy and was diagnosed with gestational diabetes at 36 weeks pregnant and now monitor blood sugar 4 times per day. I choose to do a combo of #1 & #2 with my last pregnancy as I did both drinks the pregnancy prior and dealt with the side affects of nausea, dizziness, headaches and exhaustion (I refused to throw up as they told me I would have to re take it or accept an automatic fail). Wouldn’t it make more sense to administer a test for gestational diabetes when I was further along? As soon as they told me about my borderline glucose score two nights before, I stopped eating carbs cold turkey. Thank goodness my sister is an RN and recognized the extreme sweating as a symptom of a hyperglycemic reaction. We had to cancel our plans for the day so Kim could take me home and watch me for an elevation in symptoms. For the next ten weeks, I’m dedicated to maintaining a healthy, carb-free diet to achieve our goal of an unmedicated birth. While I’m one of the original crunchy mamas, I got the science thing down tight in my medical training at Yale, so I can keep you informed on what’s safe, what’s not, and what are the best alternatives.


If you’re pregnant, planning to be pregnant, or working with pregnant mommas – this series is for you! However, at levels even lower than those that would qualify a woman for a GDM diagnosis, chronically elevated blood sugar also puts mom and baby at much higher risk of pregnancy and birth complications.
Also, babies born to overweight or diabetic moms have a much higher lifetime likelihood of developing chronic health problems associated with obesity and diabetes. Women who are at moderate to high risk do require some form of testing for GDM so they can be followed and treated appropriately if detected. BVO is also found in at least 10% of all soft drinks in the US, and is included to keep the favoring from floating to the top of the beverage. Even more frightening, it is found in the brominated flame retardants that are used in upholstered furniture and children’s products, which I wrote about in a previous blog.
We all do the best we can with the information we have at the time, and this won’t be the last time you find out you did something you wish you hadn’t with your kid. In fact, in 2001 ACOG clearly stated that gestational diabetes guidelines should not be construed as dictating an exclusive course of treatment or procedure.
Thus women who need extra nutritional counseling might not get it at all, and others with normal healthy pregnancies might get unnecessarily put into high-risk categories. This just requires finger stick blood testing which can even be done by you at home, and is a commonly used alternative for women who can’t tolerate the Glucola. While some data suggests that the results are not entirely as reliable as using the oral glucose test drinks, an article published in a major obstetrics journal states that jelly beans are a reliable alternative that are actually preferred by women and have fewer side effects. Remember, 100% of pregnant women get offered this toxic cocktail as part of routine prenatal care! Thus, it is tolerated less easily than when it was a more regular feature of your diet, and this horrible drink just shocked your adjusted system! If you really believed in the precautionary principle, you would NOT be trying to convince women that testing for GD is unimportant because of the false negatives and false positives. Otherwise, replacing BVO with the stress of finding an alternative procedure seems counter-productive.
Some of us have had overexposure to B VO due to drinking too much soda before we learned that it was very bad for us. I was wondering about the practice of using grape juice to do the glucose challenge test which may Homebirth midwives (including mine) do.
Care providers using this method are attempting to show how the body performs under the influence of food intake that is normal as opposed to the glucola method, which is used to create a stressor on the glucose processing parts of your body.
The method recommended by the care provider depends upon the care provider’s approach to this aspect of pregnancy care.
I would seek someone who would be willing to look all of the influencing factors upon the outcome of a GD test and help me by providing all of the information about the test and how the results are determined. As a woman that has only ever used homebirth midwives for my 5 births, I have never done a typical GD test. It is well accepted in the medical community that some women cannot tolerate this test — so you can ask your doctor for an alternative test. I had screenings done at 17, 26 and 35 weeks due to suspected late term gestsational diabetes as a cause of late term severe polyhydramnios and large baby with my last pregnancy. I consider it a very important medical preventative strategy and recommend it to my patients.
Your midwife or doc can review your risks with you and help you determine whether it is needed.
The medwife (yes o spelled that wrong on purpose) refused to see me after 30 weeks and switch to an ob unless I took the glucose test & agreed to start weekly appointments then with a fluid ultrasound check and nst a week. GDM is currently diagnosed (Clinically Overt) in 3rd trimester (24–28 weeks of gestation) following an oral glucose tolerance test (OGTT). All flavors are available in the standard 50, 75, and 100 grams of Glucose per 10 ounce bottle. I was informed that my glucose test result from my first screening was 134, and their cut off for gestational diabetes was 140. A lot of moms have told me that they’ve failed and their births and babies turned out fine.
Here is a picture, shared with Vani’s permission, of the ingredients in EasyDex, including BVO. Studies in animals demonstrate that BVO is transferred from mother’s milk to the nursing infant.
And all women end up getting a potentially toxic drink for the sake of a less than reliable test.
While there is no set level that determines gestational diabetes (there are levels for non-pregnancy-related diabetes), done early enough in pregnancy it can determine whether you already had undetected diabetes before even becoming pregnant, and a level of 5.45% may be associated with gestational diabetes, in which case you can make dietary changes and wait until 24-28 weeks gestation, when the glucose challenge and GTT are typically done, and then decide whether to test.
However, one test result alone is not enough to diagnose or rule out GDM, so you’ll want to work with your doctor or midwife to come up with a reasonable schedule for testing and assessing your results.
They must keep a diet diary along with 3 days of capillary testing: fasting, 1 hour and 2 hour readings. You are of course correct that not everyone needs the test, and it was a mischaracterization on my part to suggest that you were recommending against the test instead of the drink. And I would seek someone who offers me all of the possible care options in the event that I test positive for GD without any pressure to choose one of them.
As a midwifery student, I have never worked with a midwife that has suggested the typical GD test.
Using this diagnostic threshold, there is no opportunity to prevent pathological changes (accumulated damage) that may occur during 1st and 2nd trimester (Undiagnosed Period).
All Glucose Drink varieties are non-carbonated, packaged in a 10 oz plastic bottle, and have an easy to read volume indicator.


I mean, I was previously diagnosed with pre-diabetes and due to pregnancy cravings, I’d been binging on pizza, chicken nuggets, hamburgers, fries, and ketchup, my favorite condiment ever.
The medical aids emphasized that I was on the very border and that it would be a good idea for me to take the three hour diagnostic glucose test instead of another one hour screening.
BVO has been associated with heart lesions, fatty changes in the liver, and impaired growth and behavioral development, and both animal and human studies have linked BVO to neurological problems, fertility problems, changes in thyroid hormones and precocious puberty.
Just make sure to avoid more exposures later on in the form of soft drinks and flame retardant PJs.
Although honestly, that much sugar is VERY hard to get down in 5 minutes, one bite at a time. This gives insight into each lady’s regular routine and food choices which ultimately affect her glucose numbers.
How much BVO is required to see that effect (remember, “the dose makes the poison”) and through what route of administration?
And yes, if you follow my links you will see that the toxic effects of BVO ARE established in humans…Follow the links in my piece, and also look for the Scientific American article where BVO is discussed.
It does not seem that you’re providing any concrete evidence that the BVO in Glucola acts as a toxin. There has to be some minimal credibility to that threat, otherwise it’s just simple fear mongering.
By the way, the only mom I know with GD was a super thin, healthy eating marathoner with no family history of diabetes. Oxygen is in a lot of things including carbon monoxide and carbon dioxide…one of those is safe, the other can be deadly. But a one off test for something important like this is not the end all do all for mom or baby. So many things are totally fine for us in low amounts and toxic in high amounts (even water). The mere fact that it is use as a Flame Retardant tells me I don’t want it in my body. When I’m treated with respect and allowed to make my own decisions based upon all of the information, I make the best decisions for myself.
I am thankful for you and other doctors like you, that are working hard to spread the health-word. Ask about random glucose testing…They might accept that option if you are willing to check diligently for a short while.
My diet has been far cleaner with this pregnancy than the prior pregnancies but still ended up with gd in the end.
The implementation of screening tests during early pregnancy or the preconception period affords opportunity to identify women at risk of disease and to evaluate intervention strategies on pregnancy outcome and the long-term health of both mother and baby. After asking about it, I was also informed that I could no longer be a patient at the BBC if I failed the test.
Anyway, we picked up dinner from Nyonya the other night and I got some fried bean curd that was deliciously carb-free. Its still nice to have a non-medicinal option, granted I’m sure there all kinds of junk in jelly beans too. The physicians we work with at Maternal Fetal Medicine agree that this is a more accurate method of testing.
Just because they share a similar element does not mean they are the same thing, they are ENTIRELY different. Women who screen positive go on to the second step, the glucose tolerance test (GTT), with either a 75-gram two-hour test or a 100-gram three-hour test. There are better means of assessing gestational diabetes and risk for diabetes than this outdated test.
At the very least, these questions needed to be answered before recommending against a screening test for an important condition. Most of the things in that Orange drink will cause an unnecessary flareup Which could potentially kill me or my unborn child. I just asked my doctor yesterday if there was an alternative because I have Crohn’s disease. And I did the 3 hour (passed that test) but I was also throwing up and I passed out (it was a fasting test of over 17 hours).
Midwives and CNMs know a better way and in time their evidence based research will demonstrate it. So I ordered skewers of beef for iron and what could only be described to me as meat rolls that were not carby. I would like to see more providers ask their gestational diabetic how the patient will incorporate exercise into their daily and weekly schedule. Well, something got lost in translation because the meat rolls did arrive fried and wrapped in a thin wonton-like skin. She also told me that the drink was safe for my baby because of the test results that we would get. I was so hungry at that point that I scarfed it down anyway, rationalizing that it wasn’t that much carbs. She didn’t say the drink was safe in and of itself, just because of the results it could procure.



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Comments

  1. 22.01.2015 at 14:11:36


    Levels during a day there's nothing you can do during pregnancy.

    Author: barawka
  2. 22.01.2015 at 18:39:21


    Will develop prediabetic levels and may qualify for.

    Author: m_i_l_o_r_d