Getting Pregnant With PCOS
Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) is a condition that impacts women because of a hormonal imbalance. An excessive presence of androgens, also known as male hormones, can cause various symptoms. The most common problems include irregular or missing menstrual cycles, enlarged ovaries, excess hair, and weight gain. Amenorrhea and dysmenorrhea, the technical terms for period irregularities, can cause fertility issues. As a result, many women with PCOS rely on fertility treatments like in vitro fertilization (IVF) to get pregnant. Specific lifestyle changes can further improve the chances of conception.
1. Stop using tobacco products
While most individuals know that smoking or vaping is bad for the lungs and circulatory system, fewer are aware that a link exists between tobacco use and poor fertility outcomes. Women who smoke may be more than twice as likely to experience infertility compared to non-smokers. Quitting completely is the best way to increase the chance of a healthy pregnancy.
2. Maintain a healthy weight
One of the hallmark side effects of PCOS can be weight gain. For women trying to conceive, maintaining a healthy weight is critical to boosting conception odds. Specifically, a link exists between a woman’s body mass index (BMI) and fertility outcomes, especially when undergoing in vitro fertilization. A recent study found that women who were overweight or obese experienced lower success rates when compared with individuals that maintained a normal BMI.
3. Adjust diet as needed
Considering that if successful, a woman will be eating for 2, improving dietary habits ahead of conception is essential. If daily meals are heavy on junk food but light on healthy options, speak with a registered dietician. Developing a meal plan that’s flavorful but also rich in essential nutrients is important. Nutritional deficiencies during pregnancy can cause birth defects, low birth weight, and preterm birth.
4. Try to manage stress
Telling a person undergoing fertility treatments to remain calm can seem like a tall order, but stress can affect overall health. Symptoms of stress can range from back pain to joint problems and even cardiac distress. During IVF treatment, take the opportunity to indulge in self-care. Whether engaged in yoga or binging a guilty pleasure reality show, focusing on content other than fertility treatments is vital to overall well-being.
Get smart about PCOS
Women with polycystic ovary syndrome can have a hard time getting pregnant. While common concerns center around trouble with tracking ovulation and other underlying hormonal issues, fertility treatments like IVF can help turn the dream of parenthood into a reality. Women with PCOS that want to conceive but have questions regarding how the condition can influence risks should meet with a fertility specialist.