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Diabetes and Pregnancy

About three percent of all women develop diabetes during pregnancy -- a condition known as gestational diabetes. Most can manage it through diet, but for those with the most severe form of the disease, the only choice has been daily insulin injections. Now, a new pill offers a safe and easy alternative.

Like all expectant moms, Natalia Alleman worries about the health of her baby.

"I'm concerned that he might have some sort of health problem or concerned that he might have diabetes," says Natalia.

Natalia has reason to be concerned. She's developed gestational diabetes in her third trimester. It's a disease that can lead to large babies with health complications. Seven times a day, Natalia monitors her blood sugar and takes a drug called glyburide. It promotes the release of insulin from the pancreas, eliminating the need for injections.

Deborah Conway, M.D., an obstetrician/gynecologist at the University of Texas Health Science Center in San Antonio, says, "I think if you asked anybody whether they'd rather stick themselves with a needle two or three times a day or take a pill, most people would opt to take a pill."

A new study showed babies born to moms taking glyburide were as healthy as those born to moms taking insulin. The drug was effective 90 percent of the time.

Dr. Conway says, "Because of the patient convenience of glyburide, we may actually see better outcomes in those women than if they were required to take insulin."

Natalia says, "I'm more vigilant now, because I am concerned about the welfare of my baby."

Along with a proper diet, Natalia hopes the new drug will help her deliver a healthy baby.

The cost of glyburide also makes it an attractive alternative. The drug is about half the price of an insulin regimen.

Categories: Pregnancy,

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