If you started off your pregnancy carrying extra weight for your height, you are definitely not alone!More than half of pregnant women are either overweight or obese (1).The increasing number of maternal obesity cases has become a major problem in the field of obstetrics and gynecology.Maternal obesity can cause negative outcomes for both moms and babies (2).Maternal risks would include gestational diabetes and pre-eclampsia. Babies are at risk for stillbirth and congenital problems (2).While pregnancy is certainly not the time to go on a weight loss diet, a lot of plus-size pregnant women still want to use drugs like Phentermine.As will be discussed in details below, Phentermine will have effects on moms and babies.Luckily, you can still keep a healthy pregnancy weight naturally.
What is Phentermine?Phentermine is a well-known prescription drug that can help suppress appetite.It is classified as a sympathomimetic amine (3).When used as an adjunct to low-calorie diet and exercise, it can be effective for the purpose of weight loss.This drug, however, is only advisable for short-term use (3).
How should one take Phentermine?Follow all directions printed on the label. Never take this drug in larger amounts or for longer than prescribed.Phentermine is best taken on an empty stomach, except for disintegrating tablets, which can be taken before or after a meal (4).To avoid sleep problems, take this drug early in the morning (4).As mentioned earlier, this must be taken only for a short period of time.Taking more of this drug will not make it more effective and may cause detrimental side effects (4).Keep at room temperature free from heat and moisture.Do not stop using Phentermine abruptly to avoid withdrawal symptoms (4). Know to stop using this drug safely by consulting a medical doctor.
Can You Use Phentermine During Pregnancy?Generally, it is not advisable to use Phentermine during pregnancy as it can cause danger to fetal health (5).First and foremost, weight loss is not ideal during pregnancy. Your baby needs proper nutrition to grow healthy.Also, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has classified Phentermine under category X drugs. This group of drugs may harm the fetus. The risks also outweigh the drug’s benefits for pregnant women (6).Phentermine can cause fetal birth defects like cleft lip and cleft palate, which may occur early in the pregnancy (7).
Possible Effects of Phentermine on Pregnant WomenLittle is known about Phentermine use and its possible effect on pregnant women.One study revealed a higher risk of gestational diabetes among pregnant women who took Phentermine during the first trimester (8).However, this increased risk can likewise be related to being overweight, to begin with. This factor was not ruled out in the study.Gestational diabetes can be dangerous (9). It can cause several complications like:
- Delivery complications because of a huge baby
- High blood pressure
- Adult-onset diabetes after pregnancy
Studies on Risks to BabiesAs mentioned above. Phentermine is known to cause fetal birth defects, but some studies that exist do not seem to confirm this information.A small study was conducted in the Czech Republic comparing pregnant women who took Phentermine and those who did not. There’s no difference in pregnancy outcomes (10).Another study looked at the use of Phentermine and Fenfluramine in the first trimester of pregnancy. The result showed no increased risks of pregnancy loss and birth defects (11).While the above-mentioned studies do not connect Phentermine with serious side effects, Phentermine is still related to weight loss.Weight loss during pregnancy can put your baby at risk of the following complications:
- Small for gestational age. This increases a baby’s risk of trouble maintaining body temperature, difficulty breathing, and low blood sugar (9).
- Death in the first year of life. According to one study, babies born to women without a healthy weight during pregnancy had three times the risk of dying in their first year of life (12).
- Disabilities. Pregnant women who excessively limit their calorie intake will prompt the body to use fat stores for energy. The process of breaking down fats will produce ketones. This puts babies at risk of mental deficiencies (9).
- Neural tube defects. One study suggests that the use of weight loss products while pregnant can raise the risk of babies of defects affecting the brain and spine (13).