PCOS and Getting Pregnant

Medically reviewed

Medically reviewed by Brenda G., MD | Written by SheCares Editorial Team | Updated: May 24, 2021

Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) is the main cause of infertility among women of childbearing age. It is estimated that roughly 70-80% of women with PCOS have problems getting pregnant, while those who succeed are at a higher risk for pregnancy complications, such as miscarriage.

However, despite the risks and challenges, the majority of women that undergo proper treatment have decent chances of having a baby with PCOS. Keep on reading to learn how you can take proactive steps to make your dream of motherhood possible.

PCOS and Getting Pregnant

Brief Overview of Polycystic Ovary Syndrome

PCOS, sometimes abbreviated PCOD, is an endocrine and metabolic disorder caused by hormonal imbalance. Women with polycystic ovaries have higher levels of androgens, commonly called male hormones, resulting in menstrual abnormalities and excess facial and body hair growth.

The exact causes of PCOS are not known, but certain factors, such as genetics or high insulin levels might play a role. Obesity is a significant risk factor for polycystic ovarian syndrome, and studies have found that over 60% of PCOS women are obese and suffer from insulin resistance.

Effects of PCOS on Pregnancy

Effects of PCOS on Fertility

Polycystic ovary syndrome can lead to infertility due to:

  • Anovulation, which is absence of ovulation because of the inhibited growth and release of an egg from the ovaries.

  • Menstrual cycle irregularities, including absent or irregular periods and dysfunctional uterine bleeding.

  • Cysts in the ovaries, which might lead to overproduction of androgens and cause infertility.

Effects of PCOS on the Mother and Baby

Babies born to mothers with PCOS are often very big, a condition called macrosomia, which often warrants a Cesarean section delivery and puts them at risk for injuries during birth, such as shoulder dystocia. They are also more likely to be treated in a neonatal intensive care unit.

Effects of PCOS on Pregnancy

Risks and Complications

Uncontrolled PCOS might lead to miscarriage, preeclampsia, gestational diabetes, and congenital abnormalities.

Action Plan

Treat PCOS before Pregnancy

Your goal in preconception is to regulate hormonal imbalance and restore ovulation with the following lifestyle habits:

Healthy Diet

A wholesome, balanced diet will help you reach a healthy weight, maintain proper insulin and glucose levels, and nourish all your body's systems. Remember to include:

  • Foods rich in phytoestrogens to help you stabilize hormones and enhance fertility, such as flax seeds, whole grains, and broccoli

  • Foods high in fiber, which decrease insulin resistance and reduce PCOS symptoms, such as kiwi, pears, and leafy green veggies

  • Foods with anti-inflammatory properties, such as tomatoes, berries, and ginger

  • Foods with omega-3 fatty acids to lower androgen levels and regulate menstruation, such as low-mercury fish, such as salmon, and nuts

  • Healthy fats to regulate hormones and increase fertility, such as avocado, nuts, and sacha inchi oil

  • Lean protein to stabilize hormones and enhance ovulation, such as chicken, turkey, and eggs

Adequate Exercise

Along with a healthy diet, a moderate-level physical activity 5 times a week for 30 minutes can promote weight loss, reduce stress, and strengthen your core muscles, all of which can greatly improve your fertility with PCOS.

  • Some great examples for low-impact exercises include swimming, brisk walking, and dancing.

Vitamins and Supplements

  • Prenatal vitamins with folic acid can prevent fetal neural tube defects and support pregnancy.

  • Hormone regulating supplements, such as Macafem, can stabilize hormones and boost your libido.

  • Vitamins B, D, and calcium supplements are needed for proper development of egg and optimal fertility.

  • Inositol supplements can help resolve hormonal imbalance and improve egg quality and menstruation.

Medical Treatment

Sometimes medications or surgery are necessary in order to stimulate follicles in the ovaries to undergo a full ovulation.

Good Habits

  • Quit your addictions to tobacco and alcohol as they might lower your chances of getting pregnant and cause birth defects.

  • Track your menstrual cycle to estimate your ovulation and fertile window.

  • Stay organized and thorough; this will make you feel in control.
Treat PCOS before Pregnancy

Tips for Conceiving with PCOS

  • Have sex four to five days before you ovulate and on the day of ovulation to increase your chances of conceiving.

  • Prevent stress accumulation, anxiety, or depression by finding a new hobby, doing sports, such as yoga, or meditating.

  • Boost your ovulation by following a fertility diet, composed of full-fat dairy and eggs.

  • Some women with PCOS consider fertility treatment, such as in-vitro fertilization (IVF), if they continue having problems getting pregnant naturally.

Tips for Conceiving with PCOS

Manage PCOS during Pregnancy

Being pregnant with PCOS makes your pregnancy high risk, which requires frequent doctor's check-ups and monitoring. Remember to:

  • Prevent excess weight gain during pregnancy by adding only extra 300 calories a day during your pregnancy.

  • Continue with low impact exercises to help your body support a growing baby with more ease.

Manage PCOS during Pregnancy

Key Takeaways

Although polycystic ovary syndrome and pregnancy can be stressful topics for some women, many of them go on to give birth to healthy babies and have their own pregnancy success stories to share. Dedication and commitment to preconception goals, such keeping a well-balanced diet, exercising, and taking supplements, such as Macafem, can not only significantly increase your chances of getting pregnant with PCOS, but also decrease the risk of serious complications. Start implementing these effective practices today and put your first step towards become a mom with PCOS.