Metformin use in obese mothers is associated with improved cardiovascular profile in the offspring

Olga Panagiotopoulou, Argyro Syngelaki, Georgios Georgiopoulos, John Simpson, Ranjit Akolekar, Hassan Shehata, Kypros Nicolaides, Marietta Charakida*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Citations (Scopus)


Background: Maternal obesity increases the risk for pregnancy complications and adverse neonatal outcome and has been associated with long-lasting adverse effects in the offspring, including increased body fat mass, insulin resistance, and increased risk for premature cardiovascular disease. Lifestyle interventions in pregnancy have produced no or modest effects in the reduction of adverse pregnancy outcomes in obese mothers. The Metformin in Obese Pregnant Women trial was associated with reduced adverse pregnancy outcomes and had no effect on birthweight. However, the long-term implications of metformin on the health of offspring remain unknown. Objective: The purpose of this study was to assess whether prenatal exposure to metformin can improve the cardiovascular profile and body composition in the offspring of obese mothers. Study Design: In 151 children from the Metformin in Obese Pregnant Women trial, body composition, peripheral blood pressure, and arterial pulse wave velocity were measured. Central hemodynamics (central blood pressure and augmentation index) were estimated with the use of an oscillometric device. Left ventricular cardiac function and structure were assessed by echocardiography. Results: Children were 3.9±1.0 years old, and 77 of them had been exposed to metformin prenatally. There was no significant difference in peripheral blood pressure, arterial stiffness, and body composition apart from gluteal and tricep circumferences, which were lower in the metformin group (P<.05). The metformin group, compared with the placebo group, had lower central hemodynamics (mean adjusted decrease, –0.707 mm Hg for aortic systolic blood pressure, –1.65 mm Hg for aortic pulse pressure, and –2.68% for augmentation index; P<.05 for all) and lower left ventricular diastolic function (adjusted difference in left atrial area, –0.525 cm2, in isovolumic relaxation time, –0.324 msec, and in pulmonary venous systolic wave, 2.97 cm/s; P<.05 for all). There were no significant differences in metabolic profile between the groups. Conclusion: Children of obese mothers who were exposed prenatally to metformin, compared with those who were exposed to placebo, had lower central hemodynamic and cardiac diastolic indices. These results suggest that the administration of metformin in obese pregnant women potentially may have a beneficial cardiovascular effect for their offspring.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)246.e1-246.e10
JournalAmerican Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2020


  • children
  • exposure
  • metformin
  • obesity
  • offspring
  • outcome
  • placebo
  • pregnancy


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