The overlap of Ozempic and pregnancy is quickly becoming an issue. The rising popularity of GLP-1 agonists, such as Ozempic, developed to help people manage Type 2 diabetes and obesity, has sparked media interest due to its weight reduction side effect, attracting the attention of celebrities and influencers alike. But can you take Ozempic while pregnant?

Ozempic is a prescription medication used to treat high blood sugar levels. While it has significant benefits in glucose control, using it during pregnancy can lead to low birth weight, birth defects and miscarriage. However, the increased popularity of these drugs has raised concerns about their potential impact on pregnancy and fertility. If you are pregnant or expect to become pregnant soon, you may be asking if this drug is safe to use. While its benefits in managing glucose are significant, its use during pregnancy entails potential risks.

Doctors do not advocate taking semaglutide when pregnant. According to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), animal studies indicate that it can cause birth abnormalities and an increased chance of pregnancy loss. Furthermore, doctors do not encourage intentional weight loss during pregnancy.

Meet the Expert: Dr. Diana Rangaves writes for 21Ninety’s as a health and wellness expert. She is a pharmacist, philanthropist, and ethics professor turned writer, holding a Doctorate in Pharmacy from the University of California. She also serves as the Executive Editor and Chief Content Officer for Healthcare Worldwide Central and has published several works in medical and pharmaceutical publications, academic books, as well as, scholarly articles.

What Is Ozempic?

Ozempic (semaglutide) is a prescription injectable medicine that belongs to the GLP-1 (glucagon-like peptide-1) agonist class. It mimics GLP-1, a natural hormone that regulates digestion, insulin, and blood sugar levels. GLP-1 agonists increase glucose-dependent insulin production, decrease glucagon (which raises blood sugar levels), slow stomach emptying, and promote satiety, all of which can help you lose weight.

In addition to controlling blood sugar levels in people with type 2 diabetes, Ozempic is used to reduce the risk of significant cardiovascular events in those with a history of heart disease, such as heart attacks or strokes. This drug is FDA-approved for controlling type 2 diabetes when combined with a healthy diet and exercise routine. Although weight loss is a typical side effect, it’s crucial to know that Ozempic isn’t FDA-approved for weight loss but may be prescribed off-label by physicians.

Can You Take Semaglutide When Pregnant?

Semaglutide should not be taken in any form during pregnancy. According to the FDA, animal studies have shown that semaglutide causes dangers to fetuses, including fetal mortality, birth deformities, and growth problems. Furthermore, research is limited currently, and they have not tried the medicine on humans during pregnancy. Because semaglutide might induce significant weight loss, expecting parents should avoid taking it. Losing significant weight during pregnancy is related to babies born smaller than typical. It can also be harmful to both the pregnant parent and the fetus.

The Potential Side Effects Of Taking Semaglutide While Pregnant

Existing data suggests that taking semaglutide while pregnant may result in fetal problems. Researchers base these complications on animal research. When they fed pregnant rats semaglutide, their fetuses developed structural defects, growth difficulties and a higher mortality rate.

Pregnant rabbits and cynomolgus monkeys miscarried, and their infants had a higher risk of structural defects. In the studies described in the prescribing material, pregnant animals showed significant weight loss and limited food consumption. Furthermore, several of them delivered babies with lower-than-average birth weights.

Human research has also shown that weight loss during pregnancy increases the likelihood of delivering small for gestational age (SGA) newborns. This is why healthcare specialists do not encourage intentional weight loss during pregnancy, such as by food restriction or other measures, even for those overweight.

Diabetes During Pregnancy

Three types of Diabetes might affect you when pregnant:

  • Type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune illness that typically requires insulin to treat.
  • Type 2 diabetes is an acquired illness that is more common in overweight or obese adults.
  • Gestational Diabetes is a kind of Diabetes that develops during pregnancy in people who did not have Diabetes before pregnancy.

Diabetes in pregnancy can result in a large baby, an increased chance of C-section, high blood pressure, premature birth and low blood sugar. Diabetic moms’ infants are more likely to have low blood sugar, low calcium, certain cardiac disorders and other health difficulties. Women who have Diabetes during their pregnancy require additional monitoring. A multidisciplinary team, which may include a dietitian and, in some cases, a high-risk pregnancy specialist, will often accompany you throughout the pregnancy.

Can Weight Loss Drugs Affect Fertility?

Weight loss medications such as Ozempic, may be prescribed by healthcare practitioners to patients with specific diseases such as polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) or those undergoing in vitro fertilization (IVF). As you may already be aware, PCOS is characterized by irregular periods, increased androgen levels and obesity. Hormonal abnormalities can also interfere with ovulation in obese or overweight people. Obesity and infertility appear to be linked, mainly when ovulation abnormalities are present. Even a small amount of weight loss can help restore hormones required for ovulation while decreasing the chance of miscarriage and pregnancy difficulties.

Ozempic Safety Information

Ozempic carries a significant FDA warning, or black box warning, for the risk of thyroid C-cell cancers. They do not recommend it for people who have a personal or family history of medullary thyroid cancer or who have Multiple Endocrine Neoplasia syndrome type 2. Individuals with severe allergic reactions to the medicine or its constituents should avoid it. The most common Ozempic adverse effects recorded are nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal pain and constipation.

Can You Use Semaglutide While Nursing?

There are no current experiments to determine whether semaglutide is passed on to breast milk or whether it affects newborns or breast milk production. In animal tests, they found semaglutide in the breast milk of breastfeeding rats; however, it is unknown what this means for breastfeeding women.

Ozempic is currently used to regulate blood sugar in type 2 diabetics and to reduce the risk of heart attack and stroke in patients with heart disease and type 2 diabetes, but they have not tested it in pregnant women. If you are pregnant and taking Ozempic, you should speak with a medical professional to discuss your next steps and the best options.