Published on: Feb 22, 2021

4 min Read

Here’s How PCOS Can Complicate Your Pregnancy and Ways to Manage It

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PCOS (polycystic ovary syndrome) is a common hormonal disorder affecting one in every five women of reproductive age. Women with PCOS have prolonged or infrequent periods or production of excess male hormones (androgen) levels. Few common symptoms of PCOS include excessive hair growth, acne, obesity & irregular menstruation. Nobody wishes to be the slave of their hormones. But when living with PCOS, the struggle is real!

Why does PCOS cause complications during pregnancy?

Given how common it is for women with PCOS to struggle with conception, pregnancy is truly a joyous phase in their lives.

Typically, women with PCOS are obese and have hormonal imbalances both of which trigger the cause of pregnancy-related complications. The hormonal imbalance caused due to PCOS intervenes with the growth & release of eggs in the ovaries (ovulation) and creates a pregnancy barrier. Thus, having PCOS and being pregnant accompany some complications. Ignored symptoms or untreated health conditions may develop the risk of greater complications for mother & baby.

The good news is managing your symptoms and taking timely treatment can help you prevent the onset of these complications and improve fetal development & growth.

PCOS-related pregnancy complications:

  1. Gestational Diabetes (GDM)PCOS results in higher blood sugar due to insulin resistance; thus, women with PCOS are at a greater risk of developing gestational diabetes (GDM). Few studies show that insulin resistance can create adverse reactions involving the endocrine system and may cause type 2 diabetes in the future.Untreated gestational diabetes may result in obesity & type 2 diabetes in the baby, later in life. If not managed properly, it can even result in high birth weight, preterm birth, respiratory issues at birth & baby’s death before or shortly after birth.For mothers, GDM greatly increases the chances of cesarean section or surgical delivery. It is essential to get regular checkups & monitor blood sugar levels. Doctors recommend all pregnant women with PCOS to monitor gestational diabetes with routine blood sugar screening sometime between 26 and 28 weeks of pregnancy.
  2. MiscarriageWomen with PCOS are at a higher risk of having a miscarriage. This happens because of the longer menstrual cycles in PCOS due to which the developing egg gets exposed to lots of hormones which further damages it.Another reason for miscarriage is that women with PCOS tend to have elevated insulin levels and insulin resistance. Studies prove that this affects the uterus’ lining and contributes to low egg quality & miscarriage.It is essential to follow the physician’s advice and maintain the suggested lifestyle pattern and health routine to reduce the risk of miscarriages.
  3. Pre-eclampsiaPre-eclampsia is a severe pregnancy complication that usually begins after 20 weeks of pregnancy in women with high blood pressure. Women with PCOS have high blood pressure due to which they are at a greater risk of developing pre-eclampsia.Pre-eclampsia is a condition that causes the loss of protein in the urine, leading to swelling, severe headache, vision changes, rapid weight gain and kidney disorders.Untreated preeclampsia can progress to a severe syndrome known as eclampsia which can cause blindness, seizures and the risk of coma. In serious cases, there are chances of both maternal & fetal death.
  4. Ectopic pregnancyEctopic pregnancy is when the fertilised egg implants outside the uterus, unlike the normal pregnancy where the eggs develop within the uterus. In an ectopic pregnancy, sometimes the fertilised egg is unable to survive outside the uterus. If left to develop, it can damage the nearby organs and cause life-threatening loss of blood.In women with PCOS, there is a higher chance of ectopic pregnancy. Women with PCOS have a high hormonal imbalance caused due to multiple reasons such as conceiving, irregular periods, pain management or consumption of oral contraceptives. When levels of the hormones are high, it could affect the movement of cilia (hair-like-structure), therefore causing the prevention of the embryo from reaching the uterus. Due to this, the embryo is implanted in the fallopian tube leading to an ectopic pregnancy.
  5. Premature deliveryResearch suggests that women with PCOS are at a greater risk of delivering their baby early. The exact reason behind this is not so clear, but few studies show that pre-eclampsia caused due to PCOS creates the risk factor of premature delivery.

Having PCOS doesn’t mean that you have to give up on your thought of conceiving. With some planning and guidance from your Doctor and experts, you can increase the chances of conception, having a safe pregnancy and a healthy baby. They say, ‘Well begun is half done’ so plan ahead.

If you are a few years away from planning a pregnancy, start by getting your PCOS symptoms under control. Get help from the experts at HealPCOS who offer holistic care around nutrition, exercise and mental well-being. Taking care of your body and preparing it for pregnancy at the pre-conception stage is essential too.

And if you’re already pregnant (yay!), then sign up for PregStar for a stress-free pregnancy. Our experts will help and guide you on all your PCOS-related complications and risks for a safe pregnancy and delivery.

Don’t let PCOS take a toll on your femininity! Get the care you deserve! Call us at 022 48971077 to know more about our programs.

- By Fitterfly Health-Team