Obese women in the UK will be given an anti-diabetes drug during pregnancy to stop their babies being born overweight.
Figures from the NHS Information Centre show that last year there were 1,218 babies born weighing 5kg (11lb) or more. This is a 30 per cent rise in two years.
Watch your weight- obesity is one of the main causes of type 2 diabetes
Now, researchers at the University of Edinburgh are giving 400 obese women the diabetes drug metformin during pregnancy. The drug should reduce the amount of energy reaching the baby in the womb.
Nine hospitals around the UK are taking part in the breakthrough trial, but results are not expected for at least two years.
Dr Fiona Denison of the Queen's Medical Research Institute in Edinburgh told Sky News: "Metformin is a drug already taken by women during pregnancy if they have diabetes, so we know that it is safe.
"It works by reducing the mother's blood glucose to more normal levels. We are hoping that will lead to a healthier outcome for mother and baby."
More than 15 per cent of pregnant women are now clinically obese.
In the case of pregnant women who are obese or have gestational diabetes, too much insulin is made, meaning babies get too much nutrition, and are born overly large themselves.
Being born very large as a result of this kind of atmosphere in the womb is correlated with becoming obese as an adult, and having a greater chance of developing type 2 diabetes.
Diabetes is a chronic condition caused by too much glucose in the blood. The condition increases the risk of heart and kidney failure in the long term, and can lead to stroke, blindness and nerve damage. Around 10 per cent of NHS spending goes on diabetes and its complications, equating to around £9 billion per year.
Private medical insurance may not cover diabetes because it is a chronic condition. For more information compare health insurance policies online or speak to one of our advisors.
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