HEALTH

Women on birth control and weight-loss meds are becoming pregnant

Apr 26, 2024, 6:00 PM | Updated: 7:13 pm

Costco and its low-cost health care partner Sesame have launched a weight loss program that include...

Costco and its low-cost health care partner Sesame have launched a weight loss program that includes prescriptions for medications like Ozempic, when appropriate. (Mario Tama/Getty Images via CNN Newsource)

(Mario Tama/Getty Images via CNN Newsource)

SALT LAKE CITY — A side effect of injectable weight-loss drugs seems to be making women more fertile. Many report becoming pregnant after using drugs like Ozempic — while on birth control.

Medications like Ozempic, Mounjaro, WeGovy and Zepbound appear to boost fertility because the weight loss they induce corrects hormonal imbalances caused by obesity and metabolic disorders, as reported by USA Today. Some of those medicines can lower the effectiveness of birth control and thus increase the likelihood of becoming pregnant.

Ozempic is not FDA-approved for weight loss. It is, however, FDA-approved to treat adults with type 2 diabetes. 

Weight loss and pregnancy

Dr. David Turok, an associate professor at the University of Utah Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, told KSL NewsRadio that he’s not surprised that heavier women, who are more unlikely to be ovulating and who lose weight on medications such as Ozempic, become pregnant.

“As people’s weight drop, they’re more likely to ovulate, more likely to have a pregnancy.”

 

Weight loss and birth control

He added that birth control is effective but not perfect, especially for women losing weight.

“If 100 people are using the method over the course of the year, we expect about nine pregnancies. So that’s not a shock that if you’re now able to get pregnant, you’re going to have more [birth-control] failures. Potentially, before, you weren’t going to have any failures because you were not ovulating,” Turok said.

Wegovy, a higher-dose medicine similar to Ozempic, is prescribed for chronic weight management. The medication received FDA approval in 2021 and is intended for adults with a body mass index of 27 or above and who have weight-related health conditions as reported by Bryant University News.

Stop meds before pregnancy

Novo Nordisk — the maker of Ozempic — recommends that women trying to conceive should stop using the medication at least two months before becoming pregnant, as reported by LifeMD.

For women planning to give birth, Turok recommends aiming toward a weight goal, treating other conditions, such as hypertension and diabetes, and then stopping the medications before moving on to pregnancy.

Related: Dieting by design: Using Ozempic as a diabetic weight loss treatment


Dave & Dujanovic can be heard weekdays from 9 a.m. to noon. on KSL NewsRadio. Users can find the show on the KSL NewsRadio website and app, as well as Apple Podcasts and Google Play. 

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Women on birth control and weight-loss meds are becoming pregnant