Health

Drug trial to prevent obese kids

  • 9 May 2011
  • From the section Health
Baby in womb
Bigger babies have an increased risk of obesity

Obese pregnant women are to be given a drug to reduce the risk of obesity in their children as part of an NHS trial.

Overweight women supply too much food to a growing baby which can lead to health problems for mother and child.

UK doctors want to try to control this with metformin, which is used to treat diabetes.

Weight Concern said it was an intriguing idea, but ideally women should reach a normal weight before pregnancy.

The researchers leading this study say 15% of pregnant women arriving at many UK hospitals are obese.

It can increase a woman's risk of death, pre-eclampsia and of their babies being stillborn or large.

Larger babies are more likely to be obese later in life.

It is thought that obese pregnant women are more resistant to the hormone insulin, which prevents blood sugar levels from getting too high.

Metformin reduces insulin resistance.

It is hoped this will reduce the amount of sugar going to the baby so it is born at a normal size.

Four hundred women will take part in the trial.

Dr Ian Campbell, medical director of the charity Weight Concern, said: "It's intriguing and sadly it's necessary to look at.

"In an ideal world you would want women to take stock of their weight before pregnancy, but in reality that's not going to happen."

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