Taking the diabetes drug metformin during pregnancy doesn’t reduce an obese woman’s risk of having an overweight baby, a new study finds.
Exposure to excess blood sugar in the womb may contribute to a baby having a high birth weight. So, British researchers looked at whether giving metformin — a drug that helps regulate blood sugar — to obese women during pregnancy would reduce the weight of their babies.
Heavier babies are more likely to be overweight in adulthood and also have a higher risk of diabetes, heart disease and other illnesses later in life, the researchers said.
In the study, 226 women received the drug from the second trimester until their babies were born, while 223 women took a placebo. There was no difference in the weight of babies born to mothers in the two groups.
Taking metformin did lower women’s blood sugar and levels of other markers associated with preeclampsia and premature birth. However, the drug didn’t reduce the risk of miscarriage or stillbirth.
The study was published July 10 in The Lancet Diabetes and Endocrinology.
“The children of obese pregnant women face a lifetime of long term health complications as they grow up. The results of [this] study emphasize the importance for women to be of normal weight before pregnancy,” Jane Norman, director of the Tommy’s Centre for Maternal and Fetal Health at the University of Edinburgh in Scotland, said in a university news release.