Health

How To Get Pregnant With PCOS

How to Conceive Successfully with PCOS

Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) is a common hormonal disorder that affects up to 10% of women of reproductive age. It is one of the leading causes of infertility among women. PCOS causes irregular menstrual cycles, ovulation problems, and other hormonal imbalances that can make getting pregnant difficult.

However, having PCOS does not necessarily mean you cannot conceive. With the right combination of lifestyle changes, fertility treatments, and medical care, many women with PCOS can successfully become pregnant. Here is an in-depth guide on how to get pregnant with PCOS.

For women diagnosed with PCOS, the prospect of getting pregnant can seem daunting. PCOS not only causes irregular periods, but it can also disrupt ovulation entirely in some women. Even women who do ovulate may only do so occasionally or sporadically. This makes the fertility window uncertain.

However, PCOS does not universally cause infertility. According to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, about 70 to 80% of women with PCOS can conceive and deliver a healthy baby. Some women may conceive with minimal interventions, while others require fertility treatments.

Understanding your particular PCOS symptoms, working closely with reproductive endocrinologists, and using evidence-based integrative approaches can significantly improve your chances. While it may take longer to conceive with PCOS, pregnancy success is still very possible.

This guide will walk you through the key steps, from proactive lifestyle measures to medical fertility therapies. With persistence and the right polycystic ovary syndrome pregnancy plan, your dreams of building a family can still come true.

What Is PCOS?

PCOS stands for polycystic ovary syndrome. It is a common hormonal disorder that affects up to 10% of women of reproductive age. Some key facts about PCOS:

  • It is caused by a hormonal imbalance of excess androgens, insulin resistance, and abnormalities with other hormones like estrogen and progesterone.
  • The most common symptoms are irregular menstrual cycles, excess hair growth, acne, and obesity. However, symptoms can vary.
  • The exact cause is unknown but likely involves a combination of genetic and environmental factors.
  • It can interfere with ovulation and cause infertility due to lack of ovulation.
  • It often leads to multiple small cysts in the ovaries on ultrasound, hence the name polycystic ovary syndrome.
  • There is no cure but symptoms are managed through lifestyle changes, birth control pills, and medications that treat hormonal imbalances.
  • Having PCOS puts women at higher risk for type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and uterine cancer.
  • With proper treatment, most women with PCOS can achieve pregnancy – it just may take longer compared to women without PCOS.

PCOS is a complex hormonal condition that can affect menstruation, fertility, metabolism, and long-term health risks in women. Managed properly, it does not have to prevent pregnancy.

PCOS
PCOS

What Reason For PCOS?

Several factors are thought to contribute to the development of PCOS:

  • Genetics – PCOS tends to run in families, indicating a genetic component. Certain gene variants affect how the ovaries produce hormones and metabolize glucose.
  • Insulin resistance – Many women with PCOS have insulin resistance, where the body’s cells cannot uptake glucose properly. This results in excess insulin production, which further exacerbates hormonal imbalances.
  • Inflammation – Chronic low-grade inflammation is common in PCOS. This inflammation affects the function of tissues like the ovaries.
  • Obesity – Excess weight and body fat, especially abdominal fat, is both a cause and consequence of PCOS. Obesity creates hormonal and metabolic dysfunction.
  • Fetal development – Exposure to excess androgens in the womb may predispose babies to develop PCOS later in life. This explains higher rates among sisters and mothers.
  • Environmental factors – Toxins and endocrine disruptors like BPA may trigger hormonal and metabolic irregularities that eventually result in PCOS.
  • Stress – Chronic stress and high cortisol levels can worsen PCOS symptoms. Managing stress is important.

The exact causes are still being researched, but both nature (genetics) and nurture (lifestyle and environment) contribute to PCOS. Unraveling the origins of PCOS may help prevent and treat it.

How To Get Pregnant With PCOS Step By Step

Here is a step-by-step table on tips for getting pregnant with PCOS:

Step Action
1 Get evaluated by a doctor to confirm PCOS diagnosis and fertility status
2 Rule out other conditions like thyroid problems that could affect fertility
3 Start taking prenatal vitamins with folate and vitamin D
4 Begin making lifestyle changes like losing weight, eating healthy, exercising
5 Consider taking supplements like Myo-inositol, omega-3s, CoQ10
6 Use OPKs and BBT tracking to identify ovulation days
7 Have well-timed intercourse on fertile days or try IUI if needed
8 Try ovulation-induction meds like clomiphene or letrozole if not ovulating
9 Explore metformin or ovarian drilling if other measures fail
10 Seek advanced fertility treatments like IVF if necessary
11 Throughout the process, stay hopeful and keep open communication with the doctor

Following these steps can help create a comprehensive plan. However, work closely with your healthcare provider to determine the optimal fertility strategy for you. Consistency and patience are key.

PCOS Symptoms And Complications

Here is a table of the common symptoms and complications associated with PCOS:

Symptoms Complications
Irregular/absent periods Infertility
Excess facial and body hair (hirsutism) Endometrial cancer
Acne Type 2 diabetes
Obesity, central weight gain Cardiovascular disease
Hair thinning/loss Sleep apnea
Darkening skin (acanthosis nigricans) Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease
Skin tags Anxiety and depression
Pelvic pain Eating disorders
Headaches Metabolic syndrome

PCOS symptoms stem from hormonal imbalances. Long-term complications relate to the metabolic disruptions and inflammation PCOS causes. Proper treatment and prevention of PCOS complications are important for both fertility and overall health.

Symptoms of PCOS
Symptoms of PCOS

Chances Of Getting Pregnant With PCOS

The chances of getting pregnant naturally when you have PCOS can vary significantly depending on the individual. Some key points:

  • Approximately 20–30% of women with PCOS will get pregnant spontaneously and carry their baby to term without any treatment.
  • Losing just 5–10% of your body weight if overweight and exercising regularly can help restore normal ovulation and improve pregnancy chances.
  • PCOS patients who are younger and have a lower BMI tend to have higher conception rates than older patients or those with obesity.
  • With ovulation induction medications like clomiphene citrate, letrozole, or gonadotropins, the per-cycle pregnancy rate is approximately 15–20%.
  • After ovarian drilling surgery, up to 50% of women conceive within 6 months. However, success rates depend on the technique.
  • With advanced fertility treatments like IVF, women with PCOS have a 40–50% chance per cycle of conceiving if they produce good-quality eggs.
  • Overall, it may take 6 months to a year of focused efforts combining lifestyle changes, fertility medications, and/or IVF to conceive with PCOS. Patience is needed.

The key is collaborating closely with your doctor to develop an individualized plan catered to your particular PCOS symptoms and fertility profile. While it may take longer, pregnancy is still achievable for most women with PCOS.

Chances Of Getting Pregnant
Chances Of Getting Pregnant

How Do PCOS Patients Change Their Lifestyle To Get Pregnant?

Here is a table outlining lifestyle changes PCOS patients should adopt to improve fertility:

Lifestyle Change Recommendation Benefit
Diet
  • Follow a PCOS-friendly diet
  • Complex carbs, lean protein, healthy fats
  • Avoid refined sugars and processed foods
  • Helps lose weight, reduce insulin resistance
Exercise
  • 150 mins/week of moderate exercise
  • Brisk walking, swimming, cycling, etc.
  • Restores ovulation, improves insulin sensitivity
Supplements
  • Inositol, Vitamin D, Omega-3s
  • Antioxidants like CoQ10
  • Hormonal regulation, improved egg quality
Caffeine & Alcohol
  • Limit to 1-2 cups coffee/day
  • Avoid excessive alcohol intake
  • Prevent disruption of menstrual cycles
Smoking Cessation
  • Quit smoking completely
Stress Management
  • Yoga, meditation, mindfulness
  • Adequate sleep, social support
  • Reduces cortisol and PCOS symptoms
Toxin Avoidance
  • Limit BPA, phthalates, other endocrine disruptors
  • Prevents worsening of hormonal dysfunction
Sleep
  • Prioritize 7-9 hrs good quality sleep
  • Maintain a consistent sleep schedule
  • Poor sleep aggravates PCOS
Ovulation Tracking
  • Use OPKs and basal body temp to time intercourse
Maximizes chances in the fertile window

Making these positive changes provides the optimal foundation before pursuing more aggressive fertility treatments.

Treatment Of PCOS

Here are the main treatment options for managing PCOS:

  • Lifestyle modifications – Losing weight through diet and exercise can help restore normal hormone levels and ovulation. This is the first line of treatment.
  • Birth control pills – Oral contraceptives can help regulate menstrual cycles and reduce symptoms like excess hair growth. They do not treat the root PCOS imbalance.
  • Fertility medications – Drugs like clomiphene and letrozole may be used to induce ovulation for women trying to conceive. Gonadotropins may also be used.
  • Metformin – The diabetes drug metformin helps reduce insulin resistance and regulate menstrual cycles in some women with PCOS.
  • Anti-androgens – Medications like spironolactone and finasteride block male hormone (androgen) effects to treat symptoms.
  • Ovarian drilling – A laparoscopic procedure where ovaries are cauterized to stimulate normal ovulation.
  • Assisted reproductive technology – Some women require procedures like IVF to achieve pregnancy due to PCOS infertility.
  • Hormonal IUD – The levonorgestrel IUD can reduce heavy bleeding from PCOS and provide contraception.
  • Stress and anxiety management – Counseling, yoga, meditation, and other methods to lower stress.
  • Cosmetic procedures – Laser hair removal, electrolysis, and skin treatments can manage unwanted hair and acne.

A multifaceted approach is best, combining lifestyle changes with select medications or procedures guided by your doctor. Consistency is key

Other Key Considerations

Here are a few other tips when trying to conceive with PCOS:

  • Work closely with a reproductive endocrinologist who specializes in PCOS fertility treatments.
  • Be patient – it may take up to a year of active trying with lifestyle and medical therapies before succeeding.
  • If overweight, even a 5-10% loss in body weight can help regulate ovulation and fertility.
  • Advanced male age can contribute to fertility challenges – have your partner evaluated.
  • Monitor cervical mucus and use sperm-friendly lubricants to aid conception.
  • Support healthy thyroid function as thyroid issues may accompany PCOS.

While the path to motherhood with PCOS may be more complex, it is very achievable with the right approach. Stay optimistic and be your health advocate throughout the process.

How To Treat PCOS By Natural Herbs?

Here are some of the top herbs that can help treat PCOS symptoms naturally:

  1. Spearmint Tea: Spearmint tea has anti-androgenic properties that help regulate excess testosterone levels that cause PCOS symptoms like facial hair growth, acne, and irregular periods. Drink 2 cups of spearmint tea daily.
  2. Cinnamon: Helps improve insulin sensitivity and control blood sugar levels. This alleviates inflammation and hormonal imbalances of PCOS. Take 1-2 cinnamon capsules a day or sprinkle on foods.
  3. Red Clover: Contains phytoestrogens that help normalize estrogen levels, potentially stimulating ovulation. Great for regulating irregular periods. Drink 2-3 cups of red clover tea per day.
  4. Saw Palmetto: Blocks the conversion of testosterone into DHT, which helps control excess facial/body hair growth and acne. Take 320 mg saw palmetto supplements daily.
  5. Ginseng: Reduces insulin resistance and inflammation associated with PCOS. Also boosts energy levels. Take 100-200 mg ginseng supplements per day.
  6. Vitex/Chasteberry: Regulates menstrual cycles by stimulating hormone production in the brain’s pituitary gland. Take 200-400 mg Vitex supplements daily.

Along with herbal remedies, be sure to focus on proper diet, exercise, stress relief, and other lifestyle measures for comprehensive PCOS management. Work with an experienced herbalist or naturopath for guidance.

 

Natural herbs
Natural herbs

Frequently Asked Questions

What are my chances of getting pregnant naturally with PCOS?

While fertility varies, up to 30% of women with PCOS successfully conceive without medical interventions. Losing weight, regulating cycles, and tracking ovulation can help.

How long does it usually take to get pregnant with PCOS?

It often takes at least 6 months to 1 year of focused lifestyle efforts and fertility treatments before becoming pregnant with PCOS. Have patience and work closely with your doctor.

Do I need to take metformin to conceive with PCOS?

Metformin can help regulate cycles and ovulation, but it is not always necessary to get pregnant. Your doctor will advise if metformin is recommended in your case.

Is IVF my best option for getting pregnant with PCOS?

IVF may be needed for some couples struggling with infertility. However other options like ovarian drilling, ovulation medications, and IUI can be effective and less invasive. Discuss all options with your doctor.

Can I take supplements or herbs to improve my fertility with PCOS?

Some supplements like inositol, CoQ10, and vitamins may offer benefits. Herbs like chasteberry could help but check with your doctor about safety and drug interactions.

Conclusion

Battling infertility caused by PCOS can be incredibly challenging emotionally and physically. However, there are now more strategies than ever to aid conception, from proactive lifestyle measures to state-of-the-art assisted reproductive technologies. Collaborating closely with your healthcare team and tapping into the many available resources will go a long way.

While it may require patience and perseverance, a healthy pregnancy is very achievable for most women with polycystic ovarian syndrome. Stay optimistic on your fertility journey. With the right combination approach tailored to your needs, your dreams of building a family can still come true.

Selina

My name is Selina, a medical specialist blogger helping people access treatment for 5+ years. Although blogging awhile, only recently deeply engaged. This past year my most productive, providing hospital reviews and info on symptoms, diagnoses and diseases. Also offer guidelines to help readers navigate healthcare. Goal to continue increased content pace to assist many. Aim to facilitate treatment and empower advocacy through writing.

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