Is It Safe to Take Phentermine During Breastfeeding?

by Marixie Ann Obsioma
Published on January 30, 2019 and last updated for accuracy on April 4, 2019

Most women have a goal of getting back to their pre-pregnancy weight soon after having a baby. That’s pretty normal.

Most moms lose half of their baby weight 6 weeks postpartum (1). The rest comes off after several months.

However, this isn’t true for all moms.

One of the greatest hurdles to losing weight after giving birth is if you are breastfeeding. People would most often discuss how breastfeeding can help one lose weight, and in some ways, it can be! Breastfeeding can actually help your body burn calories, but if it happens too fast, it can also affect your milk production (1).

Others use weight-loss supplements like Phentermine. But are they safe enough for you and your baby?

We know it can really be frustrating when you feel you can’t lose those extra pounds. But don’t worry! We have gathered some important information about Phentermine and additional tips on how you can lose weight safely and effectively while breastfeeding.

First, let us start with the basics.

What is Phentermine?

Phentermine is prescribed by doctors to help a patient lose weight along with proper exercise, diet, and lifestyle change (2). It works by decreasing one’s appetite and belongs to a drug group known as sympathomimetic amines (2).

How to Take Phentermine?

Phentermine is taken by mouth once daily, an hour before or after a meal. Your doctor can adjust the dose if necessary.

If you are given a sustained-release capsule, the dose is best taken before breakfast. It must be swallowed as a whole. Crushing or chewing it can release all of the drug at once, which may cause side effects (2).

If you are using tablets made to dissolve in the mouth, place it on top of your tongue.

Phentermine should only be taken for a few weeks. It must not be used with other appetite suppressants. There is an increased risk for side effects with prolonged use and drug combinations (2).

Do not take Phentermine late in the day to avoid insomnia (2).

Withdrawal reactions like depression and tiredness may occur with high doses and if you suddenly stop using this drug (2).

Is It Safe to Use Phentermine While Breastfeeding? What Are the Possible Side Effects?

Though there are known reported side effects on infants, Phentermine can be excreted in breast milk (3).

Also, the use of this drug while breastfeeding is not well studied. We do not know how much Phentermine get into the milk, or what specific effects it can have on your baby.

But since it is a stimulant, it might still cause side effects in your baby like agitation, tremors, and decreased feeding (4). Mild dehydration and increased blood pressure are also possible (5).

It is best to consult your doctor before taking this drug while nursing your baby. Go for the safe and sure ways to regulate your appetite and avoid excessive weight gain.

Breastfeeding Can Help You Reduce Weight

Did you know that breastfeeding alone can help you lose weight?

Perhaps not as fast and significant in the first few weeks or months, but it does work if you do it regularly.

When you breastfeed, fat cells along with calories from your diet are used to fuel milk production (6). It takes approximately 500 additional calories daily to produce breast milk (7). Your body also releases hormones like Oxytocin that causes muscle contractions in the uterus. Every time you breastfeed your infant, it shrinks down (7). This will make your belly slimmer.

One study even provided evidence that exclusive breastfeeding for at least 3 months has a small effect on weight loss among women US women (8).

In 2008, an epidemiological study was done on 36,000 Danish women. Results showed that the more moms breastfeed, the less weight they retain six months after birth (9).

In a study conducted to promote breastfeeding in the UK, results showed that half of the moms who breastfed felt that breastfeeding had a positive effect on their bodies (10).

Another study tested the relationship between breastfeeding, postpartum depression, and postpartum weight among Mexican American women.

At 6 months after giving birth, there was a significant difference in weight between moms who breastfed and those who did not (11). Breastfeeding contributed to lower weight and depression scores.

While breastfeeding does burn calories, you have to remember that you need enough nutrients to ensure that your baby stays happy and healthy why you are trying to lose some weight.

Check out the healthy habits listed below.

4 Healthy Ways to Lose Weight While Breastfeeding

1. Drink 8 Cups of Water Everyday

Drinking plenty of water is healthy whether you are trying to lose weight or not.

Water can help you lose extra weight by:

  • Contributing to normal body functions like digestion, circulation, regulation of temperature, transportation of nutrients, and of course, milk production
  • Helping the kidneys to excrete toxins from the body
  • Helping you feel fuller and preventing cravings
  • Keeping your muscles working
  • Combining with oil on your skin to protect you from the harmful UV rays

This isn’t as hard as you think. You can start drinking a cup or two first thing in the morning. Then drink two cups each at lunch and dinner. To get the last two cups, fill a 16-ounce water bottle and sip on it throughout the day until bedtime.

If you are not a water drinker, infuse it with your favorite fruit. Just make sure you don’t add much sugar because it can be passed on to your baby.

2. Eat A Healthy Diet

Fruits and vegetables should make up a huge part of your caloric intake.

The simplest way to get a healthy dose of these foods is to start your day with fruit and vegetable smoothie. Who would not love to have a mixture of banana, strawberries, blueberries, spinach, and almond milk for breakfast?

Always include a serving of vegetable on your lunch and dinner. If you get hungry in between meals, much on fruits and raw vegetables instead of junk foods.

Invest in “lean” protein, which can be found in fish, chicken, and beans (12).
Healthy fats are also very important. You can get them in walnuts, almonds, chia seeds, olives, avocados, and coconut oil (12).

3. Do Moderate Exercises

Keeping a healthy diet is just half of the battle. To lose weight successfully while breastfeeding, you have to do moderate exercises 6-8 weeks after giving birth (12).

There’s no need for you to hit the gym or to run long distances. Postpartum exercises can be grouped into two basic categories – cardio and weight-bearing.

Cardio can be as easy as brisk walking while pushing your infant in a stroller. Jogging and climbing up the stairs are excellent examples of weight-bearing exercises.

Cardio is good for your heart, lungs, and circulation. On the other hand, weight-bearing exercises can help strengthen your bones and muscles (12).

4. Sleep Well

Sleep is as equally important to postpartum weight loss as diet and exercises.

We know that this is quite hard to achieve especially if you are breastfeeding a newborn. But the importance of sleep should not be taken for granted. Why?

Sleep can help return your blood pressure to its normal level, relax muscles, release growth hormones, boost blood supply, and stabilize heart rate and breathing (12).

This is just the tip of the iceberg. Actually, weight gain has been linked to poor sleep (13). Sleep deprived moms tend to have cravings, which can give you extra pounds (12).

Get at least 7 hours of sleep daily. Get someone to help you keep an eye on your baby while you rest. You can pump in advance and store your milk in the fridge, which they can use when it’s feeding time.

Your Call to Action

The most important step to losing weight while breastfeeding is staying healthy and patient.

Do not pressure yourself. You have gone through a lot during pregnancy and that includes physical changes. It’s normal. Even if you are likely very excited to get back into your pre-pregnancy weight, it is best to give your body enough time to recover.

As discussed above, you can stand to lose weight without compromising your baby’s health and safety.

Eat and drink right, exercise, and sleep well!

References:

(1) https://medlineplus.gov/ency/patientinstructions/000586.htm

(2) https://www.webmd.com/drugs/2/drug-4151/phentermine-oral/details

(3) https://www.babymed.com/medications/phentermine-during-pregnancy-and-breastfeeding

(4) https://mothertobaby.org/fact-sheets/phentermine-pregnancy/

(5) https://www.momjunction.com/articles/phentermine-while-breastfeeding_00368542/#gref

(6) https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/infant-and-toddler-health/expert-answers/breastfeeding-and-weight-loss/faq-20094993

(7) https://www.verywellfamily.com/breastfeeding-and-losing-too-much-weight-431877

(8) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4312189/

(9) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19064514?itool=EntrezSystem2.PEntrez.Pubmed.Pubmed_ResultsPanel.Pubmed_RVDocSum&ordinalpos=3

(10) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5551192/

(11) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5135013/

(12) https://www.mustelausa.com/lose-weight-while-breastfeeding

(13) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3632337/

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