Monday, July 18, 2011


I found out that I (and so is any other pregnant woman) have to undergo a glucose screening test aka glucose challenge test. The test is aimed at screening for the development of gestational diabetes mellitus (GDM). If one tested "positive" on this first screening test, a glucose tolerance test then will be administered to determine if one really develops a GDM.

GDM itself is a type of diabetes developed during pregnancy. It occurs when a woman's body is not regulating enough insulin and/or having insulin deficiency. Insulin is a hormone that regulates the use and the storage of blood glucose as glycogen in the liver and muscle cells. Elevated glucose level in the blood could be observed when level of insulin is abnormal.

Some literature suggests that gestational diabetes is a pregnancy condition that tricks the body to ensure supply of glucose for the growing fetus. To put it simply, when a pregnant woman has low insulin sensitivity and high blood glucose, most of these glucose molecule will be transferred to the fetus via placenta. The fetus will grow abnormally larger (macrosomia) and possibly will develop health conditions such as low blood sugar (hypoglycemia), jaundice, respiratory problem, etc.

Enough of the background.

Why do I worry on my chance of developing GDM? First, diabetes runs in the family, on both sides nonetheless. Second, I am not exactly living a super healthy live style: over indulgence, mostly on food, is always the case and I don't think I exercise enough (although, with Hubbostrich as my personal trainer, we try to balance a cardio to weight lifting exercise) most days of the week.

Learning my lessons from another post (which I still owe at this point), I steer away from pregancy forums. This type of information exchange is not reliable as there are so many instances of pregnancies which varies from case to case. Instead, I sourced information right from peer reviewed journals.

I came across the abstract of this article. With its straight forward title, this one hit my attention. Please note, I came across the article on Friday and the test was the next day.

My action plan was to mimic the experimental method they used (i.e., the prolonged exercise) in hope of increasing my damaged muscles tissue consumption of blood glucose the next day. Provided that I don't have insulin resistance in the first place (type II diabetes), this exercise should lower my blood glucose. In short, I do exercise most days of the week but that Friday I trippled my usual routine. I kept my diet the same.

On the day of the test, the lab technician brought me a chilled orange concoction that contains exactly 50 g of glucose. The drink was to be consumed in 5 minutes and my blood was to be drawn an hour after. I made sure I didn't consume a lot of carbohydrates with high glycemic index and high sugar drink the day of the test. I went walking just before the test and in the first 30 minutes I went walking up the stairs of the hospital, just to maximize my metabolism level.

Today, I had the result in. My heart beep faster as I scroll down the result online. My blood glucose is 102 mg/dL. The cut off for a "positive" is a > 139 mg/ dL. I took a congratulatory deep breath. I might not even have a high blood glucose without the Friday exercise in the first place. I should be worried when the number was closer to the cut off even with the prolonged exercise.

Let me conclude. At first, I had an ulterior motive to find ways to "cheat" the glucose screening test (one should not cheat in the first place, if you have the condition you should be treated). At the end, my literature finding actually change my point of view. It increases my awareness of the importance of diet and exercise and other healty life style in life. Not necessarily of fighting GDM, but on the overall quality of life.

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