Pregnancy and PCOS: 6 Obstacles to Getting that Positive Pregnancy Test
Why Getting Pregnant with PCOS can be Challenging
PCOS is one of the most common causes of female infertility, however it is one of the most treatable.
Let’s breakdown some of the challenges that come when trying to conceive with PCOS.
The hormonal imbalances that happen in PCOS interferes with the growth and the release of a mature egg from the ovaries, a process called ovulation. Without ovulating it is impossible to conceive. The event of ovulation is what allows the opportunity for the egg and sperm to meet & implant. Or if implantation doesn’t occur there is a decrease in hormones which triggers a period. Naturopathic Doctors have the time and resources to be able to realign your hormones to increase the chances of ovulating, creating more opportunity throughout the year for you to conceive.
The delay or lack of ovulation that occurs in PCOS can make cycles very long, irregular & unpredictable. Having cycles that are long or constantly changing make it that much more difficult to know when you are possibly ovulating and your fertile window. One of the main goals, when trying to conceive with PCOS is to help bring more regularity to your cycle which will make it much easier to know when is the best time to try to conceive. This can be done through an array of methods such as diet, lifestyle, botanicals, nutraceuticals and acupuncture.
Low Egg Quality
Another challenge that we can encounter with PCOS is lower egg quality. This can happen for a variety of reasons: stunted egg maturation, exposure to elevated testosterone, inflammation & insulin resistance. Improving egg quality is crucial not just for conception but to help to maintain the pregnancy. Fortunately, this is an area where Naturopathic medicine can provide a lot of support. By addressing those underlying factors that are affecting egg quality we can improve one’s chances of carrying to term. There are many dietary and lifestyle factors that have been shown to improve egg quality. As well as the addition of high quality supplementation.
Undiagnosed Comorbid Conditions, such as Hypothyroidism
In PCOS we also see higher rates of autoimmune disorders, mostly commonly Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis, an autoimmune disorder of the thyroid. Autoimmune disorders, such as Hashimoto’s, can affect one’s reproductive health. If you have a diagnosis of PCOS it is important to be screened & treated for any possible autoimmune condition that could be hindering your fertility.
Another thing to be aware of is that PCOS is a diagnosis of exclusion, meaning not only to we have to have certain signs & symptoms to be present but we also need to rule out any other conditions that could be causing those symptoms. There are many conditions that present similarly to PCOS that we need to make sure have been ruled out to make sure we aren’t dealing with a different condition.
Challenges throughout Pregnancy
At this point we have touched on some of the challenges of trying to conceive with PCOS, but ultimately the goal is to carry to term. Unfortunately having PCOS comes with higher rates of pregnancy complications such as miscarriage, gestational diabetes & pre-eclampsia. It is important to bring awareness to these risks so that your healthcare providers can be attentive & provide appropriate recommendations. Naturopathic Doctors can act as another health care provider to help monitor & provide additional support throughout pregnancy.
Carrying to term with PCOS can feel overwhelming and even impossible, however, PCOS happens to be one of the most treatable causes of infertility. Luckily, there are so many natural strategies to support PCOS and fertility! With the proper screening and support we can work towards making conceiving with PCOS a reality.