Ozempic is a prescribed injectable medication, used in treatment to improve blood sugar in patients with type 2 diabetes.
It helps to release insulin and lower the amount of glucose produced by the liver.
It is also used to reduce the risk of heart attack and stroke in adults with type 2 diabetes and known cardiovascular disease.
Taking Ozempic is also known to help with weight loss. Can you take Ozempic while breastfeeding?
According to the American Diabetes Association, however, prescribing Ozempic for weight loss is a ‘off-label’ use. Ozempic is FDA approved for the management of type 2 diabetes, with weight loss being a common side effect of the medication.
The active ingredient in Ozempic, semaglutide, is approved in larger amounts in other weight loss medications.
Does Ozempic pass into breast milk?
In animal studies, traces of Ozempic been found in milk; however, no similar studies have been conducted on human breast milk.
Semaglutide (Ozempic) is a peptide molecule with a high molecular weight. Drugs that have a high molecular weight do not pass easily into breast milk as they are too large to cross the mammary epithelium cell walls.
Semaglutide is 99% protein bound. The lower protein bound the drug, the more easily it passes through cell membranes (and potentially into breast milk). The higher protein bound it is, the longer is its half-life (the amount of time the drug stays present in your system).
Ozempic is a drug that stays present in your system for a relatively long time after you take it. According to LactMed lactation database, though, it does not pass easily into breast milk.
Can I take Ozempic while breastfeeding?
There is currently no available information on the clinical use of Ozempic while breastfeeding.
As stated in the information above, it’s unlikely that much of the drug would be absorbed by the breastfed infant of a mother taking Ozempic; it would most likely be destroyed in the infant’s gastrointestinal tract.
Despite that, it is generally agreed that, if traces of Ozempic were found in milk during studies done on animals, it can be assumed that Ozempic would also be present in human milk.
Due to the long half life of Ozempic, there might be dangers associated with the accumulative levels in the milk of breastfeeding mothers who are using it on a long term basis. For example, if a mother takes 2 mg of Ozempic on any day of the week, there will still be 1 mg of Ozempic detectable in her system one week later. Avoiding the accumulation of medication is especially important for a mother nursing a newborn or preterm infant; these babies are at greater risk.
Until more data on the potential effects of Ozempic while breastfeeding babies becomes available, breastfeeding mothers should avoid the drug, or use it with caution. It should be taken strictly under the guidance of professional advice, where the benefits of the medication significantly outweigh the risks.
There is also limited information available on the effects of Ozempic while trying to conceive and during pregnancy.
For more information, you can read BellyBelly’s article Ozempic While Pregnant | Will it Harm My Baby?
Does Ozempic cause side effects in breastfed babies?
Some common side effects of Ozempic while breastfeeding on adults are:
- Stomach pain
- Weight loss.
Due to the lack of research on the effects of Ozempic on a breastfed infant, there are currently no reported side effects in breastfed babies.
Does Ozempic affect breast milk supply?
Both prescribed and over the counter medications can affect breast milk supply.
There are many hormones involved in breast milk production; some of these are estrogen and prolactin.
For more information about breastfeeding hormones, you can read BellyBelly’s article How Does Breastfeeding Work? An Explanation.
Medications that alter the levels of these hormones can have a detrimental effect on milk production and breast milk supply. Contraception medications that contain estrogen and medications with pseudoephedrine are well know to have an adverse effect on the milk supply of breastfeeding mothers.
There is less widely available information about the part that insulin plays in breast milk production; emerging research, however, shows an important association between insulin and lactation. This means insulin altering medications might also affect breast milk supply.
What can I take for weight loss while breastfeeding?
Although it might be tempting to take medications to help postpartum weight loss, they are not usually recommended for women who are breastfeeding.
It’s generally recommended that breastfeeding women consume 1800 calories per day and aim to not lose more that half a kilogram per week.
Although breastfeeding burns around 500 calories per day, many women find that it does not contribute to weight loss in in the post partum period. Some mothers lose weight quickly while breastfeeding; others find they lose more weight after weaning from breastfeeding.
The potential risks of taking weight loss medication while breastfeeding might outweigh the benefits and should be discussed with a healthcare provider.
How else can I lose weight while breastfeeding?
The most sensible way to lose weight while breastfeeding is to eat a healthy diet with a wide variety of nutrient dense food. You should also limit your intake of highly processed foods and engage in regular physical activity.
It’s normal for your body to store extra fat while breastfeeding; this is your body’s way of making sure there are enough stores to continue milk production for your baby.
As well as from breastfeeding, other factors can contribute to how easily or quickly you lose weight after giving birth. Some of these factors are: your pre pregnancy weight; your diet; lifestyle factors; and genetics.
It’s a good idea to check in with your healthcare provider before starting on any diet or exercise regime.