How to get pregnant with PCOS?
Dr. Ankita Gharge (she/her)

Dr. Ankita Gharge (she/her)

Jan 06PCOS

How to get pregnant with PCOS?

What is PCOS?

Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS) is a hormonal disorder affecting menstruators of the reproductive age group. Among those who suffer from PCOS - a question that gets asked often is ‘how to get pregnant with PCOS?’.

Before we dig deeper to understand the relationship between PCOS and pregnancy, let’s understand the most common symptoms of this hormonal condition. A menstruator suffering from PCOS will most likely experience one or more of the following symptoms -

  • Fatigue
  • Bloating
  • Weight gain
  • Pigmentation - dark, velvety patches on the neck
  • Feeling moody, anxious or depressed


PCOS and pregnancy

Many complications are associated with PCOS, and infertility is one of them. If you have PCOS, it may become difficult to achieve a pregnancy. But, it’s certainly not impossible. Taking the required help from a specialist at the right time can help you conceive.

Why does PCOS affect pregnancy

Getting pregnant with PCOS, or irregular periods for that matter, is tricky, but not impossible. The hormonal imbalances during PCOS interrupt the ovulation process (the growth and release of the eggs). Eventually, it can lead to infertility, causing a drastic reduction in your chances of getting pregnant. Secondly, sometimes, when ovulation occurs, it leads to immature follicles or immature egg release. Either the embryo formation is affected, or there is immature embryo formation. In both cases, it cannot turn into a pregnancy. PCOS is also associated with immature ovum formation, leading to frequent abortions.

So can you ever get pregnant if you have PCOS?

Ths answer is yes! It is possible to get pregnant even if you have PCOS. Many people with PCOS, i.e. around 40-45%, can achieve a pregnancy without much medical help. If it is difficult to get pregnant, visit a doctor to get further guidance and assistance. Using a few methods, the doctor will help you achieve a pregnancy with PCOS.


Planning Pregnancy with PCOS

Consult your gynaecologist to learn about adequate treatment options for your case. The treatments can include:

  • Ovulation induction: Ovulation induction means using certain drugs to stimulate the ovulation process, including the development and release of eggs. Ovulation induction drugs include clomiphene citrate, letrozole etc.
  • Follicular monitoring: Ultrasound monitoring of the ovarian follicles is done to evaluate the eggs.
  • Supplementation: The doctor can advise progesterone supplementations on a case-to-case basis.


What are the non-medical treatment options to help people with PCOS conceive?

Apart from the medical treatments, you have to take care of your diet, exercise and track your ovulation to achieve a successful pregnancy with PCOS.

  • Maintain a healthy weight: There are many risks associated with one's weight. Before planning a baby, it is recommended to reach an ideal weight for a healthy pregnancy. Your doctor will guide you about how much weight you should gain or reduce.
  • Eat a healthy diet: Switch to a healthy diet that includes fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains, and protein-rich foods. Getting all the essential minerals and vitamins is also necessary.
  • Get enough exercise: Exercising is a wholesome activity that drastically improves your overall PCOS symptoms.
  • Use an ovulation tracker: It will help determine the days in a month when you are more likely to get pregnant.
  • Check and monitor your blood sugar levels: There is a relationship between insulin resistance and PCOS. High blood sugar levels can cause fertility problems. Hence, the doctor may test and monitor your blood sugar levels if you are finding it difficult to get pregnant.


What are the risks involved in getting pregnant with PCOS?

Having a pregnancy with PCOS is not easy and will require ample care and frequent monitoring to prevent complications. It comes with its own risks for the mother and baby. Here are a few such risk factors:

  • Preterm deliveries
  • Gestational diabetes
  • Abortions
  • Growth restriction in a fetus
  • Increased risk of the baby having diabetes in the future


Bottom Line 

Planning a pregnancy with PCOS is tricky, but not impossible. All you need to do is consult an infertility specialist as soon as possible so that they can help you with the necessary next steps . Apart from that, lifestyle modifications such as weight management, healthy diet and exercise, and maintaining blood sugar levels help achieve a better hormonal balance and alleviate PCOS symptoms. Do not lose hope if you are not able to conceive. There are many other alternative pregnancy options for people with PCOS - your doctor will guide you through them!

Disclaimer: This information is educational and should not be construed as medical advice. Please consult your doctor before making any dietary changes or adding supplements.

Proactive For Her is a digital clinic for women, offering accessible, personalised, and confidential healthcare solutions. We offer outpatient care, diagnostic services and programs for various health concerns of Indian women across their lifetime - from puberty to pregnancy to menopause.