‘Ozempic babies’: Is the weight loss drug leading to surprise pregnancies?

Medications like Ozempic and Wegovy are steadily gaining popularity for people trying to lose weight. For a certain group of people, however, health professionals said the drug is leading to unexpected results: pregnancy.

There is a rise in "Ozempic Babies," a trending topic on social media.

For years, medications like Ozempic have been known to treat diabetes, with weight loss being a side effect. Recent versions of the injections, like Wegovy, were FDA approved for people struggling with obesity.

"Helps people quite a lot in their journey in changing diet and losing weight. So, I do prescribe it very frequently," said Kim van Groos, a nurse practitioner at Overlake Medical Center in Bellevue.

Groos has worked in the treatment of obesity for 16 years, currently at Overlake Bariatric and Metabolic Clinic. She said weight-loss medications of the past weren’t quite as successful for her patients, until treatments like Ozempic and Wegovy hit the market.

"And then also see it kind of get into the mainstream and become sort of this social movement has been quite shocking to me because I’ve never experienced this before! But I’ve also never had such a powerful tool," said Groos. 

The powerful tool is now showing unplanned results: pregnancy. The weight-loss drug and its impacts on fertility for women began trending on TikTok with mothers sharing their pregnancy stories on the social media platform.

"People who struggled with fertility issues are quite surprised by this, because they thought that it was something unrelated or something not fixable," said Groos. 

Though Groos said her office has not seen pregnancies specifically linked to these medications, she explained it’s common that they treat patients who become pregnant after weight loss.

"We know that with surgery weight loss, especially women with a condition called PCOS or polycystic ovarian syndrome, weight loss can improve their fertility. So, some of it is improved fertility with that little bit of weight loss," explained Groos. 

Trending social media topic "Ozempic Babies" is raising questions about how these unplanned pregnancies are happening to women, even when taking birth control pills. Groos said it’s possible the pill’s efficiency may be impacted by weight-loss drugs.

"These medications do affect the speed of digestion. It slows down. So, with oral medications it can affect the absorption of those medications," said Groos. "There isn’t a directly labeled warning for that, so we haven’t seen any drug evidence of that, but it is a concern for oral medications, any of them, including birth control."

Other concerns about this unexpected trend are being studied by the U.S. National Library of Medicine, specifically pregnant women who were obese or overweight. Researchers will study how the medication impacts maternal, fetal and infant outcomes of women exposed to Wegovy.

Groos said she is also interested in learning more about other studies to support the health and well-being of her patients.

"With any new medication we do track side effects and potential long-term consequences. And this would be a big one if we see an increase in fertility because we don’t actually know the safety of these medications during pregnancy. So, the recommendation is to stop these medications two months before becoming pregnant. So, the big thing we’re going to be tracking is, is this affecting outcomes?" said Groos.

The nurse practitioner further explained that weight-loss drugs are not fertility treatments. Women are urged to stop taking meds like Ozempic or Wegovy if they become pregnant. Health professionals advise women to stop taking weight-loss drugs two months before a planned pregnancy.

"If you are on these medications, it would be important to talk to your provider about potentially using a backup or secondary method to prevent pregnancy," said Groos. 

She also encouraged people to speak to a medical provider first about the weight-loss treatments, and to use the medications responsibly.


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"We do see a lot on social media, people using these medications for 10-20-pound weight loss, and that’s not what they’re indicated for," said Groos. "It’s a very strong medication, and it’s to improve people’s health for people who need to lose significant weight."