Pregnancy is a beautiful part of every woman’s life. However, PCOS affects 1 in 5 women in India, affecting their fertility and reproductive health, especially during their childbearing age.
After being diagnosed with PCOS, its effect on fertility is the first thought. Most people assume that pregnancy is not possible with PCOS. But is this true?
Some women with PCOS may take a little longer to conceive, but it’s not impossible. The sad part is that most women don’t realize they have PCOS until they experience difficulties conceiving.
PCOS – an overview
PCOS, or PCOS, is a hormonal and metabolic disorder that involves disruption of ovarian function. This is due to irregular menstruation and increased secretion of the male hormone testosterone. It will prevent the expected growth of the lining of the uterus and the release of eggs, which will cause the formation of a cyst in the ovaries.
With PCOS, eggs are not released during ovulation, which reduces the likelihood of a natural pregnancy. However, although it makes pregnancy and childbirth difficult, it is possible to achieve parenthood with some preventive measures.
PCOS and Pregnancy – The Connection
Having PCOS does not mean you are infertile. Women who follow medical guidelines and lifestyle modifications can enhance their fertility.
Read more: How to get pregnant with PCOS?
Proper and timely diagnosis can help women fight the problem more healthily, ensuring that they remain physically and emotionally stable. Here is how PCOS can affect your pregnancy,
Women who are obese or overweight due to PCOS find it difficult to achieve pregnancy. In addition, being overweight can also lead to other health complications.
PCOS involves two hormonal imbalances – hyperandrogenism and excess insulin. Androgen, a male hormone, causes excess hair growth and acne, while insulin resistance causes insulin levels to rise. It can interfere with ovulation and fertility.
An irregular menstrual cycle is a common sign of PCOS. Due to the lack of proper ovulation, the eggs do not mature or are released, which leads to fertility problems.
PCOS and pregnancy complications
While affecting fertility, PCOS also makes women more susceptible to various complications such as:
Read more: Can I get pregnant with PCOS?
Pre-eclampsia is a condition in which there is a sudden onset of high blood pressure after 20 weeks of pregnancy. It can affect other organs, such as the kidneys and liver. If left unnoticed, it can harm the mother and fetus.
Miscarriage or early pregnancy loss is more likely in women with PCOS. This is due to the increase in male hormones and high levels of insulin affecting the uterus.
Women with PCOS are more likely to develop reversible diabetes during pregnancy. However, if you do not treat high blood sugar, it can lead to stillbirth.
Read more: Pregnancy diabetes diet: Foods to eat and avoid
Birth before expected time
Due to high blood pressure, PCOS may make a woman deliver the baby prematurely, i.e. before 37 weeks of pregnancy. Premature babies can face various health problems, including breathing and heart problems.
Inheritance of PCOS
If a woman with PCOS gives birth to a baby girl, the baby could also have PCOS. In addition, research shows that daughters of women with PCOS have a high chance of developing the syndrome.
Overweight or obese women may have a higher chance of developing PCOS, which leads to pregnancy-related problems. The syndrome also leads to diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure and stroke. Therefore, it is necessary to follow a diet rich in whole grains, fruits, vegetables and lentils. The rule of thumb is to eat a diet low in carbohydrates and a reasonable amount of foods high in protein, good fats and adequate fibre.
Lifestyle changes to ensure a healthy pregnancy with PCOS
The first step in improving a woman’s chances of getting pregnant with PCOS and having a healthy baby is to adapt to a healthy lifestyle.
Here is a list of easy and practical tips to help you overcome the challenge of PCOS.
To increase the chance of pregnancy, switching to a PCOS-friendly diet is crucial.
A well-balanced and nutritious diet, including fresh fruits, whole grains, vegetables, lean protein, beans and nuts, can aid in a healthy pregnancy by maintaining normal hormone levels.
On the other hand, avoid eating red meat, cheese, milk, sugar, carbohydrate-rich foods, and fried foods, as they make symptoms worse.
A simple exercise regimen can help lead an active life, especially for women with PCOS. It can help you control excess weight and release happy hormones and endorphins to give you a sense of relaxation.
Read more: Exercise for PCOS: Action Plan and Dietary Habits
In addition, regular exercise can facilitate the regulation of the menstrual cycle by controlling the hormones involved.
As you struggle to conceive, stress can take its toll on your mental health. Research shows that stress can worsen PCOS symptoms during pregnancy.
Hence, it is essential to de-stress by developing healthy hobbies. Practicing yoga or meditation also has a positive effect in such situations.
Quit smoking and drinking
Smoking and drinking can negatively affect your efforts to achieve a healthy pregnancy, especially when you have PCOS. Therefore, it is necessary to avoid tobacco and alcohol to get beneficial results.
Being diagnosed with PCOS isn’t the end of the world. Although women with PCOS may experience fertility, having PCOS does not mean that you cannot become pregnant.
It is just a label indicating that you must try a certain factor that hinders pregnancy. Hence, it is crucial to keep your body mass index, basal metabolic rate, calorie intake under control, and a balanced diet and exercise.
In short, consulting a dietitian and making certain lifestyle changes will improve the chance of having a healthy pregnancy.