Wait, Why Is Everyone Suddenly Getting Pregnant on Ozempic? Reproductive Endocrinologists Explain

Pregnant women

If your algorithm is making it seem like a lot of women are getting pregnant on Ozempic, experts agree that you're actually on to something.

Women who have gotten pregnant on weight loss medications like Ozempic, Wegovy and Mounjaro—including women who previously struggled with fertility and others who were using oral contraceptives to prevent pregnancy—have flooded social media (especially TikTok) and are raising questions about the potential links between drugs like Ozempic and fertility.

The best source of information on this topic will always be your own physician and/or fertility specialist, so be sure to speak with them about any concerns you may have regarding weight loss and fertility. With that in mind, a reproductive endocrinologist has thoughts on what is being called the "Ozempic babies" phenomenon—here's what to know.

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Why Are So Many Women Getting Pregnant on Ozempic?

Aside from the obvious birds and the bees explanation, reproductive endocrinologist and OB/GYN Dr. Lucky Sekhon, MD, notes that there are several factors at play for women who have previously had fertility troubles conceiving while on Ozempic and similar weight loss drugs.

"Excess weight and obesity can interfere with fertility via a variety of mechanisms," Dr. Sekohn explains. "It can interfere with ovulation, reduce egg quality and make the lining of the uterus less receptive to an implanting embryo. Reducing weight—whether it is through lifestyle, GLP-1 agonist medications like Ozempic or surgical procedures like bariatric surgery—can help to restore normal hormonal balance, reduce insulin resistance and at times help to regulate the menstrual cycle. That can produce an environment more conducive to embryo implantation."

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Can Weight Loss Medications Make Birth Control Less Effective?

Ladies on weight loss medications and the pill, listen up!

Some women using oral birth control reported getting pregnant while on weight loss medications, and that isn't a coincidence—but, Dr. Sekhon notes, it also only applies to two specific weight loss drugs in particular.

"Mounjaro and Zepbound have an active ingredient called tirzepatide, which has a more profound impact on gastric emptying," she said. (That essentially means that it takes your stomach longer to empty its contents after you eat, which means you'll feel fuller for longer.) "Slower gastric emptying can lead to less absorption of oral contraceptives and can theoretically reduce their efficacy."

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See more of Dr. Sekhon's opinions on the topic below:

Reproductive endocrinologist Asima Ahmad, MD, MPH, FACOG, notes that while other weight loss medications besides Mounjaro and Zepbound may not have a warning included about their impact on oral contraceptives, you should still use caution and a back-up contraceptive method like condoms if you're trying to prevent pregnancy.

"Certain weight loss drugs can delay gastric emptying. Therefore, if you are trying to prevent pregnancy, it’s important to discuss the best contraceptive method for you before starting these weight loss medications," Dr. Ahmad adds. "Ideally, you do not want to be on one of these weight loss medications when pregnant, as there are still unknowns about their impact on pregnancy outcomes including potential birth defects. That has not yet been studied in humans, but animal studies did show a potential increased risk of birth defects or miscarriage."

Related: What Happens When You Stop Taking Ozempic

PCOS and Pregnancy on Ozempic

PCOS, or polycystic ovary syndrome, is a condition that can cause hormonal imbalances (especially increased testosterone and insulin resistance). Symptoms can include weight gain or difficulty losing weight, hirsutism (excessive body or facial hair), menstrual irregularity, ovulation disruption, heavy periods, thinning hair on the scalp, acne and a higher risk of type 2 diabetes.

Not everyone with PCOS is overweight or obese, Dr. Ahmad says, but those who do can experience specific effects.

"The increased adipose (fat) tissue seen in some women with PCOS and obesity can do two things: it can result in increased levels of estrogen levels and also insulin resistance. Increased estrogen levels affect the hypothalamic-pituitary axis (HPA) and the signaling between the brain and ovaries," she says. "This can result in irregularities in ovulation. The increased insulin levels can result in the ovaries releasing more androgens, like testosterone, which has a similar impact on the HPA and can result in ovulatory dysfunction."

Related: What It's Like To Take Ozempic, Week by Week

Anate A. Brauer, MD, FACOG, tells Parade, "The main reason for this Ozempic 'phenomenon' is weight loss. Women who are overweight are less likely to ovulate regularly, especially those with PCOS. Losing 10% of body weight often leads to resumption in ovulation, therefore increasing pregnancy rates in this population."

"Women with PCOS have a tendency toward insulin resistance, which can make it harder to ovulate," Dr. Sekhon explains. "Reducing weight can help lessen insulin resistance and restore normal ovulation. Ovulating regularly and being able to predict when the egg will be ovulated makes it easier to get pregnant. It is important to time one's attempts around ovulation, as the egg only survives for 12 to 24 hours before being fertilized. If you don't ovulate—or if you ovulate irregularly or infrequently, it can make it harder to conceive."

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