If there’s one thing I’m dreading about my pregnancy, it’s the Oral Glucose Tolerance Test (OGTT). What exactly is OGTT, how is it done and why I detest it?
Oral Glucose Tolerance Test (OGTT) is used to measure the body’s ability to use glucose, a type of sugar which is the body’s main source of energy. OGTT is done to determine gestational diabetes, a type of diabetes that occurs with pregnancy.
I had this test for the first time during my first pregnancy and since then, just the thought of drinking that awful tasting glucose solution (a sweet liquid that contains glucose) makes me gag. Call me dramatic but in my opinion, that first OGTT was more awful and traumatic compared to giving birth to my almost 7 lbs. son by normal delivery. At least, all I had to do was lie there in full view of everyone in the labor room and push three times. With my first OGTT, I had to do fasting and drink that awful liquid in an empty stomach with the laboratory assistant constantly reminding me to drink it all and try not to throw up or repeat the whole dreadful procedure. She sounded like a school principal telling me to do good in my exams or risk going back to Grade 1. The liquid was put in a beaker and I felt like I was drinking a solution straight out of a laboratory experiment. Good thing, the beaker wasn’t smoking like those scenes I saw in movies where the character drinks a solution from a smoking beaker before he turns into something scary.
Prior to my second OGTT, I presented my laboratory request at AMOSUP Seamen’s Hospital Laboratory and as expected, I was required not to eat from midnight until the test is finished. I was also informed that as per the doctor’s written instruction, I’ll be drinking the 75-gram glucose solution. I never knew until then that the amount of glucose solution was either 75 grams or 100 grams. Thank God for big favors.
Aside from drinking the solution, another thing I don’t like about this test is the fasting part. Fasting is a difficult feat for a pregnant woman whose always hungry, so I made sure to eat just before midnight because I didn’t want to embarrass myself by collapsing before my blood is taken for sampling.
Upon my arrival at the AMOSUP Seamen’s Hospital, I presented my laboratory request and was immediately told to come inside the laboratory. My blood sample was then collected; it’s called the fasting blood glucose value, which will be compared to the blood sample collected after drinking the glucose solution. After the first blood collection, the laboratory assistant handed me the bottled and chilled glucose solution. The first thing that came to mind upon seeing it was, “wow, bottled and chilled” and I didn’t realize that I was saying it aloud until I saw the laboratory assistant’s kind smile. I told her that in my first experience with another laboratory years ago, the solution wasn’t chilled and was put in a beaker. She told me to drink it all within 5 minutes and to drink it gradually so I won’t throw up. The taste wasn’t as awful as that one I drank years ago because it was chilled and maybe because they were using another brand. I kept on gagging while gulping down the glucose solution but I did my best to keep it down my stomach because the assistant reminded me that they provide only one free bottle and that I have to pay for my own bottle of glucose solution if I throw up the first one. I think it was the thought of paying for that awful tasting liquid and drinking it all over again that made me do my best not to throw up.
I was able to drink and keep it all down my stomach within 5 minutes and the laboratory assistant told me to just sit down so I won’t be dizzy and start throwing up. I was told that another blood sample will be collected after two hours and I’m free to go and eat after that. I spent those two hours talking to another pregnant mom just outside the laboratory. We were talking about pregnancy and life as seafarers’ wives and before I knew it, my waiting time was up. I came inside the laboratory for my last blood sampling, thanked the accommodating laboratory assistant, said goodbye to my “ka-chikahan” and went out of the hospital with a smile.
Thank God, I did the whole test without passing out or throwing up. I went home with a fast food take-out. Burger, fries, soft drinks..Yeah, I know it was sinful but after that ordeal, I think I deserve a reward.