As you may know, I'm currently pregnant with my second child. During my first pregnancy, I had a pretty good grasp on non-toxic personal care and cleaning products, but hadn't yet ventured into the world of non-toxic eating. I completed my first glucose screening test by downing the infamous orange drink and thought nothing of it. I thankfully had no apparent adverse reactions and tested negative for gestational diabetes.
This time around, I'm a little more informed, for better or for worse! I'm currently 28 weeks pregnant and need to make a decision on the glucose screening test. Yes, I want to somehow make sure I don't have gestational diabetes, but no, I don't want to consume the traditional glucose drink, mainly because of the ingredients it's likely to contain. I try to avoid artificial flavors and colors, genetically modified ingredients, preservatives, MSG, and flame retardants (all of which are commonly found in glucose drinks, whether hidden under innocent-sounding names or not) and I refuse to accept that I need to consume these toxic things in order to stay healthy!
When I was about 26 weeks pregnant with my second child, I started researching alternative options to the glucose drink like it was my job. I came across many blog posts discussing a slew of ideas, but the only "reputable" study I could find was one that concluded that jelly beans were an acceptable (although perhaps slightly less reliable) alternative to the glucose drink. The problem was that I couldn't figure out if I would have to eat a certain brand of jelly beans, what the ingredients had to be, or how many I'd need to consume. Brach's kept coming up, and unfortunately the ingredients in their jelly beans aren't any better than the ingredients in the typical glucose drink! So even though I'd rather eat yummy toxic jelly beans than drink a gross toxic glucose drink, I still wasn't sure I'd be fully happy with the options I'd be offered.
The office I go to for my prenatal appointments doesn't do the glucose screening test on site, so I spoke to my OB/CRNP about alternative options to the glucose drink the week I received the order to go to a lab for my glucose screening test. Thankfully I was met with helpfulness and not criticism! My CRNP told me I could call a few labs and ask them if they offered any alternatives to the glucose drink for the one-hour glucose screening test, and that's exactly what I did.
It took me a few days to muster up my courage (I HATE MAKING PHONE CALLS) but I finally dialed the number for the lab at the hospital I'm giving birth at (Moses Taylor Hospital in Scranton, PA) and told the woman who answered the phone that my OB had advised me to call and ask if they offered any alternatives to the glucose drink for the one-hour glucose screening test. She had to make a few phone calls to get me an answer, but eventually came back on the line with fabulous news: I could bring in a bag of jelly beans, along with the corresponding nutritional information, and eat them instead of drinking the glucose drink! She said they'd need to look at the ingredients to see how many I'd need to eat to equal 50g of sugar. I asked if they needed to be a certain brand and she said no, so I'm planning on taking a brand with the most natural ingredients I can find. As of now the best I've found are Surf Sweets Organic Jelly Beans. The ingredients are listed below:
Organic Cane Sugar, Organic Tapioca Syrup, Organic Grape Juice Concentrate, Pectin, Citric Acid, Ascorbic Acid, Colors Added (Organic Black Carrot Juice Concentrate, Organic Turmeric, Organic Annatto), Natural Flavors, Confectioner’s Glaze, Carnauba Wax, Organic Sunflower Oil.
In the end, I may not have found a perfect alternative to the glucose drink... but let's face it, my diet really isn't a pure as I'd like it to be and I'm no stranger to the cane sugar, natural flavors, and sunflower oil in the jelly beans! In the end I feel much more comfortable knowing I'll be binge eating organic jelly beans instead of binge drinking a glucose drink. I personally know of other pregnant women (mainly those who see midwives) who've been allowed to eat a huge and very specific but healthy breakfast for the glucose screening test. I've read accounts by others who have opted to monitor their blood sugar levels for a certain period of time instead of taking a formal glucose test. I also came across a study that said Twizzlers could be eaten in place of the glucose drink (not that they're in any way healthy but they sure taste good)! Unfortunately I can't offer much information on alternative options, but know options DO exist and absolutely talk to your healthcare provider if you want to know what they are. I have a feeling this is one of those times where us pregnant woman have got to (politely) demand that we want healthier options, one glucose screening test at a time :)
I'll try to post an update after I take the test this Friday. Let me know if you've had any success with your healthcare provider or lab providing alternative options for the glucose screening test, especially if you live in the Scranton or North Eastern PA area!
I was able to take the glucose screening test using jelly beans with no issues! I brought a bag (okay three bags, I like to be prepared) of the Surf Sweets Organic Jelly Beans with me to the lab. Once there, the lab worker helped me figure out exactly how many I would need to eat to get 50g of sugar, and it worked out to be 53 jelly beans. I counted them out and then ate them in 5 minutes, which was as fast as I could manage. It's surprisingly hard to chew and swallow that many jelly beans under pressure! The lab worker also made a photocopy of the nutritional contents of the jelly beans. I got my results back within the week and thankfully everything was normal.