Pregnant with PCOS

Mother and Unborn Child

Lots of women have polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS); some 5-10% of all women of childbearing age have cysts that form on their ovaries and cause their reproductive systems to malfunction in a variety of ways. Should a woman manage to conceive despite a diagnosis of PCOS, there will remain important concerns regarding the health of both mother and unborn child.

Risk of Miscarriage

One significant risk concerning PCOS and pregnancy is the increased chance for miscarriage. While the risk is reported to be 45% more likely for women with PCOS, some doctors feel the rate of miscarriage might even be underestimated. While doctors aren't sure about the cause of the high rate of miscarriage in women with PCOS, some hypothesize that the reason is poor egg quality which may be attributed to the longer cycles linked with the condition. The theory is that miscarriage is nature's way of preventing the development of a baby with birth defects, something that can happen when eggs aren't prime quality. Another theory is that the metabolic skewing due to high levels of insulin or hormones that are associated with PCOS throws off the possibility of a sustainable pregnancy.

Other than miscarriage, another cardinal concern is diabetes. The risk of a woman developing diabetes is greater in women with PCOS. This can occur later in life, or can manifest as gestational diabetes as it occurs during pregnancy. The condition is quite serious and can have a deleterious effect on the health of your as yet unborn child. Careful monitoring during pregnancy can prevent the possibility of your child becoming insulin resistant. The baby's weight is also a concern since women with gestational diabetes tend to have bigger babies. Again, careful monitoring avoids the possibility that this larger weight will jeopardize your baby's health. 

It has been established that women who gain a lot of weight during pregnancy will have more pronounced symptoms of PCOS after delivery. If, in spite of careful eating you gain a lot of weight, taking the Pill after you deliver will prevent such symptoms until you can lose weight.

If the baby is very large, due to gestational diabetes, for instance, there remains the possibility that you will need to be delivered via Caesarian section. Your baby will also be monitored for health problems if you develop gestational diabetes, though in most cases the baby shows no ill effects.

Women with PCOS, who go on to conceive and deliver a healthy child often find they have no trouble the second time around. This may be due to a lessening of stress and worry since they are now knowledgeable about the ins and outs of pregnancy with PCOS. The second pregnancy tends to be a more fulfilling, more peaceful experience, as a result of this foreknowledge.

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