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November 24, 2002

Gestational Diabetes, Insulin

Question from Cumberland, Rhode Island, USA:

I have gestational diabetes, and it looks like diet and exercise can no longer keep my blood glucose in the optimal range for my baby's health and mine. Are there any insulins that are pregnancy category B or A?

Answer:

Insulin (in its many types) is a category B drug. There are data demonstrating that the beef and pork type insulins may cross the placenta as an antibody-insulin complex. Since synthetic human insulin is identical to endogenous insulin, it cannot be determined if it crosses the placenta unless it was labeled with a tracer compound., and it is unlikely that such a study would be done. The bottom line is that, if you have hyperglycemia, you are more likely to have complications from not taking insulin than using it.

OWJ