An article in The Telegraph reports about a study being done where overweight, pregnant women are being given Metformin (a diabetes medicine) in an attempt to decrease the likelihood of difficult births from high weight babies.
I am continually dumbfounded by the complete lack of common sense in medical science and research today. How many times do we have to go down this road before we acknowledge that every time we mess with nature, we mess up?
The idea here is that high blood glucose levels in Mom leads to babies in the womb growing too large too quickly… and overly large babies are a reason for even more C-sections. So we’ll just give Mom a medicine that lowers the blood glucose. Metformin works by decreasing the production of glucose in the liver and by increasing sensitivity to insulin. It is deemed “safe” for use during pregnancy.
I have a few problems with this idea. First and foremost, why is it that we keep making “excuses” and offering “bail-outs” for the ramifications of an unhealthy lifestyle? How about if we, as a common-sense thinking and acting society, just say something like – “If you want to have a healthy pregnancy and healthy baby – then get yourself in healthy shape before you get pregnant!”
I know that may seem like a harsh statement to some – and maybe it is – but I am sick and tired of this merry-go-round that we are on where I end up having to subsidize the poor health choices that other people make. How about a little personal responsibility here; as opposed to once again thinking that we can solve a health problem with something from a bottle.
Secondly, we have no idea what the long-term effects will be on the baby, as he or she grows older. The basis of the FDA determining that Metformin is safe during pregnancy means that there are no statistical differences in regard to abnormal fetal development, births and health until the baby is 2 years old. Well, what about for the rest of the baby’s life? What are the potential ramifications of changing the “sugar and insulin environment” that the baby is swimming in while still inside Mom? Metformin is known to decrease blood levels of certain other hormones as well, like thyroid-stimulating hormone and testosterone. It seems to me to be a reasonable concern that affecting these hormones in-utero may have lasting effects.
Am I off base here or do you agree?