Giving antidiabetic drugs to obese pregnant women may not prevent their babies from being born overweight, according to a study published in The Lancet Diabetes and Endocrinology.

Babies with higher birth weights are more likely to grow into overweight adults and it is believed that the added weight gain in the womb is due to exposure of excess blood sugar. Researchers from the University of Edinburgh in collaboration with the Universities of Warwick and Sheffield, and Liverpool, treated obese pregnant women with metformin from the second trimester until birth.

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No difference was seen in the babies’ weight among mothers who received metformin (n=226) and those who received placebo (n=223). Though treatment with metformin did not impact the number of birth complications (eg, miscarriages, still births), it did lower blood sugar levels in the pregnant women. Other factors linked to pre-eclampsia and premature births were also improved with metformin.

Study authors noted that these babies will need to be followed up for longer to assess whether the treatment decreases their likelihood of developing other health problems later in life.

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