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Ozempic babies’: Reports of surprise pregnancies raise new questions about weight loss drugs

ozempic babies

Catera Bentley stared at the positive pregnancy test and couldn’t believe her eyes. She took a second test, then a third — there was no question. She was pregnant.

She called her husband at work and told him that there was a giant spider in the house that he had to come get rid of. He rushed home, and when he arrived, Bentley revealed the news. They both burst into tears.

The couple, who live in Steele, Alabama, had been trying to have a child for more than two years, but Bentley’s doctor had told her that she may be unable to conceive because of her history of polycystic ovary syndrome, known as PCOS.

The news had left her feeling without a purpose. “That’s all I wanted to be was a mom and a wife,” said Bentley, 25. “I was depressed, severely depressed for that whole time.”

Five months earlier, in October 2022, Bentley had started taking Mounjaro for weight loss. Over the first few months, she said, she lost about 40 pounds. Her menstrual cycles, which had been irregular because of PCOS, became normal. And she even felt happier.

“It just made me feel like a whole new person,” she said. “I was in a better mood every single day.”

Bentley had hoped that losing weight might help her get pregnant, and she’d heard about others having success with weight loss while taking the shot. But when she did become pregnant — sooner than she expected — she worried about the effects it might have on her baby.

‘Ozempic babies’

Bentley is far from alone. Numerous women have shared stories of “Ozempic babies” on social media. But the joy some experience in discovering pregnancies may come with anxiety about the unknowns, as these medicines haven’t been studied in people who are pregnant.

“We don’t know the effect of early exposure … on the fetus,” said Dr. Jody Dushay, a physician focused on endocrinology and metabolism at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center and an assistant professor at Harvard Medical School.

Dushay said she recommends that women stop taking these drugs two months before trying to get pregnant, as directed in their prescribing information.

Ozempic and Mounjaro are part of a class of drugs called GLP-1 receptor agonists, which act by mimicking hormones in the gut involved in insulin regulation and appetite. They’re both approved to treat type 2 diabetes, and each have twin medicines approved for weight loss. Ozempic uses the active ingredient semaglutide, and Wegovy is the version approved for weight loss. Mounjaro uses tirzepatide, which also targets a second hormone called GIP, and Zepbound is its brand name for weight loss.

The medicines have been shown to help people lose 15% to 20% of their body weight, on average, in clinical trials.

And because of the way GLP-1 drugs work, experts say, there are reasons they may lead to more pregnancies as well as cause for caution about their use in early pregnancy.

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