gestational diabetes

  1. Depression drugs can harm mother and baby

    Antipsychotics cause problems during pregnancy

    Just about every doctor recognizes that pregnant women shouldn't drink or smoke -- but many of those same doctors won't think twice about prescribing powerful drugs that can be even more harmful than cigarettes to mom and baby alike.

    I just don't get it.

    Now, a new study highlights the dangers of one common class of meds to both mom and her baby: Antipsychotic drugs can double the risk of gestational diabetes in pregnant women and increase the risk of problems with baby, including small size at birth and oversized heads.

    To be fair, some of those increases in risk shrank when researchers made some adjustments. But some -- including that increased head size -- didn't.

    And those aren't the only risks that come along with using antipsychotics during pregnancy.

    Last year, the FDA issued a warning that babies born to mothers who take these drugs can experience withdrawal symptoms as well as abnormal muscle movements.

    The feds say most of these problems disappear on their own, but it's hardly reassuring to a new parent who has to watch a baby shake with tremors, gasp for breath, and even have trouble feeding.

    But what's even more disturbing than the research we have is the research we don't -- because there's surprisingly little out there on what these drugs do to pregnant women and their children.

    Some docs will tell you that means the drugs haven't been proven unsafe, but that's exactly the attitude that's led to so much harm in medicine today.

    Instead of waiting for a drug to be proven unsafe, doctors need to make sure a drug is proven safe before they give it to a patient -- especially if that patient is pregnant.

    I strongly recommend depressed mothers and their doctors consider safe alternatives such as fish oil, B vitamins, and homeopathic remedies as a first line of therapy for depression.

  2. Diabetes hospitalizations on the rise

    Too many young adults are spending too much time in the hospital.

    It's not a sudden rash of car accidents, knife fights or even a strange new illness--just another toll diabetes is taking on our society.

    A new study finds that diabetes hospitalizations rose 65 percent between 1993 and 2006, with hospitalization rates for Americans between the ages of 30 and 39 doubling in that period.

    And it's even worse for women.

    The study in the Journal of Women's Health found that young women between the ages of 20 and 39 were 1.3 times more likely than men in that age group to wind up in the hospital as a result of diabetes or a related condition.

    Gestational diabetes explained part of that increased risk–-but only part of it, because women in that age range still suffered a higher hospitalization rate even after pregnancies were removed from the equation.

    Men older than 50, on the other hand, were more likely to be hospitalized for diabetes than women the same age.

    That's the human toll--but as you can guess, there's also a pretty significant financial one: The researchers say the bill for all those hospitalizations rose from $62.5 billion in 1993 (after adjusting for inflation) to more than $200 billion in 2006.

    That's nearly 10 percent of all health care costs in the United States--just in diabetes care.

    Think that's a lot? That's nothing--because as bad as it is now, it's going to get much, much worse. We've already got 18 million diagnosed diabetics, and millions more who have the disease but don't know it yet.

    By 2030, the number of diabetics is expected to top 30 million.

    And while I'm sure the drug companies are just salivating at the thought of all those new customers, the truth is you can take control of your condition--or avoid it in the first place--without meds.

    All you need is a commitment to a strict sugar-free, low-carb lifestyle with some steady moderate exercise.

    If you're at risk, make those changes now--or the next hospitalization could be yours.

  3. Breastfeeding helps mom too

    If you breastfed your children, congratulations – your kids got a head start and you're enjoying a lower risk for a terrible condition.

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