Written on January 24, 2024 by Jillian Foglesong Stabile, MD, FAAFP. To give you technically accurate, evidence-based information, content published on the Everlywell blog is reviewed by credentialed professionals with expertise in medical and bioscience fields.
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If you’re pregnant or considering pregnancy, you have many things to think about. If you have a chronic condition such as diabetes, you may be wondering how to manage your condition while pregnant. With so many new medications available, it can get confusing. If you’re on or considering a medication such as Ozempic®, you may be wondering about the impact of Ozempic® and pregnancy.
Ozempic® is a medication that is Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved to treat type 2 diabetes. It is not recommended as a first-line medication for type 2 diabetes and should be used in combination with diet and exercise. Ozempic® is not indicated specifically for weight loss, though it is sometimes used off-label for that purpose. However, semiglutide, the medication in Ozempic®, is also marketed under the brand name Wegovy® specifically for weight loss. Additionally, Ozempic® is used by some healthcare providers for the non-FDA-approved treatment of obesity in some patients.
Ozempic® is a glucagon-like peptide 1 (GLP-1) receptor agonist. Medications in this class work at the level of the liver to decrease blood sugar production, stimulate insulin secretion after eating, increase glucose update in the muscles, and decrease appetite. It is administered via injection under the skin weekly.
There is currently very little data available regarding the use of Ozempic® in pregnancy. Limited studies in pregnant animals have shown an increased risk of structural abnormalities, growth problems, and pregnancy loss, even at lower-than-recommended doses. There are currently no studies available in humans.
For these reasons, the FDA has recommended against the use of Ozempic® in pregnancy and has recommended discontinuation of Ozempic® at least two months prior to a planned pregnancy due to the length of time it takes for the medication to clear your system. There is no current recommendation for consideration of pregnancy termination if your baby was exposed to Ozempic® during pregnancy.
Poorly controlled diabetes during pregnancy also carries significant risk to the baby. In some cases, under the careful guidance of your obstetrical care provider, you may decide that the benefits of the medication outweigh the risks.
Three types of diabetes can affect you during pregnancy [5,6]:
Diabetes in pregnancy can cause a big baby, increased risk for C-section, high blood pressure, preterm birth, and low blood sugar. Infants of diabetic mothers are at increased risk of low blood sugars, low calcium, certain heart problems, and other health issues. Women who have diabetes during pregnancy need more monitoring during their pregnancy. Frequently, a multidisciplinary team, including a nutritionist and sometimes a high-risk pregnancy specialist, will follow you through your pregnancy.
Weight loss is known to benefit people with type 2 diabetes. But is weight loss safe during pregnancy? A review study from 2015 found that, while weight loss decreases the risk of having a baby that is too big, it also increases the risk of having a baby that is too small. As such, weight loss during pregnancy may not be recommended. However, each person is different. You should seek guidance from a licensed healthcare provider on how to manage your weight and diabetes symptoms during pregnancy.
Whether you’re just starting to take control of your health, or you’ve hit a weight-loss plateau, Everlywell is here to help. Our online weight loss telehealth option gives you access to regular virtual visits with a licensed healthcare provider, lifestyle content and support, regular lab tests and supplements, and prescribed weight loss medications for qualified candidates. Take control of your weight loss journey and prepare for a healthy pregnancy with Everlywell today.
Jillian Foglesong Stabile, MD, FAAFP is a board-certified Family Physician. Since completing her residency training in 2010, she’s been practicing full-scope family medicine in a rural setting. Dr. Foglesong Stabile’s practice includes caring for patients of all ages for preventative care as well as chronic disease management. She also provides prenatal care and delivers babies. Dr. Foglesong Stabile completed a teaching fellowship in 2020 and teaches the family medicine clerkship for one of her local medical schools. Dr. Foglesong Stabile’s favorite thing about family medicine is the variety of patients she sees in her clinical practice.