Alternatives to Glucola for Diabetes Testing


Of all the tests pregnant women go through, the Glucose Challenge Test is arguably the one you hear about most often. Down an electric orange drink, wait, and have your blood drawn...sounds fun, right? Some people don’t mind the drink (called Glucola) while others search for alternatives. There are alternate options for both what you consume and how you test.

Guidelines currently call for a glucose challenge test around 24-28 weeks of pregnancy. The test is typically drinking a sweet drink and then having a blood test done an hour later to determine blood sugar levels. This test is used to help determine the occurrence of Gestational Diabetes which can pose a host of issues to both mom and baby during pregnancy.

If the pregnant person passes this test, they won’t be re-tested. Should they fail it, they’ll have to pass a longer test that involves a higher level of glucose.

Rates of GD have risen in recent decades so it is important to get tested. It’s estimated that anywhere from 5-10% of pregnant people have Gestational Diabetes and it’s important that those people be identified and treated to avoid complications.

Some people just hate the way Glucola tastes, some take issue with the ingredients...for whatever reason, there are definitely people searching for alternatives. The research put out found that the important part of the test was the 50g of sugar, not the source, and concluded that results were the same when a group of women given Glucola was compared to a group of women given Jelly Beans. The tests were the same.

It’s important to always refer back to your OB or Midwife when considering alternatives.

Common alternatives include:

6 oz Orange Juice and 1 Banana

28 Jelly Beans

A Soda with 50g Sugar

16 oz Orange Juice

These are options used by doctors and midwives around the country and definitely worth exploring.

Alternate ways of testing include Blood Sugar Monitoring as well as Hemoglobin A1C Testing. These both require much more testing, more time, and more involvement for you and your healthcare provider and it’s important to consult them on your options.

Blood Sugar Monitoring is exactly what it sounds like. You’ll monitor your own blood sugar levels by pricking your finger multiple times a day for a week and using a blood sugar testing unit.

Hemoglobin A1C Testing is a draw that monitors blood sugar levels over a three month period. It has been used as an alternative to the normal Glucose testing and is routinely used for those with Diabetes outside of pregnancy.

It’s also important to remember that the GD testing is a screening process and not an actual diagnostic. If you happen to fail the first screening, don’t panic immediately. It’s possible that you’ll be fine with the more extended testing!

Gestational Diabetes is something we should definitely monitor and treat but there are alternatives to the traditional screening. By working together with your provider to create a plan for you, you’ll find the perfect way to monitor and ensure your health is optimal and your baby is thriving through your whole pregnancy.