PCOS known as Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome is a condition which affects roughly around 15 percent of women who are in their childbearing age. If you have PCOS, it may be difficult for you to conceive. Women with PCOS have complications in their pregnancy like a higher chance of miscarriage, gestational diabetes and higher chances of having a premature baby.
Symptoms of PCOS
PCOS is a hormonal imbalance where the female body starts producing too much androgen or the male hormone. It often goes unnoticed and the diagnosis happens very late. The symptoms are:
- Cyst type formation on the ovaries.
- Insulin resistance
- Increased testosterone levels which lead to excessive hair growth, baldness etc.
- Weight gain
- Skin tags near the armpit and neck area
- Pain in the pelvis
- Depression and anxiety
- Sleep apnea
As of now, there is no specific line of treatment for PCOS but, some medication like birth control pills and fertility drugs can help curb the symptoms.
PCOS and pregnancy
PCOS creates havoc with a woman’s menstrual cycle leading to fertility issues. This in turn, makes it harder to get pregnant. Women with PCOS are at high risk for premature deliveries as compared to the ones who do not have this condition. Though, with some treatment and a few lifestyle changes, it is possible to conceive.
Treating PCOS to increase chances of pregnancy
The most important changes, to begin with, are lifestyle changes wherein you should maintain a normal weight, avoid processed food as much as possible and exercise.
A few studies have found that 30 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise at least three days a week can help women with PCOS lose weight. Losing weight with exercise also improves ovulation and insulin levels.
Medical treatments like birth control pills can help regularize the menstrual cycle and reduce facial hair growth as well.
Possible risks for PCOS women during pregnancy
PCOS can make pregnancy a difficult task due to the hormonal imbalances. Even if they conceive, there could be a list of complications that could occur during pregnancy which may stay on for a lifetime like:
- Insulin resistance
- Type 2 diabetes
- High cholesterol
- High blood pressure
- Heart disease
This condition also causes problems for the newborn as well. It requires more additional monitoring for the mother and the baby. The potential risks with PCOS for the baby include:
- Premature birth
- large for gestational age
- lower Apgar score
If your child is a baby girl then there is an increased chance of her developing PCOS later in her life.
Sometimes, women don’t realize that they have PCOS until they try to conceive. But, if you have been trying to conceive for over a year and it is still not happening, then you should consult your doctor. There is a likelihood that you are suffering from PCOS. You need not be disappointed though. Your doctor will chalk out a plan and if you maintain a healthy weight and lifestyle you might just increase your chances of pregnancy even if you have PCOS.
Once you deliver, it is advisable to breastfeed your child as this will be beneficial to both of you. Do not worry; it is safe to breastfeed even if you are on insulin medication. Women who have gestational diabetes may develop type 2 diabetes later in life but, breastfeeding helps in lowering that risk. Breastfeeding has a number of benefits both the mother and child. So, it is best that you continue breastfeeding your child even if you have PCOS as your baby will need the nutrition derived from breastmilk.
Also read: Is It Possible To Get Pregnant With PCOS?