PCOS and Pregnancy: Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS) is a common health condition for women caused by hormonal imbalance. It is one of the leading causes of infertility in women, impacting about 5-13% of those in their reproductive age. PCOS causes the body to produce abnormal quantities of male hormones (androgens). This hormonal imbalance can impact the ovaries, leading to complications in menstruation and pregnancy. In females with this condition, eggs may develop incorrectly or they may not be released during ovulation; this decreases the probability of conceiving naturally. Even if ovulation takes place and a mature egg is released, hormonal imbalance can make it difficult for an implanted embryo to grow in the uterus.Also Read - Covid 19 Booster Shot : WHO Recommends Booster Shots Of Covid Vaccine For Immunocompromised, Watch Video
Signs of PCOS
The common features of PCOS in women are as follows: Also Read - Kids Can Spread The Emerging Variants of COVID-19, Confirms New Study
- Irregular menstruation
- Gaining weight
- Oily skin or acne
- Excessive body hair and in rare cases, facial hair
- Thinning hair and hair loss from the head
- Insulin resistance
- Numerous cysts on the ovaries were seen during an ultrasound scan
PCOS can affect your pregnancy
It is possible to get pregnant even if a person has PCOS, however, it may increase the risk of pregnancy and make women vulnerable to certain complications. The following are some of the significant complications that put future pregnancies at risk: Also Read - 2021 Covid Outbreak in Delhi Shows Herd Immunity Against Delta Variant Difficult: Study
- Difficulty in conceiving naturally: One of the blaring symptoms of PCOS is irregular menses. Couples may find it difficult to conceive naturally as ovulation may not occur on schedule, and often, an egg may not be released.
- Miscarriage or an early loss of pregnancy: Women with PCOS have been found to be three times more likely than women without PCOS to miscarry in the early months of pregnancy. According to a study on Pregnancy in polycystic ovary syndrome (1), women with PCOS are 30-50 percent more likely than women without the disorder to have a miscarriage; a miscarriage may be probable in 10-15 percent of women without PCOS.
- Gestational Diabetes: People with PCOS may are typically insulin resistant and have high blood glucose levels. This can cause gestational diabetes that is found in women who are pregnant. It is treatable and not harmful to the mother or the foetus as long as it is kept under control. Babies born to women who suffered from gestational diabetes can have low blood sugar and respiratory difficulties. Gestational diabetes can increase the probability of developing type 2 diabetes for both mother and child later in life.
- Pre-eclampsia: Certain studies suggest that some patients with PCOS may develop pre-eclampsia which is characterised by high blood pressure which develops during pregnancy typically after 5 months of pregnancy. The mother’s kidneys, liver, and brain can be affected by a fast rise in blood pressure. Pre-eclampsia can develop into eclampsia if left untreated. Seizures and organ damage are possible consequences of eclampsia.
- Pre-term birth: Research has found that women with PCOS are more likely to deliver a baby before term. In most cases, it is due to preterm labour and high blood pressure.
- Cesarean or C-section delivery: As a result of pregnancy issues connected with PCOS, such as high blood pressure during pregnancy, women with PCOS are more likely to undergo cesarean sections during their pregnancies. Recovering from surgery can take longer with C-section delivery.
How can you get pregnant with PCOS?
While it is possible to get pregnant with PCOS naturally, a number of couples face difficulties. Assisted reproductive techniques such as in-vitro fertilisation (IVF) poses as a medical solution to such couples. Here, women are given gonadotropin injections to initiate the process of egg maturation in their ovaries. Matured eggs are then collected by a method called ovum pick-up and fertilised with a single sperm. Following this, the healthiest embryo is implanted in the uterus and pregnancy is confirmed with a beta-human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG) test.
Factors that can boost pregnancy
In order to increase the odds of becoming pregnant, it becomes crucial to adopt a healthy lifestyle, which includes keeping one’s weight in check, eating a balanced diet, and avoiding alcohol and smoking. Obese or overweight women are more prevalent to failed pregnancies due to PCOS. Additionally, eating foods that does not increase one’s blood glucose levels such as whole-grain foods, fruits, vegetables, beans, lentils, and balanced quantities of proteins help.
While it is recommended that one make a move to a healthy lifestyle, hormonal imbalance can be corrected with the use of certain medications. Females intending to become pregnant should visit their doctor for a preconception health check in order to get the correct kind of information and support plan.
(Inputs by Dr. Kshitiz Murdia, CEO & Co-Founder and Indira IVF)