Is It Possible for You to Get Pregnant in PCOS?
Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) is a hormonal condition that affects how the ovaries work. It is relatively common, affecting up to one in five women at some point in their lives. The exact cause of PCOS is still unknown. But it often runs in genes and is linked to insulin resistance and high levels of male hormones. Insulin resistance means the body does not respond appropriately to the hormone insulin, which moves glucose from the blood into cells where it is used as fuel for energy so we can work, plays and generally live our lives. High levels of male hormones cause physical changes, like excess facial and body hair and acne.
If you have PCOS, you may have irregular periods or no periods. This can affect your ability to get pregnant. You are also more at risk of long-term health problems such as type 2 diabetes and high cholesterol levels. It often takes a while for women with PCOS to get a firm diagnosis, as it can mimic other problems. However, sometimes women having trouble getting pregnant find they have PCOS. If you think you might have PCOS, you must see your doctor to find the cause of your symptoms. With early diagnosis, you can treat the symptoms of PCOS early.
How does PCOS affect your fertility?
Polycystic ovary syndrome is a common hormonal disorder among women of reproductive age. Women with PCOS may have infrequent or prolonged menstrual periods or excess male hormone (androgen) levels. As a result, the ovaries may develop numerous small collections of fluid (follicles) and fail to release eggs regularly. The exact cause of PCOS is unknown. However, early diagnosis and treatment and weight loss may reduce the risk of long-term complications such as type 2 diabetes and heart disease.
If you have PCOS, you might struggle with your pregnancy. This is because the high androgen levels prevent the release of an egg (ovulation). However, you can increase your chances of getting pregnant by being a healthy weight; even a 5 to 10% loss in weight has significantly increased the likelihood of becoming pregnant. All you need healthy eating, exercise, monitoring ovulation and timing sexual intercourse around ovulation. If you have made some changes that still haven't helped, your doctor might suggest fertility tests and prescribe medications and lifestyle changes to help you ovulate. If pills don't work, you might also have to go for surgery to remove a tiny amount of tissue, producing excess male hormones in the ovaries. Or else, you can also have plant-based fertility supplements for women, but make sure there are no side effects. For example, andMe's Ovaboost. It consists of Ayurvedic ingredients like Shatavari and Chastberry that balances your hormone levels.
What are the risks in pregnancy with PCOS?
If you have PCOS, it is essential to talk to your doctor about the risks in pregnancy. Your doctor can help you manage your PCOS symptoms and reduce the health risks.
Having PCOS might increase your risk of some complications during pregnancy, such as:
- ‣ miscarriage
- ‣ high blood pressure induced by the pregnancy
- ‣ gestational diabetes
- ‣ premature childbirth
Women with PCOS have a higher chance of needing a caesarean delivery because their babies might be more significant than expected for their gestational age. Babies born to women with PCOS have a greater risk of dying around the time of delivery and being admitted to a newborn intensive care unit. If you have PCOS and are pregnant, you must talk with your doctor. You can reduce the risk of these complications by monitoring PCOS symptoms and taking extra care during your pregnancy.
Can you get pregnant with PCOs?
Yes, all you need to do is take a bit extra care of yourself and make some significant lifestyle changes:
Go low carb:
A diet rich in low GI carbs like brown rice, wholewheat pasta, bread and oats can help control insulin resistance, while fats like avocado and nuts can help regulate sex hormones (androgens). Protein sources should include fish, tofu, legumes and lean meats. Keep sugary treats in check - they spike blood sugar levels which encourage pancreas complications.
A healthy diet is an essential part of overall health and wellbeing, and as such, it's central to managing PCOS symptoms and getting pregnant with PCOS. My advice? Fill up whole grains, fresh fruit and vegetables, lean meat, nuts and seeds, and steer clear of sugar and processed foods as much as possible. Don't skip meals and try to eat nutritious food every 2 hours.
Stress is one of the biggest enemies of fertility because it interferes with hormones that control ovulation and pregnancy. Have you heard of IVF burnout? It's real! This can affect your mental health and self-esteem, so make time for relaxation in your day and try some stress management techniques that work for you – this may include yoga, meditation or regular massages.
Get adequate sleep:
Sleep is vital for both the mom and the baby to balance hormone levels. A night of proper sleep is necessary for healthy leptin production, a hormone that helps regulate ovulation. Get 7-8 hours of rest each night.
If you're not getting enough exercise, gradually increase to 30-60 minutes of activity, 3-4 times a week. An active lifestyle contributes to a healthy weight, developed blood sugar regulation and stimulated energy levels. It doesn't have to be too challenging or risky - take a brisk outdoor walk, pilates or swim regularly.
Diet to reduce PCOS complications during pregnancy:
Insulin resistance often occurs with PCOS and can make it challenging to manage blood sugar levels. High fibre foods can help combat insulin resistance by slowing down digestion and reducing the effect of sugar on the blood. This may be beneficial for people with PCOS.
Here are some examples of high fibre foods:
- ‣ Cruciferous vegetables, like broccoli, cauliflower, and Brussels sprouts
- ‣ Greens, including red leaf lettuce and arugula
- ‣ Green and red peppers
- ‣ Beans and lentils
- ‣ Almonds
- ‣ Berries
- ‣ Sweet potatoes
- ‣ Winter squash
- ‣ Pumpkin
Lean protein sources like tofu, chicken, and fish don't provide fibre but are a very filling and nutritious dietary option for people with PCOS.
Foods that help reduce inflammation may also be beneficial. These foods include:
- ‣ Tomatoes
- ‣ Kale
- ‣ Spinach
- ‣ Walnuts
- ‣ Olive oil
- ‣ Fruits, like blueberries and strawberries
- ‣ Fatty fish high in omega-3 fatty acids, like salmon and sardines
- ‣ Poultry meat
- ‣ Tofu
- ‣ Cottage cheese
You can also try harmless natural fertility supplements.