One in every 10 women suffer with PCOS, or polycystic ovary syndrome. Some symptoms of PCOS include irregular menstrual cycles, weight gain and elevated blood sugar levels. And with high blood sugar levels come elevated insulin levels. For this last symptom, women take a drug called metformin. In fact, women have been taking metformin for over 4o years. But recent findings show that metformin can increase risk for pregnancy complications.
What is metformin?
Metformin is also known as Glucophage, and it’s meant to regulate blood sugar levels. This in turn helps to keep insulin levels in check. And for many years, it was deemed safe for women with PCOS, both before and during pregnancy.
Metformin and pregnancy complications
Now, research shows that metformin can actually increase a pregnant woman’s chance of getting gestational diabetes, preeclampsia and early labor.
But it gets even worse. Because metformin leads to Vitamin B12 deficiency in pregnant moms, it can harm the unborn baby. For example, not enough Vitamin B12 can lead to fetal neural tube defects.
This is pretty serious consequence. Fetal neural tube defects are birth defects of the brain, spine and spinal cord.
Metformin side effects
Not only is metformin problematic for the fetus, but it can also give the mother many unpleasant side effects.
Even though it’s meant to regulate blood sugar levels, it can actually lead to low blood sugar, or hypoglycemia. Along with this side effect, it can also lead to bloating, constipation, diarrhea, weakness and nausea.
If you’re planning on getting pregnant to make sure you avoid pregnancy complications and risky side effects.