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Can I Get Pregnant If I Have PCOS?

Feb 07, 2024

Can I Get Pregnant If I Have PCOS?

Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) is a common hormonal disorder affecting roughly 1 in 10 women during their reproductive years. While it can affect fertility, many women with PCOS get pregnant and have healthy pregnancies and deliveries.

If you’re having trouble getting pregnant and suspect that you may have PCOS, a visit with an OB/GYN is a wise first step. At Cornforth Gynecology & Medspa, board-certified OB/GYN Katherine Cornforth, MD, provides exceptional obstetric and gynecologic care to women in the San Antonio, Texas community. 

Dr. Cornforth is a proponent of family planning, and can provide the expert guidance, and tools needed to make decisions that align with your goals, values, and needs.

PCOS quick facts

PCOS most commonly affects women in their 20s and 30s. The term “polycystic ovary syndrome” is a bit of a misnomer in that many women with PCOS don’t have cysts on their ovaries.

What’s more, PCOS isn’t a single condition but rather refers to a collection of symptoms and features that can also occur in other conditions. You’re more likely to develop PCOS if you have a family history of it. 

Additionally, insulin resistance increases the risk of PCOS. In the US, almost half of all women with PCOS are obese, and having PCOS increases your risk of Type 2 diabetes and heart disease.

How does PCOS impact fertility?

Many women with PCOS experience irregular ovulation or anovulation, which happens when the ovaries fail to release an egg during their menstrual cycle. This is one of the primary factors that contributes to issues getting pregnant. 

Although women with PCOS take longer than other women to get pregnant, they have just as many children as women without PCOS. 

Getting an accurate diagnosis

An accurate diagnosis is the first step in managing PCOS effectively, especially if you’re trying to get pregnant. Diagnosing PCOS involves a thorough evaluation. Dr. Cornforth will assess your symptoms, discuss your medical history, and may conduct blood tests and ultrasounds. These tests help confirm the PCOS and rule out other possible causes of your symptoms.

A proper diagnosis of PCOS also sets the stage for a comprehensive treatment plan. Without an accurate diagnosis, treatments may be ineffective. For instance, treating irregular periods without addressing the underlying insulin resistance (common in PCOS) might not improve fertility. Additionally, a proper diagnosis helps in understanding and managing the long-term health implications of PCOS.

Fertility Testing 

Fertility testing is highly beneficial if you’re having trouble getting pregnant. Evaluating your fertility can provide answers, enabling Dr. Cornforth to create a roadmap toward improving your chances of getting pregnant. These tests help in understanding how PCOS is affecting your fertility and what treatments are likely to be most effective.

Boosting your chances of pregnancy with PCOS

The good news is that there are effective ways to boost the chances of getting pregnant when you have ovulation issues. 

Lifestyle changes

Weight management plays a crucial role in managing PCOS. If you’re overweight, even a small amount of weight loss can improve the frequency of ovulation and increase the likelihood of pregnancy. Regular exercise, a balanced diet, and maintaining a healthy weight can significantly improve your chances of conceiving.

Medical treatments

Several medications can assist in inducing ovulation for women with PCOS. The most commonly prescribed is clomiphene citrate, an anti-estrogen drug that encourages ovulation. Another option is Metformin, commonly used for Type 2 diabetes, which can also improve ovulation and has been shown to help with PCOS symptoms.

Fertility treatments

When lifestyle changes and medications aren’t enough, Dr. Cornforth can discuss more advanced fertility treatment options. Fertility treatments, such as in vitro fertilization (IVF), can be particularly effective for women with PCOS. 

Every woman’s journey to motherhood is unique, especially with PCOS, but with the right support, you can increase your chances of conceiving and having a healthy pregnancy. Our team is honored to assist you in your motherhood journey. To learn more, contact us at Cornforth Gynecology & Medspa to schedule a visit with Dr. Cornforth today.