PCOS And Pregnancy
Note: To explain about PCOS and pregnancy I’ve enlisted the help of a good friend who has both knowledge and experience. This page is accurate and helpful for anyone wanting to learn about PCOS and pregnancy and has been kindly contributed by a lady who has suffered with PCOS for a long time, but is also now expecting a baby.
For the majority of women, trying to conceive is a fairly straightforward task. However, there are an increasing number of fertility problems that can make this process much more difficult. One of these is Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS).
What Is PCOS?
PCOS is caused by a hormonal imbalance that results in ovulation problems. Low levels of Follicle Stimulating Hormone (FSH) means that although your egg follicles grow each month, they don’t develop enough. This, coupled with a high level of Luteinising Hormone (LH) means that ripened eggs never burst free from the follicles. This results in cysts developing on your ovaries.
Some sufferers of PCOS never ovulate, and some do irregularly. This results in a great difficulty to conceive.
Symptoms of PCOS include:
1. Enlarged ovaries - this will be detected by a doctor using an ultrasound scanner
3. Irregular or absent periods
4. Excessive hair growth on face and body
5. Pelvic pain or discomfort
If you suspect you may have PCOS, then please see a doctor. If you are trying to become pregnant and suspect PCOS then it’s wise to be referred to a fertility specialist.
In spite of this, PCOS and pregnancy is not impossible! There are things you can do to help yourself and your body have a better chance. There are also medications that can assist you.
One of the best (and hardest) things you can do to improve your chances of getting pregnant with PCOS, is to lose as much excess weight as you can.
This can be very difficult as women with PCOS have bodies that hang on to fat more than other women. But, even a loss of 5% of your body weight can have a dramatic effect on your fertility. This can be achieved through a healthy diet and moderate exercise.
Learning to notice when you do ovulate (even if only rarely) can help your chances of pregnancy. Chart temperatures and observe any changes in cervical mucus. This information can also help a fertility doctor treat you.
Taking regular pregnancy tests is a good idea. Women with irregular periods may not know they are pregnant, as to miss a period is very common!
Medical Help For PCOS And Pregnancy
Finding a good fertility doctor who you trust is very important. They can help you and discuss the different medical options available.
There are 2 main fertility treatments that are available specifically for PCOS and pregnancy:
1. Medication - Clomiphene (Clomid) is a drug which encourages the production of FSH, thereby correcting the hormonal imbalance that inhibits ovulation. There are different doses to try, but this medication can only be used for 6 months. There is also an increased risk of having twins or triplets.
2. Surgery - Laparascopic Ovarian Diathermy (LOD). This is a small keyhole surgery during which a surgeon burns part of the ovary with a laser. This can correct hormonal imbalances and is usually only performed after trying drug treatment first.
The most important piece of advice from PCOS sufferers who have managed to become pregnant, is to never give up hope. Try if possible to remain positive, don’t think too often about the treatments you are having, and also to enjoy the intimacy with your partner.
Sometimes you may have to wait years, but keeping a positive attitude and helping yourself with practical and medical help can mean that PCOS and pregnancy is not impossible.
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