Having your OB tell you that your glucose tolerance test came back elevated is a conversation no pregnant woman wants to have. The best-case scenario is a second, much longer glucose tolerance testing. The feared outcome is a gestational diabetes diagnosis.
For many surrogates, that fear leads to one question, “What can I do to ensure that I pass my three-hour glucose tolerance test?” The answer is simple. There is absolutely nothing you can do to change the outcome of your upcoming three-hour glucose tolerance test.
Let’s start by establishing a baseline here that having an elevated one-hour glucose test result is not a “failure.” You didn’t fail anything. While the OB may use that terminology, it implies that this was a test that you could have passed had only you studied harder. In reality, your results would have been the same regardless of what you had for breakfast.
There is no shame in having elevated glucose levels, and they are not the result of anything you did or did not do. So, first things first, stop feeling that guilt. This is just another medical evaluation that is a routine part of your surrogacy experience.
Next up, understand that there are certain factors at play in a surrogacy situation that may make you more susceptible to elevated glucose levels, even if you have never had it before. Women are more likely to have elevated glucose, and yes, even more likely to develop gestational diabetes, as they age. Since you’ve already had children of your own prior to becoming a surrogate, you’re older now than you were with your previous pregnancies. Additionally, conceiving a twin (or greater) gestation significantly increases your potential for developing gestational diabetes. While the goal is for surrogates to conceive and carry a singleton, twins are more common in surrogacy than in biological conceptions. So, unless you’ve carried twins on your own previously, this is new for your body, too.
Glucose tolerance tests your body’s ability to turn sugar into energy. In pregnancy, the pancreas can be confused by the additional hormones and wind up unable to breakdown your body’s glucose properly. When this happens, your blood glucose rises and, on occasion, you will develop gestational diabetes. Unlike with type 2 diabetes, gestational diabetes is purely hormonal.
So, understanding that those elevated levels are the result of your body chemistry, as opposed to what you had for lunch, it seems almost silly to think that anything you do can alter the results of your upcoming glucose tolerance screening, right? Despite that, many women will still head to Google to try and find a way to avoid another elevated test result.
Some may tell you that eating a healthier diet in the days leading up to your test will help you do better and potentially avoid a diagnosis of gestational diabetes. Their logic seems sound; a diabetic manages their blood sugar levels with diet, so you should be able to as well, right? Unfortunately, what they forget to consider is the highly concentrated and sugary drink that you will consume as part of your screening process. Despite how you’ve behaved in the days leading up to your screening, if your body is struggling to break down and use glucose effectively, this test will reveal that.
The best thing you can do for yourself, and for the child you are carrying, is to continue to make good choices surrounding food and exercise. If your body needs a change to ensure the best health possible, the test will reveal it and your doctor will help you find a new rhythm. In the meantime, try not to worry about the upcoming test. There is nothing you can do to alter the results, anyway.