OBESE expectant mums Scotland are being put on a drug trial to limit the effect of the weight on their babies.
Pregnant mums at Simpson Memorial Hospital in Edinburgh will be among the first in the world to take part in the trial using medicine normally given to diabetics.
It is hoped it will reduce the dangerous surge of nutrients babies get from their mums overeating.
An expert leading the trial said the effects on unborn babies if a mother is obese are
Infants of obese mothers are at greater risk of stillbirth and premature birth as well as serious heart attacks, strokes and diabetes later in life.
They are also more likely to be born under or overweight.
Some are so large the mums are more likely to need caesarean operations to deliver them.
Surgery itself is also riskier for obese patients.
Scotland has the world’s second highest obesity problem with one in five expectant mums now very overweight.
The USA is top of the league.
Doctors believe the number of obese mothers has soared so much that a generation of babies is now at risk.
Around 200 mothers at Simpson Memorial Hospital will be recruited to the trial, which is also being held in Liverpool and London.
The drug being used is called Metformin.
Doctors homed in on it because it reduces sugar levels passed on to babies in the womb, which causes them to get bigger.
Professor Jane Norman, of the department of obstetrics and gynaecology at Simpson Memorial Hospital is heading up the trial.
“We hope to be able to limit the risks to infants of overweight mums because the effects on the babies is considerable, not only in the womb and around birth, but for years after.
“Around one in five of our mums are now obese enough for their weight to be a risk to their infants. “
The study is funded by the Medical Research Council and baby’s charity Tommy’s.
Professor Caroline Fall of the MRC said:
“Scotland is one of the growing number of Western countries now struggling to cope with the considerable weight increase we have seen in the past generation. “