Ten Facts That You May not Know about Pregnancy (part two)

6. Is it safe to use metformin safe during pregnancy?

Metformin has long been regarded as an ideal choice for TypeⅡ diabetes treatment due to its effectiveness, but the question arises as to whether it’s also safe for pregnant women?

As a review posted to Diabetology & Metabolic Syndrome noted, metformin helps much in lowering blood sugar levels, strengthening the endocrine system, improving insulin resistance, and reducing fat distribution in the body. Full of merits, though, it’s better for pregnant woman to be absolutely sure that the drugs taken will not affect her or her baby, including metformin.

To sum up, all current research supports the fact that metformin has a low risk of complications during pregnancy, though further clinical trials are still being called for. Some studies suggest that metformin may even have benefits for pregnant women and their babies when taken correctly. One thing needs to be pointed out is that doses of any medication should be carefully managed by a doctor to keep both pregnant women and their offspring safe at all stages of development.

7. Are antibiotics in pregnancy tied to higher miscarriage risk?

A new research suggests that the use of certain antibiotics taken early in pregnancy can very possibly raise the risk of miscarriage. And this has been proved by researchers from the Universite de Montreal. They found that the use of macrolides (excluding erythromycin), quinolones, tetracyclines, sulfonamides, and metronidazole was associated with increased risk of miscarriage in early pregnancy, with the increased risk ranging from 65% to a more than twofold increase. The results were published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal (CMAJ).

8. Mother’s diet in pregnancy may have lasting effects for offspring

A poor diet during pregnancy can cause biological changes that may last throughout life, based on research findings from Imperial College London. The study showed that when pregnant mice were fed a diet deficient in protein, the expression of genes within the embryo was interfered, which are known to be important for healthy growth. Relevant results are published this week in the journal Cell Reports.

The researchers developed novel imaging techniques that enabled them to visualize genes as they were switched “on” or “off” in mouse embryos as they grew. This enabled the team to see exactly where alterations in response to maternal diet were happening and, crucially when during pregnancy key changes took place. Using this simple but powerful bioluminescent imaging approach, a lasting question long puzzling scientists are possibly probed as to what impact of a poor diet in early life may exert to human beings. There have already been suggestions that the children of women pregnant during famines, for example, may suffer harmful effects later in life.

9. Lack of vitaminD may increase offspring risk for autism

Health authorities in both UK and USA suggest enough intake of vitamin D for infants, as vitamin D is a very critical substance to children’s growth. Recently researchers from The University of Queensland’s and the Erasmus Medical Centre in The Netherlands have found new proof for link between vitamin D deficiency in pregnancy and increased autism traits.

Approximately 4200 blood samples from pregnant women and their children were examined. They found that pregnant women with low vitamin D levels at 20 weeks’ gestation were more likely to have a child with autistic traits by the age of six.

While more sun exposure is traditionally recommended, it is not the best choice for woman considering the increased risk of skin cancer in countries like Australia. Instead, a safe, inexpensive, and publicly accessible vitamin D supplement is feasible in at-risk groups, especially for pregnant women.

10. Maternal high-fat diet during pregnancy can affect baby’s gut microbes

Recently it is found that the community of microbes – the microbiome – living in a baby’s gut can be influenced by the mother’s diet during pregnancy. Researchers at Baylor College of Medicine found that babies born to mothers who consumed a high-fat diet during pregnancy had a gut microbiome, which was distinctly different from the one in babies of mothers on a non-high-fat diet. This matter is of crucial importance because the microbiome can affect the development of babies’ immune system and their ability to extract energy from food. The study appears in Genome Medicine.

According to the research results, the microbiomes of babies of high-fat diet mothers had fewer numbers of Bacteroides microbes, both at birth and several weeks after. What does this mean? The researchers think that having fewer Bacteroides in the gut on a consistent basis could affect energy extraction from food and the development of the immune system, as mentioned above.