Growth, body composition and metabolic profile of 8-year-old children exposed to metformin in utero

Scand J Clin Lab Invest. 2012 Nov;72(7):570-5. doi: 10.3109/00365513.2012.712319. Epub 2012 Aug 30.


Objectives: To investigate the possible long-term effects of metformin exposure on growth and development of the offspring born to mothers with polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS). The drug passes through the placenta and can potentially influence the fetus.

Patients and methods: This is a follow-up study of a randomized, controlled trial on PCOS women, randomized to metformin or placebo in pregnancy. Out of 37 children aged 7-9 years, 25 agreed to participate. Primary outcome measures were growth, body composition and metabolic parameters.

Results: There were no differences in height, weight or body composition between those exposed to metformin and those exposed to placebo. We found a higher fasting glucose level in the metformin group (4.93 mmol/L vs. 4.60 mmol/L, p = 0.04). In the metformin group there was a trend towards higher systolic blood pressure (106 mmHg vs. 101 mmHg, p = 0.05) and a lower LDL cholesterol level (2.42 mmol/L vs. 2.99 mmol/L, p = 0.07).

Conclusion: Metformin exposure during fetal life does not seem to influence growth and body composition at the age of 8 years. A higher fasting glucose level and a possible higher systolic blood pressure and lower LDL cholesterol level in the metformin group may be coincidental and should be further explored.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Absorptiometry, Photon
  • Body Composition / drug effects*
  • Child
  • Female
  • Growth / drug effects*
  • Humans
  • Hypoglycemic Agents / pharmacology*
  • Male
  • Metabolism / drug effects*
  • Metformin / pharmacology*
  • Pregnancy


  • Hypoglycemic Agents
  • Metformin