How to Get Pregnant with PCOS
Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) is a disorder in the metabolism of a woman’s hormones that affects between 4 and 12 percent of women of childbearing age.
It can lead to obesity, acne, and infertility, which is one of the major features of this condition. However, if you have PCOS, you can get pregnant with medical assistance and by following your doctor’s advice.
When trying to conceive, you would need to make some lifestyle changes to improve your chances of conception. Your doctor may recommend weight loss through a low-calorie diet and moderate exercise if you’re overweight or obese. Exercise will allow your body to produce insulin, stabilize your hormones, and keep you at a healthy weight. You should also consume more vegetables and make sure you get enough protein in your diet.
PCOS interferes with the body’s regulation of insulin much like in a person with diabetes. In order to stay healthy during pregnancy, you have to eat foods rich in protein and fiber. Conversely, you should avoid foods that are processed or contain added sugar and take your prenatal vitamins as recommended to make sure your body and baby get the proper vitamins and minerals that they need.
Your doctor will schedule follow-up visits, especially during the early stages and may recommend that you stop taking medications that can reduce your chances of conceiving or harm the fetus. It is therefore important that you visit your doctor as soon as possible if you’re planning to have a baby.
You need to track your cycles since you probably have long and/or irregular menstrual cycles. You can use an ovulation test or a basal body temperature thermometer to pinpoint your ovulation days and determine your fertility window. By engaging in regular intercourse during your fertile window, you are sure to increase your chances of getting pregnant.
During follow-up, your physician might need to prescribe certain medications such as metformin, oral contraceptives, or Clomid® (clomiphene citrate) to help you get a regular period or control metabolic disorders. In addition to controlling disorders of glucose metabolism, metformin can improve irregular periods. Clomiphene citrate is used in women who are suffering with fertility problems. It will help stimulate the body to produce hormones and allow these hormones to start ovulation. If a woman is not getting her period at all, the doctor may put her on medroxyprogesterone (Provera®).
Your doctor may recommend other options, such as in vitro fertilization (IVF), to help you get pregnant. IVF would be a good option if other methods do not work. If you do not produce good quality eggs, you will be advised by your treating physician to consider using donor eggs. You should ask your physician any questions that you may have regarding the procedure since donor egg usage is not devoid of complications.
Laparoscopic methods can be used to help a woman conceive on her own. During this procedure, the doctor inserts a camera into the woman’s body by making a small incision on her abdomen to help him see the follicles on the surface of the ovaries. The doctor then burns holes into the ovaries (also known as ovarian drilling), leading to the destruction of the testosterone producing tissue of the ovary. This strategy is effective in inducing ovulation in women with PCOS who are resistant to clomiphene citrate.
Once you get pregnant, you need to be under the care of a medical professional since women with PCOS are three times more likely to have a miscarriage than those without this condition. A doctor will recommend that you take metformin during your pregnancy to decrease your chances of having a miscarriage.
You must be vigilant during your entire pregnancy because you are at a higher risk for complications. You also need to be aware that you are more susceptible to various conditions, including pregnancy-induced high blood pressure, pre-eclampsia, and gestational diabetes. In most cases, a woman with PCOS will need to have a C-section to decrease their chances of obstetrical complications. You can discuss your delivery method with your doctor and get all the information needed so you can properly prepare for it.
While you can have trouble getting pregnant, it is possible to conceive with PCOS. Visit your doctor for tips and information on how to conceive and how to take care of yourself when you become pregnant.