Pregnancy is a beautiful part of every woman’s life. However, PCOS impacts 1 in 5 women in India, impacting their fertility and reproductive health, especially during child-bearing ages.
After being diagnosed with PCOS, its impact on one’s fertility is the first thought. Most people assume that pregnancy is not possible with PCOS. But is it correct?
Some women with PCOS may take a little longer to get pregnant, but it’s not impossible. The sad part is that most women are unaware that they have PCOS until they face difficulties getting pregnant.
PCOS – An Overview
PCOS, or Polycystic ovarian syndrome, is a hormonal and metabolic disorder that involves the disruption of ovarian function. It is due to irregular periods and increased secretion of male hormones, testosterone. It will prevent the expected growth of the uterine lining and release of the eggs, causing cyst formation in the ovary.
With PCOS, eggs do not get released during ovulation, decreasing the probability of natural pregnancy. However, even though it makes pregnancy and childbirth difficult, it is possible to attain parenthood with some preventive measures.
PCOS and Pregnancy – The Connection
Having PCOS does not mean that you are infertile. Women who follow medical guidance and lifestyle modifications can bolster their fertility.
Read more: How to Get Pregnant with PCOS?
A timely and proper diagnosis can help women combat the problem more healthily, ensuring to remain physically and emotionally stable. Here’s how PCOS can affect your pregnancy,
Women who are obese or have the excess weight due to PCOS find it difficult to achieve pregnancy. In addition, the extra weight can also lead to other health complications.
PCOS involves two hormonal imbalances – excess androgen and excess insulin level. Androgen, a male hormone, causes excess hair growth and acne, while insulin resistance causes high insulin levels. 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 release, leading to fertility issues.
PCOS and Pregnancy Complications
While affecting fertility, PCOS makes women more susceptible to various complications as well such as:
Read more: Can I Get Pregnant with PCOS?
Preeclampsia is a condition when a sudden onset of high blood pressure occurs after 20 weeks of pregnancy. It can affect other organs, such as the kidney and the liver. If left unnoticed, it can harm both mother and the fetus.
Miscarriage or early pregnancy loss is more likely in women with PCOS. It is due to the excess male hormones and high insulin levels that affect the uterus.
Women with PCOS are likely to develop treatable diabetes during pregnancy. However, if you do not address the high blood sugar, it might lead to stillbirth.
Read more: Gestational Diabetes Diet: Foods to Eat and Avoid
Due to high blood pressure, PCOS may make women deliver the baby before term, which is before 37 weeks of gestation. Premature babies can face various health concerns, including breathing and heart problems.
If the woman with PCOS delivers a baby girl, the baby can also have PCOS. In addition, research shows that daughters of women with PCOS have a high chance of being diagnosed with the syndrome.
The HealthifyMe Note
Obese or overweight women may have a higher chance of PCOS, leading to pregnancy-related issues. The syndrome also leads to diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure and stroke. Therefore it is vital to follow a diet rich in whole grains, fruits, vegetables, and lentils. The thumb rule is to go for a low-carb diet, a fair quantity of protein-rich foods, good fats, and adequate fibre.
Lifestyle Changes to Ensure a Healthy Pregnancy with PCOS
The first step in improving a woman’s chances of pregnancy with PCOS and having a healthy baby is adapting to a healthy lifestyle.
Here’s a list of easy and practical tips to help you overcome the PCOS challenge.
To increase the chance of getting pregnant, switching to a PCOS-friendly diet is critical.
A well-balanced and nutritious diet, including fresh fruits, whole grains, green vegetables, lean proteins, beans and nuts, can help a healthy pregnancy by maintaining normal hormone levels.
On the other hand, avoid eating red meat, cheese, milk, sugar and carb-rich foods and fried foods, which worsen the symptoms.
A simple exercise regime can help aid in living an active life, especially for women with PCOS. It can help you to manage excess weight and release happy hormones and endorphins to give you a relaxed sensation.
Read more: Exercise for PCOS: Plan of Action and Dietary Habits
In addition, regular exercise can facilitate proper menstrual cycle regulation by controlling the concerning hormones.
While you are struggling to get pregnant, stress can affect your mental health. Research shows that stress can exacerbate PCOS symptoms in pregnancy.
Hence it is essential to de-stress your mind by developing healthy hobbies. Practising yoga or meditation also has a positive impact 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 critical to avoid tobacco and alcohol to acquire beneficial results.
A PCOS diagnosis is not the end of the world. Even though women with PCOS struggle with fertility, having PCOS doesn’t mean one cannot get pregnant.
It is just a label indicating that you have to experience a specific factor that hinders your pregnancy. Hence it is crucial to keep one’s BMI, BMR, and calorie intake in check, consume a balanced diet and engage in exercise.
In a nutshell, consulting your nutritionist and making specific lifestyle changes will optimise the chance of having a healthy pregnancy.
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