Tuesday, April 03, 2012
Babies Treated in Womb for Obesity

Babies Treated in Womb for Obesity

Researchers in England have begun treating babies, in utero, for obesity that may be linked to high birth weight.

The study, facilitated through England's Medical Research Council, claimed the reason for the trial was due to the increasing percentage of obese women becoming pregnant, as well as the increase in the numbers of women who are pregnant becoming obese, and the resulting effect on their unborn child.

Researchers refer to the increase in "sumo babies," babies who weigh more than 11 pounds at birth, and their connection to the increase in child obesity rates. It is thought that obesity problems later on in life can be attributed to obesity in womb.

For the study pregnant women take Metformin, a widely used drug for treating diabetics.

Researchers understand that Metformin lowers levels of insulin in the bloodstream, resulting in lower levels of insulin reaching the unborn child.

"One of the challenges is that many women feel perfectly healthy but there is very good evidence that women who are obese have an increased risk of pregnancy problems and their babies are at risk, and we'd like to reduce that risk," said Jane Norman, professor at Edinburgh University and study leader.

Critics of the study claim that treating a problem that may not affect the child later on in life is pointless and puts mothers and their children at risk; especially given that the condition can be treated with diet and exercise.

Still some mothers feel that if it could help their children stay healthier during their life then it is worth giving the treatment a chance.

"I think the intentions are good, and if you can have mothers be compliant, and take the medication while they are pregnant I think it would probably result in healthier birth weight babies," Kim Maddox, a nurse and mother, told ABC.


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