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Pregnancy and PCOS

Pregnancy and Polycystic ovary syndrome

Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) affects about one in every ten women and is the most common cause of female infertility. It is typically characterized by ovarian cysts, irregular menstrual cycles and high testosterone levels. A lot is spoken about polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS), infertility and pregnancy. It is believed that among the young urban female population PCOS is on the rise with almost 40 per cent of women falling prey to this condition. Of the numerous problems that women face due to PCOS – irregular, scanty periods, acne, weight gain– inability to conceive is also a major concern.

In PCOS, the ovaries are filled with numerous follicles that causes imbalance in secretion of the female reproductive hormones. In fact, women who suffer from PCOS have increased levels of testosterone that further leads to certain symptoms like facial hair, acne, breakouts, hair fall etc.

For women suffering from PCOS, it sometimes becomes difficult to get pregnant but is not impossible.

Adopting a healthy lifestyle with regular exercise, low carbohydrate diet and reducing stress helps improve chances of pregnancy in PCOS. A few possible treatment options available that can help women with PCOS to get pregnant are listed below:

  • Various ovulation drugs or injections that stimulate the ovaries to release one or more eggs are given to women who are trying to conceive despite their PCOS. Hence, if one is not ovulating regularly or at all, with the help of ovulation drugs, conception can be initiated.
  • Some recent researches have suggested that Vitamin D can possibly play an important role in helping women seeking treatment for polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS)-related infertility get pregnant. However, more research is needed to establish which patients with infertility would benefit the most from screening for vitamin D deficiency.
  • High insulin levels too play a key factor in throwing off regular ovulation. It should effectively be controlled with medication like insulin sensitizers and inositols, and all pregnant women should be screened for diabetes caused by the pregnancy.

Post conception, PCOS can cause the following complications for expecting women:

  • Miscarriage
  • Gestational Diabetes
  • Big size baby
  • Pre eclampsia-or high blood pressure in the later part of pregnancy
  • Preterm birth
  • Higher chances of cesarean section

However, if these risks can be controlled well if the mother talks to her doctor to control and  monitor PCOS symptoms before the pregnancy itself and take extra care during pregnancy.

Women with PCOS are advised to screen for diabetes as soon as they become pregnant and then repeat the test when they are 24 to 28 weeks pregnant. While in common cases, there is a slight increase in miscarriages in women with PCOS, the risk is mainly in the first trimester.

Keeping track of baby movements is important. The movements may change if the baby is uncomfortable or mom has not eaten in a while which means they too are also hungry. When the baby is hungry, they tend to kick and move around more than what’s usual. They relax or settle down once the mom has changed her position or has had something to eat. There are moments when babies move their arms around to familiarize themselves with their limbs and the environment inside the womb. Babies also start punching inside the womb when they do not want to settle down — this is just their way of telling mom that they are not sleepy.

At times pregnant moms experience pressure on their lower abdomen or in their rib area. If a pregnant mom experiences pressure on her abdomen, then it might be a way for the baby to say he or she is ready to be born especially if the mother’s due date is close by. But there maybe times when the mom-to-be doesn’t feel any movement inside her. In that case, she must eat a snack or have some juice. After that, it is advised for her to lay down and count for the next 1 hour. If there are no 3 minimum movements, then she must contact her doctor. It doesn’t signify that something is wrong but to get it checked is a wise decision.

Pregnant women can feel their babies’ movements from the start of the 16th week; however, some women may experience them even before this, and will continue to feel them until they give birth. Baby movements are differently felt by different mothers and say a lot about the position and mood of the baby. The type of movement will also depend on the size of the baby and how far the pregnancy has reached. Some babies tend to be comparatively more active than others but moms-to-be need not worry about this. You should just be aware of any change in the movement pattern and consult your doctor for the same.

A healthy diet is vital during pregnancy. You can also check out our article “Diet for PCOS” by our expert dietitian, Ms. Deepti Tiwari that highlights nutritional guidelines to reduce the risk of PCOS.

 
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