Diabetes treatment given to obese women to prevent overweight babies

Tue, 03 Apr 2012
A trial that is looking into ways of preventing the dramatic increase in overweight babies in the UK is to offer obese women an anti-diabetes drug when they are pregnant.

The study, carried out at the University of Edinburgh, will involve 400 women being given the drug metformin during pregnancy, in a bid to lower the amount of energy that reaches the foetus in the womb and therefore prevent more babies being born that weigh over 11 pounds. It is claimed that babies that are this size are twice as likely to later become overweight adults.

Fiona Denison, from the Queen's Medical Research Institute in Edinburgh, commented "Metformin is a drug already taken by women during pregnancy if they have diabetes, so we know that it is safe."

She added "It works by reducing the mother's blood glucose to more normal levels. We are hoping that will lead to a healthier outcome for mother and baby."

This trial is especially important as obese pregnant women are more likely to develop diabetes and pre-eclampsia in pregnancy. The researchers also recommend that a healthy diet and taking sufficient regular exercise during pregnancy are crucial, and that the drug should be taken in conjunction with these, not as a replacement.
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