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PCOS and Pregnancy – What you should be aware of?

Posted: June 23, 2021

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PCOS is known to affect 6-15% of women of childbearing age & women who are diagnosed may face difficulties in becoming pregnant. Read our blog to know more.

PCOS and Pregnancy – What you should be aware of

A polycystic ovarian syndrome is known to affect 6-15% of women of childbearing age. A woman who is diagnosed with PCOS may face difficulties in becoming pregnant. Even if pregnancy occurs, there is a risk of complications during pregnancy, labor, and delivery. PCOS can also cause the woman to develop preeclampsia, gestational diabetes, and have a larger baby. A woman might also have premature delivery which can lead to a difficult delivery or cesarean delivery. Up to 50% of women who have PCOS may never get diagnosed, hence it is important to be aware of the symptoms of PCOS and reach out to a pregnancy doctor at the earliest.

Risks in pregnancy for women with PCOS

PCOS can make it difficult for women to get pregnant due to the hormonal imbalances caused by the condition. Women with PCOS are more likely to be obese and almost 14% of these women require reproductive technology to get pregnant. Women with PCOS face an increased risk of developing gestational diabetes, pregnancy-induced hypertension, preeclampsia, and preterm delivery. Preeclampsia is a dangerous condition for the mom and the baby. Women who develop preeclampsia may have to be monitored closely by a doctor during pregnancy. A doctor will discuss the risks and benefits involved with regard to the timing of the delivery of your baby based on the baby’s gestational age and the severity of your symptoms. Maintaining a healthy weight before getting pregnant can help avoid complications in pregnancy.

Risks for the baby

PCOS can lead to risks for the mom-to-be as well as the baby. Some of the risks the baby could face include –

  • Preterm birth
  • Large for gestational age
  • Miscarriage
  • Lower Apgar score

Gestational diabetes could lead to a larger-than-average baby which could cause complications during delivery. Larger babies are at a risk for having shoulder dystocia which means the baby’s shoulder could get stuck during labor.  Female babies have a 50% chance of also having PCOS if their moms have it. Other complications include a cesarean delivery as the baby might be larger than the average size.

Getting pregnant with PCOS

Symptoms of PCOS often go unnoticed and hence some women might not realize they have the condition until they try to conceive. Women with PCOS may ovulate less frequently or regularly and can be prone to miscarriages, which is why PCOS can lead to infertility. For those who are trying to conceive, PCOS can make it difficult to predict the fertile days of the menstrual cycle. If ovulation is occurring once in a few months, it can take longer to conceive. However, Ovulation can still happen even if it cannot be predicted.  Women who have been trying to conceive for a year and have had no results should ideally talk to a pregnancy doctor about getting tested for PCOS. A doctor can help you develop a plan for pregnancy with strategies that include losing weight, balancing sugar levels and maintaining a healthy diet. In some cases, doctors may also prescribe medications that can increase the chance of pregnancy. In some cases, fertility medications alone will help with the pregnancy. If that doesn’t work, an IVF treatment might be required.

Here are some medicines to consider after consulting with your gynecologist:

  • Metformin to balance insulin levels
  • Clomiphene citrate  to help balance estrogen levels
  • Birth control pills to balance estrogen and testosterone levels (before beginning fertility treatment)
  • Fertility medications to jump-start the ovaries to send out more eggs

Conclusion

It is important to understand PCOS and its impact on pregnancy. Talk to your doctor in case of concerns, follow a healthy diet and take prescribed medication. Speak with a professional for a pregnancy-safe exercise and diet program, and take medication as directed. Weight loss can increase the chance of ovulation and having regular periods and sometimes can be enough to restart ovulation. Maintaining a healthy weight is key to reducing the risk of pregnancy complications. A nutritionist or healthcare provider can help you with achieving weight loss in a way that is safe and effective. These are the recommended ways of controlling PCOS during pregnancy and to have a safe and healthy pregnancy.

Pic Credit: Via Canva Pro

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