Getting Pregnant with PCOS: There’s Still Hope
Polycystic ovary syndrome, also referred to as PCOS, is a condition that largely impacts the ovarian function of your body. Each month, about five fluid-filled sacs forms on your ovaries — these are called follicles. Between 15 and 20 eggs mature in your follicles every month. However, only one of the eggs reaches maturity during the follicular phase of your menstrual cycle (about 13 days). When you ovulate, the follicle needs to burst to release the egg.
Ovarian cysts are due to follicles not bursting, or bursting and reclosing. The polycystic ovary syndrome is when an ovary develops twice as many follicles as normally, most of which enlarge but don’t burst to release the egg. Usually, PCOS happens when hormones are thrown out of balance, causing ovulation to occur irregularly.
The thing is, PCOS can greatly interfere with your efforts of conceiving. As a matter of fact, women with polycystic ovary syndrome have difficulty getting pregnant. Some ask, “Can you get pregnant with PCOS?” In short, yes — you can, and here’s how.
Before we venture any further, let’s analyze the causes of polycystic ovary syndrome. Most of the time, there are several factors that play a huge role in the development of this condition. PCOS has been shown to run in families, so genetics is also involved. If someone in your family had polycystic ovary syndrome, there’s a chance that you’ll have it too.
However, polycystic ovary syndrome is usually the result of higher insulin levels in your body. Overweight women, as well as women who have become less sensitive to the effects of insulin, usually have much higher insulin levels as compared to normal, healthy women. That’s because more insulin is needed to regulate blood sugar levels.
When there’s more insulin than it should, the hormones that make your menstrual cycle run smoothly will be affected. This, in turn, causes more luteinizing hormone (LH) to be produced as compared to follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH). As a result, more testosterone is produced than estrogen — and where there’s more testosterone, ovulation can’t occur.
Women with polycystic ovary syndrome experience irregular periods as a result of irregular ovulation. The tendency to put weight can aggravate the problem, leading to PCOS. A few symptoms you can expect include:
Women with PCOS experience different symptoms, so diagnosing the condition can be difficult without adequate tests. Sometimes, thyroid dysfunction may cause symptoms that are similar to polycystic ovary syndrome, so your doctor will want to perform the following tests to determine if your problem is PCOS:
Your medical and menstrual cycle history will also help him determine if you’re having polycystic ovary syndrome.
Since PCOS is largely influenced by weight gain, one of the first things you should do is to consult with a nutritionist and get a personalized nutrition plan to help you reach a healthy body weight and body mass index (BMI). It’s enough to shed the extra pounds to improve hormone balance and start ovulating regularly again. If you ovulate regularly, then you can get pregnant.
Talking to an endocrinologist will also help you determine what’s to be done in case of your hormone imbalances.
If losing weight doesn’t help, you can explore other ways to cope with PCOS symptoms and get pregnant. These include:
Reaching a healthy body weight and BMI is necessary for laparoscopic ovarian drilling to be successful. If you haven’t already, then your doctor will ask you to.
If you have PCOS but managed to get pregnant, you need to take extra care of yourself, as this condition increases the risk of weight-related issues that might interfere with the development of your baby.
Regular visits to your GP or ob-gyn can help you monitor your pregnancy and see if any complications arise. According to BabyCentre, “Being a healthy weight when you conceive can reduce these risks.” Try to eat as healthy as possible, and develop a healthy exercise program so you can reach a good body mass index.
Read also: Trying to Get Pregnant? Find Out the Answers
Has PCOS been an obstacle for you and your partner? How have you overcome the problem? We want to hear your story, so use the comment box to share it with the rest of the world!