Ozempic (semaglutide) is an injectable medication that treats type 2 diabetes by improving glycemic control and reducing blood glucose levels. It is part of a group of drugs called glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1) receptor agonists.
While Ozempic efficiently manages blood sugar levels and weight in type 2 diabetes, its safety during pregnancy remains unknown. Furthermore, doctors do not recommend taking Ozempic while trying to conceive.
How Ozempic may affect pregnancy
A study involving pregnant rats showed the side effects of Ozempic on the fetus. These side effects include pregnancy loss, growth alterations, and skeletal abnormalities. Other studies involving rabbits and monkeys resulted in early pregnancy losses and structural deformities.
The studies are limited to animals, and no data on Ozempic during human pregnancy is available. Therefore, doctors and medical professionals cannot rule out the danger of using Ozempic on pregnant women or even those planning to conceive. The FDA (Food and Drug Administration) discouraged using Ozempic during pregnancy because of insufficient data.
While it’s possible that the side effects of Ozempic in pregnant animals will not manifest in humans, more studies are required to approve Ozempic for human pregnancy. An FDA spokesperson said that based on animal data, taking semaglutide during pregnancy may increase the risk of congenital disabilities and miscarriage in women.
Discontinuing Ozempic treatment when trying to conceive
Sarah Lassey, an obstetrics and gynecologist at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, recommended discontinuing Ozempic treatment two months before becoming pregnant.
Stopping Ozempic treatment should be done under a doctor’s supervision, similar to how patients started their treatment. It is a standard procedure that needs to be followed.
Does Ozempic affect breastfeeding?
If Ozempic’s treatment toward conceiving and getting pregnant has potential risks, you cannot rule out the possibility of hazards when breastfeeding.
Therefore, when women have stopped breastfeeding, they can resume taking Ozempic.
Lassey said, “The data about breastfeeding, even about the availability of whether or not you can find these drugs in the breast milk, is very limited. It just hasn’t been studied yet, so we wait to initiate these medications until patients report that they have stopped breastfeeding.”
What should Ozempic users do when planning to get pregnant?
The first thing that Ozempic users should do when they plan to get pregnant is to stop treatment at least two months before conceiving. Two months are enough to wear off the effects of Ozempic in the body, leaving very less chance for pregnancy complications.
Stephen O’Rahilly, Director of the Wellcome-MRC Institute of Metabolic Science at the University of Cambridge, indicated that obesity could have pregnancy complications. Therefore, losing weight before pregnancy is a wise idea, especially if she is diagnosed with PCOS or is facing fertility issues due to weight. That is why using Ozempic for a short period before pregnancy can help you lose weight. However, once conceived, you must switch to a safer alternative as the doctor prescribes.