Fertility Blog

I Have PCOS – Can I Get Pregnant?

Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) is a common endocrine condition for women of reproductive age (12-45). One in every ten Symptoms of PCOS include abnormalities in a woman’s menstrual cycle (skipped or long periods), acne, obesity, pelvic pain, ovarian cysts and excessive hair growth. Causes for the disorder are not yet known, but if PCOS runs in your family, you will likely have a greater chance of having it. Fortunately, PCOS can be treated, but treatment is only used to manage symptoms as there is no cure for the disorder.

In addition to irregular menstrual cycles and other PCOS symptoms, the disorder is well known as a cause for infertility in women (September is actually national PCOS Awareness Month). Women with PCOS face the possibility of infertility, miscarriage, and other health issues during pregnancy

Women with PCOS are three times more likely to suffer a miscarriage, or early pregnancy loss, than women without the disorder. A PCOS diagnosis also indicates that a woman is more likely to experience:

  • Gestational diabetes: diabetes that only pregnant women have. It is treatable, but needs to be monitored and controlled in order for a healthy pregnancy and birth.

  • Preeclampsia: high blood pressure after the twentieth week of pregnancy which can affect a woman’s brain and liver function. If left untreated, preeclampsia can turn into eclampsia, which is very dangerous for mother and baby.

  • Premature birth

  • Cesarean section (C-section)

Although PCOS may not affect a woman’s ability to achieve a pregnancy, it can affect her ability to maintain a healthy pregnancy. In order to help prepare your body prior to pregnancy, your physician will recommend that you undergo lifestyle modifications (if needed), such as quitting smoking, exercising, improving your diet, and even taking certain medications to reduce symptoms.

Women with PCOS are advised to speak with their doctor when they are thinking about starting a family in order to determine if a plan for lifestyle changes or treatment is necessary.