Getting Pregnant With PCOS: All You Need To Know

Every woman desires to have children. However, when someone is diagnosed with polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), the one major concern they have is – will conceiving/getting pregnant be difficult? Well, PCOS does make it harder for a woman to get pregnant. 

However, it doesn’t mean you cannot start a family. It just means there are some factors that make it harder to get pregnant. While there are some steps you can take to get pregnant with PCOS, others include reaching out to an all-women community like MyAva who are dealing with similar issues. The platform offers a PCOS program which improves physical, emotional and mental well-being. By signing-up for the program, you get regular guidance from a personal team of experts, a personalised diet plan, an exercise routine and access to an exclusive PCOS community. 

Before we move to how a woman with PCOS can achieve a successful pregnancy, let us understand why it is harder to get pregnant with this condition. 

Why does PCOS make it Harder to Get Pregnant? 

Usually, PCOS prevents ovulation, which is the release of an egg. Without this, pregnancy cannot occur during that cycle. While there are natural and assisted reproductive treatments to get pregnant, it simply makes the journey longer and difficult. Also, women with PCOS tend to have a higher normal antral follicle count on either one or both their ovaries. The high level of androgens also interfere with the antral follicle growth. These hormonal imbalances slow the release of an egg. Owing to this anovulation occurs. Research suggests that 70-80 percent of women with anovulatory infertility have PCOS (1)

Another theory that has been researched believes that since PCOS causes hormonal imbalances, there is a change in the quality of the cervical liquid. This makes it harder for the sperm to survive. Being overweight is also linked to infertility (2). Though the statistics seem high, most women with PCOS will eventually be able to get pregnant if they manage the condition.

Tips to Get Pregnant with PCOS

Here are a few steps women with PCOS should take in order to achieve a healthy pregnancy:

  • Get your weight and BMI checked

Most women who have PCOS struggle with obesity. This mainly occurs because the condition makes the body process insulin differently. This leads to weight gain. Thus, when you are trying to conceive, meet your gynaecologist or doctor, and ask them to check your Body Mass Index (BMI). They will be able to tell you how much of your body composition is fat and whether you need to shed some extra kilos. Weight loss can improve the chances of getting pregnant naturally. 

  • Download an app to track your period/menstrual cycle

It’s true that women who get their periods regularly have the chance of getting pregnant at least once a month. But since women with PCOS are victims of irregular periods, the chances of pregnancy are reduced. Thus, the best way to monitor your cycle and understand your body better is by downloading an app to track your periods. Such apps have several capabilities and can even tell you when you’re likely to be ovulating. It is important to time your intercourse accurately. If the sperm doesn’t meet the egg at the right time during the cycle, pregnancy cannot occur. 

  • Plan pregnancy at the right age

There are no two thoughts about the fact that fertility and age go hand-in-hand. As women age, fertility declines because of a decrease in egg count and in egg quality. Thus, if you’ve been diagnosed with PCOS, we would suggest not to delay the process. PCOS makes it harder for women to get pregnant. For women under 35, you have 25 percent chances of getting pregnant in the first month of trying. This is why a lot of women even freeze their eggs once they turn 35 so that they can conceive any time without worrying about their egg count or quality. With that being said, having a baby is a big decision. Decide to get pregnant only when you and your partner are completely ready to embrace parenthood.

  • Regularly check your blood sugar levels

Meet your doctor or gynaecologist to make sure your blood sugar levels are balanced. High blood sugar levels can be a hindrance to pregnancy. A diet high in simple carbohydrates and processed foods is said to be the root cause of insulin resistance. Checking your blood sugar regularly will definitely enhance your chances of having a normal and healthy pregnancy. It will also secure your baby’s future health. 

  • Follow an anti-inflammatory diet

If you have PCOS and want to get pregnant, you have to make healthier food choices. Since women with PCOS already have high insulin levels, it is important to consume high-fiber vegetables, lean meat and anti-inflammatory foods. A diet high in refined carbohydrates can make insulin resistance and weight-loss even more difficult. 

If you’re looking to lose weight and balance your hormones, limit the intake of red meat, avoid sugar as much as possible, eat foods rich in omega-3 and consume unsaturated sources of fat such as seeds, olive oil and nuts. Along with maintaining a healthy diet, regular exercise can also improve fertility in women with PCOS(3).

  • Optimise your vitamin levels and pay attention to the pre-conception phase

Three months before you conceive is generally referred to as the pre-conception phase. During this time, making a few lifestyle changes can positively impact your pregnancy. From eating healthy to quitting alcohol and smoking, there are a lot of things you can do to prepare your body for pregnancy. Some supplements you should consume during this time are folic acid, vitamin B12, C, D, E and B6.Prenatal vitamins are crucial to support pregnancy. 

  • Don’t forget to get your partner checked

Lastly, don’t forget that pregnancy is a team activity. Don’t assume that PCOS is the reason you’re not conceiving. For pregnancy to occur naturally, an egg needs to be fertilised by a sperm. But if the sperm is not strong enough, the chances of pregnancy reduce. Therefore, schedule an appointment with your doctor and get your partner’s reproductive hormones checked too.

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