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December 11, 2000

Gestational Diabetes

Question from Rhode Island, USA:

I have gestational diabetes, and I had a major depressive episode, and blood glucose was much harder to control at the time. Going on an antidepressant has made the control easier. Are the two syndromes related? Did the depression trigger the diabetes (at only eight weeks of pregnancy)? Do you know of any problems with antidepressants and pregnancy?

Answer:

My understanding about diabetes and depression is as follows:

Depression does not cause diabetes.
Depression does not, independently, affect blood sugars.
If you have diabetes and are depressed, your depression makes it more difficult for you to find the energy and motivation to check blood sugars frequently, to take shots on time, to make wise food choices, and to exercise. When you are unable to manage the demands of the daily diabetes regimen, your blood sugars are harder to control.

JWB
Additional comments from Dr. Bill Jones:

I am not aware of blood glucose being inherently more difficult to control during depression. However, someone who is depressed may not be as compelled to maintain her health as compulsively. Zoloft is used during pregnancy. There is not enough data to determine any harm. So, as usual, the benefits have to outweigh any possible risks.

OWJ