Diabetic Drug Metformin Reduces Weight, Lowers Blood Pressure in Pregnant Women

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Feb 05, 2016 06:47 AM EST

BEIJING, CHINA - OCTOBER 25: (CHINA OUT) Pregnant women practice yoga at the Diaoyutai State Guesthouse on October 25, 2015 in Beijing, China. 1,443 pregnant women scattered in eight cities undertake a yoga class to set a new Guinness World Record for the most pregnant women doing yoga together. (Photo : ChinaFotoPress/ChinaFotoPress via Getty Images))

A new study published in the New England Journal of Medicine revealed that use of the diabetic drug called Metformin has effectively helped in controlling weight gain and lowering blood pressure among pregnant women. The study also revealed it has little effects on the weight of the baby.

The randomized test was participated by 252 women who were in the 12th to 18th week of their pregnancy. One group was asked to take 3.0g of metformin every day, while the other group was considered the placebo group.

The researchers saw that gestational weight gain among those who took metformin while pregnant was generally lower, at 4.6 kg, than the placebo group, at 6.3kg. However, there was no significant difference in the weight of the women's babies in both groups by the time they were born. This suggested that Metformin only affects the mother.

The researchers also saw that blood pressure and preeclampsia risk was lower in the group that took the diabetic drug, and that pregnancy or any neonatal and fetal complications were non-existent.

"Those findings bring to light some potential benefits of metformin for these women," said obstetrics and gynecology Dr. Jerrie Refuerzo via Health Day. She urged the researchers to look into further benefits of metformin to help manage obesity in pregnancy.

Currently, pregnant women who are overweight and obese are advised to control their daily diet and follow a regular exercise regimen to ensure that they only gain a healthy pregnancy weight. However, this has remained unsuccessful for some mothers who can't keep up with their diet and fitness requirements.

It is estimated that one third of pregnant women in the United States are either obese or overweight, while about 20 percent of pregnant women in the United Kingdom have weight problems. A Brazilian study also cited that obesity is a concerning problem among Latin American women.

"The OB-GYN community has been more diligent about counseling women about appropriate weight gain, but obviously this is hard to do and additional treatment options need to be considered," said Dr. Stephen Cook via Med Page Today. However, experts would like to guarantee the safety of the mothers and their babies if any other treatments have to be added to manage pregnancy weight, such as Metformin.

Medline Plus cited that type 2 diabetes patients are usually prescribed Metformin to help control their blood sugar level so that they don't develop further compactions like heat disease, stroke and eye problems. A study also cited that the drug can be an effective weight loss medication for non-diabetic obese individuals.

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