What to Expect at Your Prenatal 3-Hour Glucose Tolerance Test and How to Prepare

“Your 1-hour glucose test results were elevated.”

Hearing those words from the nurse made me feel a bit defeated because I knew that meant I had to take the dreaded 3-hour test as soon as possible.

I was 28 weeks pregnant when I took the 1-hour glucose tolerance test for the second time.

The first test was done early pregnancy (around 12ish weeks) and I was a bit curious as to why it needed to be done again.

I later found out that women who are overweight, obese, have had gestational diabetes before in the past, or diabetes run in your family have to take it twice.

Bummer, right?

But…just because you have to take the 3-hour glucose tolerance test does not automatically mean bad news.

Be thankful that your midwife is taking precaution by having the test done.


What to expect

If you failed your 1- hour test, be prepared to receive a phone call from either your midwife or nurse.

Be sure to ask what your test result was and what is considered the normal range.

Doing this allows you to see if your result was a lot higher than normal or if it was only a few points over.

After you’ve written down that information, the nurse should schedule your 3-hour glucose tolerance test as soon as possible.

On the day of your appointment, you’re expected to sit at the doctors office for 3 hours or more.

I say ‘or more’ because you may have to sit in the waiting room for a few minutes before getting your first tube of blood drawn.

During your visit, you can expect to have your blood drawn for a total of 4 times.

The very first draw will be taken before you drink the syrupy orange (or whichever flavor you choose) solution to drink.

This will show where your sugar level is without having anything to eat. (I will go more in detail on this below)

If you are one of those people who absolutely hate the taste of the solution drink (luckily, I actually like it 😀 ) then please be prepared to hate it even more.

I wondered why the drink tasted a bit different, and more sugary, than the one I drank at my 1-hour test.

The phlebotomist confirmed my suspicion by letting me know that the sugar level used for the 3-hour glucose test is doubled.

So, instead of drinking 50 grams of sugar, you will be expected to drink 100 grams of sugar in 5 minutes and keep it down!

I kid you not!

If you vomit after drinking the solution, you will unfortunately have to reschedule the test for a different day to try again.

After the initial blood draw (before drinking the syrupy solution), you will have your blood drawn every hour 3 more times before ending the test and being able to leave the doctor’s office.

Read: 5 Easy Tips to Have a Fit Pregnancy Throughout All Trimesters

How to prepare

To be honest, I don’t really feel like I was educated properly on how to prepare for my 1-hour glucose tolerance test.

I was only told not to fast and to eat regularly.

Luckily, I was able to grab a little information online, but it wasn’t enough because I didn’t think twice about eating a peppermint minutes before drinking the syrupy solution.

I have reason to believe that mini peppermint caused my glucose levels to be slightly elevated.

(Key lesson; don’t be like me, lol)

I was a lot more prepared and informed for the 3-hour test, so I hope the few tips I learned will help you as well.


The day before your test, be sure not to eat anything after 12 midnight.

Example: If your test is scheduled for 3/12/2019 at 8am, don’t eat anything after 11:59pm on 3/11/2019.

Many women only eat fruit, vegetables, protein, and limited sugar or carbs either the day before the test or a couple of days prior to the test.

This method has worked for several women by helping them pass their test.

For myself personally, I didn’t eat a special diet prior to my glucose screening.

I ate as I normally would (minus the sweets).

The only exception during your fast is water.

Stay occupied

3 hours is a long time to sit in a doctors office, so be sure to bring something with you to occupy the time.

Depending on your preference, your cell phone may be enough to do the job. Just make sure your phone is fully charged, and bring your charger with you just in case.

You can also bring a good book, crossword puzzles, adult coloring book, etc.

The television at your doctors office may or may not be on a channel you want to watch, so it’s good to have something with you in case you aren’t interested.

Whatever you bring, I’m sure it beats sitting in an office with nothing to do.


Pregnancy + no food for over 12 hours = NO BUENO!

Unless you go to a super bomb doctors office, snacks or any food will not be provided once you’re able to finally break your fast and eat.

You will want to have a snack handy in your purse that you can easily eat once the test is done.

Personally, I brought a granola bar with me which I finished in .2 seconds.

And no…it was not enough!

I recommend bringing more than what I did or else you might end up feeling jittery and weak.

I ended up going out to eat immediately after the test, and waiting for my food to be brought out was the worst ever because of how ‘out of it’ I felt.

Drink water

I have come across many pregnant women who either don’t like drinking water or simply don’t have a taste for it.

But trust me as I say that it’s beneficial during the test.

I brought water with me, but honestly didn’t have much intention on drinking it (I hate public restrooms!) until the phlebotomist recommended I do so because it will help me feel better.

Boy, was she right!

I honestly believe drinking water consistently helped me come down from that sugar rush.

(I don’t know about you, but my body can definitely feel and show the effects of eating or drinking too much sugar.)

And this may sound a bit silly, but I envisioned sugar being dumped every time I used the restroom before my next blood draw.
Read: Does drinking water reduce blood sugar?

This may be hopeful thinking, but I’d like to believe drinking water helped me pass my 3-hour glucose tolerance test.

It may or may not work for you, but it won’t hurt to try, right?

And there you have it! I hope this information was helpful for you, and best wishes on your prenatal glucose tolerance test.

Do you have any more tips that helped you during your test? Let us know in the comments below!


One thought on “What to Expect at Your Prenatal 3-Hour Glucose Tolerance Test and How to Prepare

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s