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PCOS and Pregnancy

PCOS and Pregnancy

Polycystic ovarian syndrome is a common endocrine disorder that can affect a woman's chances of conceiving. The effects of PCOS on pregnant women are described in this article.
Leena Palande
Last Updated: Dec 31, 2017
Nearly 5 - 10% of women, between the age of 20 - 40 years are affected by polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS). About 30% women may experience the symptoms of this condition, but it is possible that the diagnosis is inconclusive. This syndrome is one of the main causes of infertility in women. Pregnancy is possible in women affected by this condition, but the rate of miscarriage is high in such cases.
PCOS and Pregnancy Complications
Women diagnosed with this condition usually require treatment to improve their chances of pregnancy. It becomes a challenge to stay pregnant with this condition and have a positive obstetric outcome. A pregnant woman who is affected by this condition, is at a higher risk of developing gestational diabetes, miscarriage, and high blood pressure. The risk of gestational diabetes increases in case of women who are obese. Prompt medical checkups are required to detect health problems as early as possible.
The two main causes of a higher rate of miscarriage in women diagnosed with this syndrome is the consequent hormonal imbalance that comes with the condition and placental insufficiency. The increased level of insulin in women diagnosed with this syndrome affects the physiology of blood clotting. Increased level of insulin results in increased clotting between the endometrium (lining of the uterus) and the placenta, which in turn may affect the placenta's ability to provide nutrients to the fetus and to remove its wastes. Such situations may lead to miscarriage.
Thus, if a woman affected with PCOS is pregnant, she is likely to exhibit symptoms like raised levels of insulin and high blood pressure. The diagnosis for this condition is necessary as early as possible for taking immediate treatment measures so as to avoid further complications.
Symptoms
  • Irregular periods
  • Ovarian cysts
  • High blood pressure
  • Higher rate of miscarriage
  • Persistent, severe or late onset acne
  • Difficulty conceiving
  • Obesity
  • Dark skin patches, excessive hair or skin tags
  • Chronic pelvic pain
  • Irregular and/or heavy periods
  • Spotting or staining
Pelvic examination, ultrasound tests, and lab tests to detect the level of glucose, testosterone, and other hormones can help diagnose this condition.
PCOS and Pregnancy Success
At the preliminary onset of a treatment, weight reduction is recommended which naturally enhances spontaneous ovulation. Only 5% of weight reduction can help increase the chances of successful pregnancy.
Several treatment options are available for this condition. These include the use of fertility drugs and surgery, if necessary. Oral contraceptive pills can also help regulate menstruation. These might also help clear acne and prevent excess hair growth.
IVF and ovarian drilling are techniques that are useful to treat PCOS, while anti-androgens are administered to suppress the excess production of male hormones, acne, and unwanted hair growth.
Women affected by this condition may have thyroid problems. Many women may not be aware of this disguised condition. Treating thyroid symptoms helps to bring on a healthy pregnancy. Most of these women conceive without any special fertility treatments. After one has been diagnosed with this syndrome, a drug named metformin might be prescribed to control insulin sensitivity and correct the woman's metabolism, so as to pave way for a successful conception. Experts have claimed that as many as 80 - 90% of women affected by this condition can sustain a pregnancy. Studies have revealed the possibilities of a successful pregnancy in spite of being affected with the syndrome.
PCOS and Pregnancy Tests
PCOS does not affect the pregnancy test outcomes always. The results are uncertain. Women affected by this condition run a high risk of developing endometrial hyperplasia and uterine cancer, if this syndrome is left untreated. They need to control their weight by consuming more fiber-rich food, less sugar, and fewer carbohydrates. Stress relievers like yoga and meditation can serve as a stress deterrent.
With some simple but essential changes, a woman can create a positive environment for conception and pregnancy. The only thing that she should keep in her mind is that with proper precautionary measures, she can easily manage the symptoms, conceive, stay healthy throughout the pregnancy, and have a healthy baby.
Disclaimer: This HerHaleness article is for informative purposes only, and should not be used as a substitute for professional medical advice.