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How Does PCOS Affect Pregnancy? Exploring the Connection


Incase this is the first article you have stumbled upon on PCOS, you may want to read Understanding PCOS, Causes and Symptoms. Marriage brought me the bliss of motherhood at a young age, and welcoming my first son into the world felt as effortless as breathing. Yet, amidst the joy, the demands of motherhood engulfed me, leaving little room for self-care. It wasn't long before the tranquility shattered and a daunting reality emerged – PCOS. 18 months later, this new term invaded my life, a time when Google couldn't provide solace to every query. My doctor became my beacon through the storm, guiding me through the uphill battle of conceiving my second son. With symptoms like excess weight gain, mood swings, and irregular periods, I initially brushed them aside as postpartum or childbirth-related issues. Pregnancy and PCOS , read on.





Pregnant
PCOS and Pregnancy


PCOS messes with the usual period schedule and can make it tough to conceive. About 70 to 80 percent of women with PCOS face fertility issues. It can also up the chances of pregnancy complications.

Women with PCOS are twice as likely to have their baby early and face a higher risk of miscarriage, high blood pressure, and gestational diabetes.

But there's hope! Fertility treatments can help with ovulation, making pregnancy possible. Plus, shedding some pounds and keeping blood sugar in check can boost the odds of a healthy pregnancy.


Common medical treatments: Pregnancy and PCOS


Birth control pills and other medications can help regulate the menstrual cycle and treat PCOS symptoms like hair growth and acne. As much as the below information is available online, its a MUST to seek guidance of your gynaecologist and not self medicating.



Medication for PCOS
Medication


Birth control

Taking progestin daily can:

  • restore a normal hormone balance

  • regulate ovulation

  • relieve symptoms like excess hair growth

  • protect against endometrial cancer

These hormones come in a pill, patch, or vaginal ring.


Metformin

Metformin (Glucophage, Fortamet) is a drug used to treat type 2 diabetes. It also treats PCOS by improving insulin levels.

Studies show that metformin helps while making changes to diet and exercise improves weight loss, lowers blood sugar, and restores a normal menstrual cycle better than changes to diet and exercise alone.


Clomiphene

Clomiphene (Clomid) is a fertility drug that can help women with PCOS get pregnant.

It’s important to note that, as you’re discussing family planning, to keep in mind that clomiphene increases the chances for twins and other multiple births.


Hair removal medications

A few treatments can help get rid of unwanted hair or stop it from growing.

Eflornithine (Vaniqa) cream is a prescription drug that slows hair growth. Laser hair removal and electrolysis can get rid of unwanted hair on your face and body.


Surgery

Surgery can be an option to improve fertility if other treatments don’t work. Ovarian drilling is a procedure that makes tiny holes in the ovary with a laser or thin heated needle to restore normal ovulation. Once again, the above information is good to know, and gives a ray of hope that pregnancy with PCOS is possible, just like me. I conceived while my ovaries were cystic, following the advice of my doctor at every step. Self medication is never an option.

When to see a doctor

When should you visit a doctor?

- If your periods have gone missing and you’re not expecting.

- If you notice PCOS symptoms like excess hair growth on your face or body.

- If you've been trying to conceive for over a year with no success.

- If you're experiencing signs of diabetes, such as extreme thirst or hunger, blurry vision, or unexplained weight loss.


Don't wait for a whole year if your periods are irregular or absent and you're aiming for pregnancy. Seek evaluation from a specialist sooner.

Remember, irregular periods don't prevent pregnancy on their own. Even with PCOS, pregnancy can still happen. It's wise to use contraception if you're not ready for pregnancy, despite irregular periods.

For those with PCOS, regular check-ins with your primary care doctor are important. You'll need routine tests to monitor for diabetes, high blood pressure, and potential complications.





In Summary


PCOS can disrupt a woman’s menstrual cycles and make it harder to get pregnant. High levels of male hormones also lead to unwanted symptoms like hair growth on the face and body.

Weight loss can treat PCOS symptoms and improve the odds of getting pregnant. Diet and aerobic exercise are two effective ways to lose weight.

Medications are an option if lifestyle changes don’t work. Birth control pills and metformin can both restore more normal menstrual cycles and relieve PCOS symptoms.

Lifestyle interventions are the first treatments doctors recommend for PCOS, and they often work well.

Women with PCOS often experience mental health challenges such as anxiety, depression, and reduced levels of body appreciation. I have gone through all of the above and it can be draining at times. Stay Positive, Stay Calm and love yourself a little more.




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