21 Mar Getting Pregnant with PCOS
If you’ve been diagnosed with polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS), odds are you’ve read the phrase, “PCOS is one of the leading causes of female infertility in the United States.” And, if you’re planning to have a baby, that single phrase is enough to make you panic.
We’re here to put your mind at ease.
Women With PCOS Can (and do!) Get Pregnant
Women with PCOS get pregnant all the time. In fact, many women with PCOS never even know they have it because so many doctors miss the telltale signs or haven’t been properly educated and trained to diagnose the condition.
And, because PCOS is so treatable, starting with lifestyle changes and mild/moderate weight loss, women who do need fertility support have higher success rates than many of their fellow women with infertility diagnoses.
The key is to do all you can to minimize the symptoms of PCOS, striving for healthy weight targets and hormone balance, and to seek support from an infertility specialist.
Start With Lifestyle Changes
Age matters when you’re getting pregnant. If you are 35-years old or older, and you’re trying to get pregnant with PCOS, we recommend meeting with a fertility specialist right away. Time is of the essence to take advantage of your egg quality before age takes a further toll.
If you are 34 years old or younger, start with basic lifestyle changes and see what happens. While our post, Preparing Your Body for Pregnancy, is written for the general female population, all of the recommendations are 100% true for women with PCOS.
- Schedule a preconception appointment with your gynecologist to create a personalized fertility plan
- Strive to maintain a healthy BMI
- Stick to an anti-inflammatory diet, which can naturally reduce PCOS symptoms (speak to your doctor about your target carb intake, which may direct you towards a South Beach or Revised Adkins type diet)
- Exercise daily (reduces inflammation, reduces insulin resistance, and supports healthy weight goals)
- Stop smoking and drinking ASAP
Time Sexual Intercourse for Conception
If you have PCOS and have irregular periods, healthy lifestyle changes may support the return of a more predictable menstrual cycle. This also means you are ovulating more regularly, increasing your chances of getting pregnant.
Read Getting Ready for Pregnancy, which discusses timing intercourse at home. Ovulation Predictor kits are great for helping you to determine your most optimal fertility window each month. It’s always good to have sex every other day leading up to ovulation, in addition to the day you ovulate, to maximize the number of sperm ready to greet the mature egg.
Metformin and Other Medication Options
If natural lifestyle changes aren’t quite enough to get you ovulating again, speak to your physician about Metformin or other medications that can help. Some of the medications used to treat pre-type 2 and type 2 diabetes, such as Metformin, can also support the return of a healthy menstrual cycle, aka: ovulation.
Get Your Partner On Board
Yes, PCOS is linked to infertility, but so is poor sperm quality. Get your husband onboard with the healthy lifestyle changes to increase his fertility as well. It can make an exponential difference. You might be the one with PCOS but, unless your partner has had his sperm tested, that doesn’t mean there isn’t more to think about or treat.
Read, Boosting Male Fertility, to learn more about that topic, and consider having your partner’s sperm tested to make sure there aren’t male infertility factors at work that you don’t know about.
Consult with a Fertility Specialist
If you have tried to get pregnant for six consecutive months with PCOS, or you are 35-years old or more, we recommend scheduling a consultation with a fertility specialist. PCOS is unique because if you aren’t ovulating, all those unreleased eggs are sitting there waiting to mature – which can make you more abundantly pregnant than desired if fertility treatments aren’t managed properly.
Fertility specialists work carefully with PCOS patients when prescribing fertility medication to avoid creating high-risk multiple pregnancies. Odds are Clomid will be your first step on the fertility journey, but still need to be carefully monitored to prioritize one healthy baby at a time. Never use injectable fertility medications unless you’re working with a fertility specialist who can carefully monitor your doses with respect to your specific diagnosis and medical history.
Are you having a hard time getting pregnant with PCOS? Contact Virginia Fertility & IVF to schedule a consultation.