Metformin during Pregnancy: Side Effects Decoded by Experts

on May 1, 2018

“Making the decision to have a baby is momentous. It is to decide forever to have your heart go walking around outside your body.”

Your elders always tell you to take care during those nine months. You change everything from eating habits to positions while sleeping. You adjust according to the needs of your unborn child. So, isn’t it your duty to know everything about the medication that you are planning to take or you are already under some treatment. Metformin is one such medicine that you need to be aware of. You must be thinking, what is Metformin?

Well, I will let you know about it. So let’s discuss about metformin, what is it? What are the benefits and side effects linked with it?

Metformin, marketed under the trade name Glucophage among others, is the first-line medication for the treatment of type 2 diabetes, particularly in people who are overweight. It is also used in the treatment of polycystic ovary syndrome.

Let me mention what is type 2 diabetes and PCOS?

Type 2 diabetes, once known as adult-onset or noninsulin-dependent diabetes, is a chronic condition that affects the way your body metabolizes sugar (glucose), your body’s important source of fuel.

With type 2 diabetes, your body either resists the effects of insulin — a hormone that regulates the movement of sugar into your cells — or doesn’t produce enough insulin to maintain a normal glucose level.

Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) is a condition that affects a woman’s hormone levels. Women with PCOS produce higher-than-normal amounts of male hormones. This hormone imbalance causes them to skip menstrual periods and makes it harder for them to get pregnant.

Effects of Metformin During Pregnancy

 

Metformin is used to treat these disorders. Let us explore the benefits and side effects of metformin.

Benefits

Some people are concerned about using metformin during and after pregnancy because it crosses the placenta. This means that when a pregnant woman takes metformin, so does her baby.

If you have diabetes, it’s important to maintain a healthy blood sugar level while pregnant. It reduces the risk of diabetic complications for you, and it helps reduce the risk of birth defects and other complications in your pregnancy. Metformin can help with both of these goals.

Metformin during Pregnancy

If you have PCOS, metformin can make a big difference before you even get pregnant. This is because it can actually help you conceive. PCOS makes it harder for you to become pregnant. It can cause missed or irregular periods, and it can cause small cysts to grow on your ovaries. Also, it may prevent you from ovulating every month, and if you don’t ovulate, there’s no egg to fertilize, and thus, no pregnancy.

Metformin can help improve your rate of ovulation, increasing your chances of getting pregnant. And metformin has benefits even after you get pregnant. It can reduce your risk of developing type 2 diabetes due to the blood sugar problems caused by PCOS. It can also help you lose extra weight gained because of PCOS.

Side effects of metformin

The most common side effects of metformin are:

  • Gas: The body naturally produces gas — and produces even more if you eat certain foods, particularly if you’ve just increased the amount of fiber in your diet. Even if you feel like you suffer from excessive gas, it’s probably a normal amount. But if too much gas is making you feel uncomfortable. Getting rid of excess gas, either by burping or passing gas (flatus), also is normal
  • Heartburn: Itis a painful burning feeling in your chest or throat. It happens when stomach acid backs up into your esophagus, the tube that carries food from your mouth to your stomach
  • Diarrhea: a condition in which feces are discharged from the bowels frequently and in a liquid form.
  • Stomach pain: you may experience pain in abdomen also known as stomach ache.
  • Nausea: It is the commonest side effect of many medicines. Nausea is characterized by an unpleasant feeling in back of throat or a queasy feeling in stomach which may or may not be associated with vomiting.

It is important to be on the lowest effective dose to help reduce or prevent side effects with metformin.

Metformin can also reduce the blood sugar too much, causing hypoglycemia. Symptoms of hypoglycemia include:

  • weakness and fatigue
  • headache
  • drowsiness: Feeling abnormally sleepy. Many pain medicines make you sleepy at first. That’s an accepted part of what they do to your body, they quiet nerves down. So they will depress the brain a little bit as well as they are quieting down the nerves that are causing pain sensations.
  • Confusion: It is a symptom that makes you feel as if you can’t think clearly. You might feel disoriented and have a hard time focusing.
  • Irritation: the state of feeling annoyed, impatient, or slightly angry.
  • Heart palpitations: A sensation that the hearty is racing , pounding, fluttering or skipping a beat. Although heart palpitations can be worrisome , they are usually harmless
  • Hunger: a feeling of discomfort or weakness caused by lack of food, coupled with the desire to eat.
  • Sweating or chills: you may sweat a lot and even experience chills at times.

The risks of serious complications, such as lactic acidosis, when lactic acid builds up in the tissues, are also possible with metformin. Lactic acidosis is caused by problems with the metabolism, and symptoms include:

  • strong stomach pains
  • nausea and vomiting
  • irregular heart rate
  • dizziness, weakness, or feeling light headed
  • tiredness or extreme fatigue
  • trouble breathing
  • muscle pains
  • difficulty sleeping or sparse sleep

If a person feels they have any serious symptoms or signs of lactic acidosis, they should contact an emergency medical team immediately.

These are the side effects caused by metformin. Some studies suggest that metformin may even have benefits for pregnant women and their babies when taken correctly. Doses of any medication should be carefully managed by a doctor, but there is currently little risk to pregnant women or their offspring at all stages of development.

A safe and healthy pregnancy is crucial. This is why you take precautions before and during pregnancy to keep your unborn child healthy.

Hope this article was of help for all our parents!! Please share your comments/queries/tips with us and help us create a world full of Happy and Healthy Babies!!
 

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