If you read my last post you know I failed my 1 hour glucose test. Ugh. That was not a highlight of this pregnancy I’ll tell you. I honestly didn’t mind the 1 hour drink (I know it gets a really bad rap) but I was a little nervous over what happens at the 3 hour glucose test and the possibility of failing that one. Add to that the third trimester symptoms and our 32 week ultrasound and it’s been an eventful few weeks! I’m starting the third trimester off with a bang so let’s hope it ends in a nice, calm, uneventful manner, hah! Here’s an update on my 3 hour glucose test (pregnancy version), my third trimester symptoms, and our (high-risk pregnancy) 32 week ultrasound in my pregnancy journal for weeks 29-33.
3 Hour Glucose Test + 32 Week Ultrasound – Pregnancy Journal Weeks 29-33
In case you missed it, you can read about how I failed my 1 hour glucose test plus everything I learned in the process. A few days after writing that update I had my 3 hour glucose test (pregnancy version) and that’s where I started my third trimester.
3 Hour Glucose Test Pregnancy Process
When I booked my appointment they let me know how most of the process would go and what I needed to do leading up to it. It does require fasting beforehand and sitting at the clinic for, generally, 3 hours while they determine how your body breaks down sugar. I also want to mention, it’s really important to know the accurate results of this test because it can affect the health of both you and your baby. Unless your doctor tells you otherwise, don’t try to game the system by changing your diet in advance. Proceed as usual until your fasting starts.
3 Hour Glucose Test Fasting Rules
Leading up to the test you’re required to fast so they have a baseline for your body’s “resting” sugar range. I totally made up that term but you get the idea. They need to be able to determine a starting point for your sugar levels before you drink the delicious glucose beverage. The 3 hour glucose test fasting rules said I was required to fast for 8-10 hours prior to my test to make sure my first blood draw before the drink was in the optimum range. They recommend having your test done first thing in the morning so you don’t actually need to fast all day long but rather just while you’re sleeping.
My appointment was at 8 am so per the 3 hour glucose test fasting rules, I ate a handful of pretzels at 10 pm before bed (who am I kidding, I had to force myself to stay awake long enough to eat that snack). I don’t normally eat until at least 10:30 am so the fasting didn’t really worry me. I’d be nearly done with the test by the time I normally get hungry so no worries. They did suggest bringing a snack for immediately after the test to make sure you safely made it somewhere to eat after the test. Again, I did bring a snack, but I really wasn’t too worried about it. I woke up the morning of the test feeling just fine so off I went.
3 Hour Glucose Tolerance Test
When you first get to your 3 hour glucose test appointment they take your blood for a baseline. This is your fasting number and it must be within a normal rage for them to start the test (so NO cheating! You have to fast for 8-10 hours no matter what.) The lab technician used a glucose reader right on the spot to make sure I followed the 3 hour glucose test fasting rules and I was okay to start. I was cleared me for the test (yay) and we were off and running.
The lab tech handed me the DOUBLE sized glucose drink which I wasn’t prepared for but, as I said, the flavor of the sugary orange drink really doesn’t bother me so I figured no biggy and started drinking away. She suggested taking my time with it because some people get sick. She also said if you get sick and vomit during the test it’s considered a fail and you either have to do it again or you have to proceed through your pregnancy like you have gestational diabetes. So, easy does it then! I had up to 10 minutes to get it all down. It took me probably 6 or so minutes to finish it and she started the 1 hour timer for my next blood draw.
Waiting for Your First Blood Draw
I sat in the waiting area reading a book and checking my phone and started feeling the ick she warned me about. I immediately wanted to eat something and the granola bar in my purse was taunting me the whole time. It’s funny how the high level of sugar can really throw off your body. After about a half an hour of waiting the nausea really kicked in. It wasn’t to the point where I was ever concerned about throwing up but it was enough that I understood why people dreaded this test. If you are feeling concerned you can ask for a place to lie down and if there is a room available they will let you relax and get through the nausea.
At my 1 hour draw, I was starting to feel a bit better but it was still very unpleasant. Drinking that much sugar with nothing in your system really hits you hard. I continued daydreaming about what I wanted to eat while I waited the next hour until blood draw number 2. I also did a little research on what is safe to eat after the test and most people recommend staying away from sugar (duh) and opting for protein. Since there is sugar in carbs it’s your call on if you go for a sandwich or not but for me, I felt like I needed something bready to fill my stomach.
3 Hour Glucose Test Blood Draw #2
By the time blood draw number 2 happened I was feeling a lot less nausea but I was still just off. It’s hard to describe but let’s just say I don’t recommend it! I was hoping for the first round results but it was a busy day and she said she hadn’t had time to check and she would let me know shortly. She took draw number 2 (or I guess #3 if you count the baseline draw) and sent me back to the waiting room.
3 Hour Glucose Test Results
When I was getting the initial baseline draw she did let me know that if I passed the first 2 hour blood draws they wouldn’t make me stay for the third. The rule is, you have to fail 2 of the 3 to be diagnosed with gestational diabetes. So, I crossed my fingers and hoped for a shortened visit! My clinic is attached to the hospital so the lab is on site. If you don’t have an onsite lab you might not get instant results and be required to stay for all 3 no matter what.
I was anxiously dreaming about an Arby’s Roast Beef Sandwich when she came out about 30 minutes after my second hour blood draw to tell me I passed the first 2 rounds of the 3 hour glucose test and I was good to go, gestational diabetes free!! It was an amazing feeling like a huge weight was lifted off my shoulders. Plus, I got to go eat so move it or lose it, people. I seriously wolfed down a roast beef sandwich, curly fries, and mozzarella sticks in record time while I told my husband the good news. I was celebrating after all.
3 Hour Glucose Test Pregnancy after Effects
I was still feeling pretty icky the rest of the day so I took it easy and tried to drink a lot of water. I ate the “fancy” Kraft Mac ‘n’ Cheese for dinner because that was the only thing that didn’t sound like a stomach ache. It took at least 24 hours to really feel back to normal after the test so plan to eat what sounds good and limit your activity. I’ve heard some people still felt the effects well into the next day so make sure to take care of your body and avoid eating more sugar. Get some sleep (as much as possible) and take help when it’s offered.
It’s weird how much just modifying your diet slightly can affect your mood and body for so long but it happens and I’ve now got proof. They’re really not exaggerating when they tell you the 3 hour glucose test is not fun.
Third Trimester Pregnancy Symptoms
Besides the 3 hour glucose test, the start of my third trimester was fairly uneventful. The further I get into it the more and more the symptoms start kicking in. Sleep is tough, especially since I really want to sleep on my back and I can’t. I don’t remember actually wanting to sleep on my back last time around but this time its how I’m most comfortable. I recently discovered the older you are, the more risk there is to sleep on your back during your third trimester of pregnancy. The risk is stillbirth goes up substantially and I’m already at an increased risk for being 35 and “old.” So, I end up jarring myself awake to make sure my back and belly pillows are still in place and I’m at least sleeping at an angle on my side.
I’ve also started getting shin splints and lower leg cramps when I go for walks and while sleeping. Another great way to wake up in the middle of the night. I’m working on increasing my water intake, stretching, and eating bananas and pumpkin seeds which can help.
GERD During Pregnancy
Last, but not least, GERD has taken hold of me at bedtime. Every time I lay down at night I feel nauseous and (TMI alert) like food is coming back up my throat. I had this with my son as well and it helps to sleep with your head slightly propped up and to eat earlier in the evening and not right before bed. The biggest key for me is to not snack or drink too much a couple of hours before I lay down for the night.
Oh, and how could I forget the “peezing” also known as peeing a little when you sneeze (or cough, or laugh too hard…). It’s a thing and it’s common even after you give birth. Do your kegel exercises now and after birth to help strengthen those muscles.
32 Week Ultrasound for High-Risk Pregnancy
Last week we had our 32 week ultrasound. It will be our last provided everything goes okay from here on out. Because I’m considered high-risk at 35 years old and with a heart-shaped bicornuate uterus I always have a third trimester ultrasound. It’s mostly to check the position and growth of the baby. Since a bicornuate uterus can lead to small babies, breech positioning, and preterm labor, they want to make sure he’s growing as expected and everything looks okay.
At the 32 week ultrasound, they check the size of all the major body parts, fluid levels, and position. At this point it’s likely they won’t move much but there is still a chance for a flip to transverse or breech. Our little guy is measuring on track with a pretty big head (same measurements our toddler had!) and fluid levels look great.
The biggest difference between the 32 week ultrasound and the 20 week ultrasound is the level of detail. They don’t look at everything like they did at the 20 week anatomy scan. It’s also much shorted becuase of that. If you have questions or concerns you can absolutely ask them and they will do more digging. For example, I wanted to know if the umbilical cord looked good (not wrapped around his neck or twisted). The Sonographer was happy to do a little more work and make sure it looked normal. Ask questions and make sure you leave feeling content and of course happy you just got to see your sweet little bundle!
Our Plan for the Last 5-7 Weeks
We’re still on track with our initial plan, cervix and position check at 36 weeks, evaluate again at 38 weeks, and plan for induction at 39 if everything is progressing. My doctor is worried about the increased risk for stillbirth and birth complications after 40 weeks with my age and bicornuate uterus. She’s fine with letting it ride or doing an induction depending on what we feel comfortable with.
I’ve heard the horror stories about induction and I don’t want to go that route if it’s not necessary but I also don’t want to increase our risk of problems by waiting it out. Ugh. What do you do?! If you’ve been there, please give me some advice!
For reference, I had 3 membrane sweeps with my last pregnancy (at 38, 39, and 40 weeks) and went into labor 1 day after my due date and he was born at 40+3. My water never broke and we needed the vacuum to get him out. Plus there were all sorts of complications you can read about in my birth story. So, I’m nervous to say the least.
What would you do if you were in my pregnancy shoes?
Let me know in the comments below!
Until Next Time,