Are ‘Ozempic Babies’ Real? Here’s What We Know About the Link Between Weight Loss Drugs and Fertility

Three doctors answer all

ozempic and fertility
Digital Art by Paula Boudes

“I got pregnant on a GLP-1” says TikTok user Deb Oliviara in a video from earlier this year. “Yes, I was taking semaglutide, which is also known as Ozempic, and I got pregnant. So here’s your PSA to everyone,” she adds. In another video, she reveals that she was previously plagued by fertility issues but then found herself unexpectedly pregnant after going on Ozempic for weight loss. And she’s not alone. Other women have been sharing their experiences of suddenly getting pregnant while taking weight loss drugs (such as Ozempic, Wegovy and Mounjaro), some of them while using birth control. So what’s going on here? Should Ozempic users be concerned? I spoke to the experts to find out.

Meet the Experts:

  • Alex Robles, MD, is a reproductive endocrinology and infertility expert. He earned his medical degree from Weill Cornell Medical College, is an active member of the American Society for Reproductive Medicine (ASRM) and is also board certified in Obstetrics and Gynecology.
  • Angela Fitch, MD, FACP, FOMA, Dipl. ABO is the current president of the Obesity Medicine Association and Chief Medical Officer of knownwell. She graduated from the University of Cincinnati College of Medicine and is board certified in obesity medicine, internal medicine and pediatrics.
  • Sharon Giese, MD, is board certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery and the creator of the Elective Weight Loss Program. Dr. Giese’s research has been featured in publications such as The Wall Street Journal and Allure magazine; she has also appeared on television programs such as The Early Show, Good Morning America and The Today Show.

First—How Does Ozempic Actually Work?

Ozempic is a brand name for semaglutide and a prescription drug that’s primarily used to manage type 2 diabetes by helping to regulate blood sugar levels. It belongs to a class of drugs called GLP-1 receptor agonists that (amongst other things) slow the emptying of the stomach and reduce appetite.

But its role in diabetes management probably isn’t why you’ve heard of Ozempic. Along with another FDA-approved injectable medication that contains semaglutide, Wegovy, Ozempic has been making headlines because millions of people (who aren’t diabetic) are using it to lose weight. “Semaglutide is a naturally occurring peptide that slows stomach emptying,” Dr. Giese explains. “This makes people feel full faster and for a longer period of time. The person feels satiated, they do not feel hungry and that feeds back to the brain, really diminishing the desire for food,” she adds. Mounjaro is another antidiabetic medication that is being used for weight loss, although this one contains tirzepatide not semaglutide.

Celebs like Amy Schumer and Oprah Winfrey have spoken openly about taking weight loss drugs, but it’s not just for the rich and famous—regular folks are taking semaglutide too.

And What’s This I’m Hearing About “Ozempic Babies”?

Numerous women have shared stories online of how they got pregnant while using birth control and taking semaglutide, many using the hashtag #OzempicBaby on TikTok and others taking to Reddit and Facebook (the Facebook group “I got pregnant on Ozempic” has over 750 members).

But how common is this occurrence really? “Unfortunately, there is very little data on women taking birth control and getting pregnant while on semaglutide,” says Dr. Robles. “At this early stage, we will only see occasional anecdotes online.”

OK, but *Why* Are Women Getting Pregnant While Taking Semaglutide?

Again, there’s no real data or studies to go on here but the experts we spoke with seem to think that the reason we’re seeing an uptick in women who take GLP-1s like Ozempic for weight loss or diabetes having unexpected pregnancies is two-fold.

The first reason is that some women may have struggled with fertility in the past due to being overweight. (There is a link between excess fat and excess hormones, which can cause a hormonal imbalance not conducive to pregnancy.) And now that they’ve lost the weight, they are able to get pregnant. “Semaglutide can improve metabolic health, which may help restore ovulation in women who have been struggling with their fertility,” explains Dr. Fitch.

This was the case for mom Jen Villasana, who had been trying to get pregnant with her husband for years without any luck. She had been on Ozempic for one year when she suddenly found out she was pregnant. “I was ecstatic, happy, shocked, all the feelings. Hubby and I had been trying for over 11 years until I had given all hopes of becoming a mom—even after so many failed fertility treatments,” she tells me. Villasana is now a proud parent to 4-month-old baby Alina. There are others—on Reddit, user woodskc shares: “After years of infertility, I was finally able to conceive after taking Ozempic for a year! I truly believed it helped ‘fix’ my PCOS at least for the time being.”

The other reason that some women on Ozempic are getting pregnant unexpectedly is that the drugs may interfere with the absorption of contraceptive pills. As Dr. Robles explains, “the mechanism is likely due to the fact that semaglutide slows down gastric emptying. As such, medications taken orally may not be getting absorbed as readily as they normally would.”

It’s important to note that with semaglutide medications (such as Ozempic), a decrease in birth control efficacy has not been reported by the company as a potential side effect. However, Dr. Giese tells us that with tirzepatide (i.e., Monjauro), there is actually a warning on its label suggesting that people on the pill switch to a non-oral method of birth control. Per the expert, “the company has reported a decrease in effectiveness in the first month, up to 60 percent.”

As such, the doctors I spoke with recommend women who are taking weight loss drugs and do not wish to become pregnant consider alternative contraceptive methods to the pill. “If you are currently taking oral contraceptives, consider switching to a long-acting reversible contraception such as an IUD that doesn’t rely on oral absorption or adding a barrier method (condoms, diaphragm) to your oral contraceptive to be safe,” advises Dr. Fitch.

Of course, there is one more theory out there about why this is happening. “I think the real reason more women are getting pregnant on semaglutide is that they have lost weight and are feeling better about themselves, sexier and more social!” says Dr. Giese.

What Should a Woman Do If She Finds Out She’s Pregnant While Taking Semaglutide?

The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists does not offer any guidelines for women who are currently taking a weight loss drug and find themselves unexpectedly pregnant (or those who are planning to become pregnant), and even the experts weren’t in total agreement here.

While all medical professionals that I spoke with stressed the importance of discussing the situation with your healthcare provider, Dr. Robles says “they may recommend slowly tapering off the medication while ensuring that the patient has a proper plan in place to manage their diet and exercise in pregnancy. Suddenly stopping semaglutide could lead to rebound weight gain, so it is crucial for women to communicate openly with their providers.” Dr. Fitch and Dr. Giese, however, recommended that women stop taking it immediately.

What we do know for certain is that semaglutide stays in the body for multiple weeks even after you stop taking it. “Semaglutide comes out of your body naturally over six weeks,” says Dr. Fitch. “So even when you stop it, it naturally weans itself from your system. You will notice an increase in hunger and need to manage that with behavioral approaches (filling up on more fiber like vegetables, etc.) so as to prevent excessive weight gain in pregnancy.”

Again, working with your healthcare provider is essential, since excessive weight gain during pregnancy has been linked to a range of issues including but not limited to pregnancy-associated hypertension, gestational diabetes and complications during labor and delivery.

Is It Safe to be on Semaglutide While Pregnant?

Similarly to how we don’t really know how common it is for women to get unexpectedly pregnant while taking semaglutide and why exactly this might be happening, we also don’t know much about the risks associated with taking the drugs while pregnant. There simply hasn’t been enough research in this area.

While Dr. Robles notes that in the few published case reports, there has been no adverse effects on the fetus if women were inadvertently on the medication at the start of the pregnancy, Dr Fitch says that it is not recommended. “The safety of taking semaglutide during pregnancy has not yet been established and it is not recommended as it may have negative effects on the baby,” she says. “If you are taking semaglutide and become pregnant you should stop it immediately and contact your doctor.”

Should Women Struggling with Fertility Issues Take Ozempic to Get Pregnant?

For those dealing with infertility, the news of an Ozempic baby boom may be a welcome one, but experts warn not to take weight loss drugs like Ozempic just to get pregnant.

Per Dr. Robles, “We simply don’t have enough data or information to show that this medication is safe in pregnancy. It can likely help improve fertility by providing significant improvements in metabolic health while decreasing the risk of complications associated with obesity in pregnancy, but until further studies are conducted, it is not recommended for use during pregnancy or while trying to conceive.”

But that doesn’t mean the drugs are completely off limits before or after conception. “I have a number of young patients who have utilized semaglutide to lose weight prior to getting pregnant,” says Giese. “And another group that is using it after breast feeding to lose the rest of the baby weight.”

What About Breastfeeding and Ozempic?

Currently, there is not a lot of information on semaglutide and breastfeeding. Dr. Robles tells me that based on the size of the peptide, it is thought that only small amounts will pass into the breast milk. However, he adds that until more information is available it’s best to avoid taking weight loss drugs while breastfeeding.

What Happens When You Take Ozempic for Weight Loss? An Endocrinologist, Aesthetic Medicine Doctor and Dietician Explain

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Executive Editor

Alexia Dellner is an executive editor at PureWow who has over ten years of experience covering a broad range of topics including health, wellness, travel, family, culture and...