Paleo Pregnancy: Glucose Test Update

Today has been a roller coaster.  It started when I got a call from the midwives about my blood test results.  I was warned that there was good and bad news.  Uh oh.

The good news: Stellar high iron levels.  I was not surprised.  Thanks, steak, organic chicken livers, and leafy greens. Mmmm.

The bad news:  I failed my 1-hour Glucose Challenge Screening (GCS) and will have to take the 3-hour fasting Glucose Tolerance Test (GTT)?!?!?!?!  [Note that I used the wrong terminology and mislabeled the GCS as the GTT in my previous post.]

Say what? I avoid sugar (an occasional bowl of ice cream notwithstanding). I do not eat bread. I don’t drink fruit juice. I don’t drink soda of any kind. I don’t use artificial sweeteners.  The amount of carbohydrates I’ve added during my pregnancy is still super low compared to what the average American eats!!!!  I exercise 5 times a week!  And I don’t have any other symptoms of gestational diabetes. To the contrary, I feel good, healthy, and happy, and I have not gained excess weight during my pregnancy.

And the week before the test, I went ultra low-carb and…….. Wait.  Uh oh.  <<<Quickly googling: “paleo glucose tolerance test“>>> Holy Crap. Yep. I basically sabotaged myself.

It turns out that paleo/primal and low carb folks, who eschew processed foods and refined sugar — often because it doesn’t agree with them — tend to not deal well when asked to drink a ginormous sugar bomb on an empty stomach for the purposes of this test.  So then it’s actually a worthless test for diagnosing gestational diabetes for people who don’t eat a lot of carbohydrates.

When these same (healthy) folks don’t pass the GCS and GTT, they are labeled “high risk” and sent to other doctors, who counsel them to “avoid carbohydrates, sugar, fruit juice… and get some exercise.”  Which they’ve been doing all along.

This is mega-frustrating, but it does make me feel better than I did this morning.  Granted, gestational diabetes could be an issue even for a paleo person, and it’s a condition that should be treated if one has it…. but it seems as though the GCS/GTT is NOT the test that should be used! And there are alternatives.

So, what do I do?  My GTT is Friday. Tonight, I am eating peppers stuffed with beef… and rice. I am trying get myself burning carbs. If it doesn’t work, and if I fail on Friday, I’ll bring my arsenal of printed, highlighted and tabbed articles from the Internets (and my lawyering skills) and see if I can get somebody to understand that my current conundrum is not unique, and in fact there is a solution (i.e., an accurate test that actually measures whether I should be labeled a high risk pregnancy).

The roller coaster day started with 1) me being a happy pregnant lawyer person; 2) being sad and worried about the failed GCS and upcoming GTT; and 3) getting informed, and realizing that even if I fail the GTT it doesn’t mean I have gestational diabetes, and there is an accurate test that will determine if I do.  While I am not yet relieved, I am at least ready to tackle this situation!  Wish me luck!




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