Whatever your reason, whether it is advancing age or just excitement, at Atlantic Endocrinology & Diabetes Center we know most people don’t want to spend months taking pregnancy tests when trying to get pregnant. If you have been diagnosed with Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS), then you will know that it can take longer for some women with PCOS to get pregnant. To give yourself the best possible chance of getting pregnant fast with PCOS, read on for some quick tips.
PCOS and your fertility
A common symptom of PCOS, and often the first hint that something might not be quite right, irregular, long cycles or sometimes, no periods at all. This is because your hormone imbalance and potentially the cysts on your ovaries affect ovulation. Ovulation is the process of a mature egg being released from the ovary. Some women with PCOS may ovulate irregularly or in severe cases, not at all. To get pregnant naturally, you need to ovulate, and it might be that you need to get advice from a doctor to help you with this.
The best way to optimize your fertility when you have PCOS is to make the right lifestyle changes and my PCOS action plan below details changes you might like to make.
Remember, it is possible to get pregnant with PCOS. You might just need a bit of help from a healthcare professional and a bucket load of motivation from yourself to make some healthy lifestyle changes!
PCOS Action Plan
- Reduce your intake of sugars and refined carbohydrates, such as white bread, white rice and white pasta or sugary drinks, cakes and biscuits
- Enjoy high protein such as eggs, chicken, fish and lentils, green leafy vegetables such as spinach or kale and fruits low in sugar
- Seek specialist dietary advice and support if needed
- Do 150 minutes of moderate intensity exercise per week to help with weight loss, if needed, or just to improve your fitness levels
- Enjoy a mixture of cardiovascular exercise, muscle strengthening and a lovely walk in nature
- Reduce your time spent doing sedentary activities such as watching television or working on your PC
- Reducing your intake of alcohol and, if possible, try to avoid alcohol altogether while trying to conceive
- If you smoke, seek support to quit smoking
- Even just losing 5% of your body weight can improve your symptoms and your fertility
- Avoid recreational drugs
- Limit caffeine to 1 or 2 cups per day
- Keep hydrated as the amount of water in your cervical mucus can increase or decrease the ability of the passage of sperm to the egg
- Take action to try to reduce your stress levels
- Get empowered
- Start tracking your cycle to understand when you’re fertile
- See a doctor or specialist nurse and get as much information about PCOS as you can
- Have regular sex. Ideally every 2-3 days throughout your cycle
Getting pregnant with PCOS after 30
Natural fertility begins to decline significantly for women around age 32. With the addition of ovarian syndrome, women over 30 with PCOS will have greater risks associated with pregnancy, but a healthy pregnancy is still possible. Because of the insulin resistance that is often an issue for women with PCOS, one of these increased risks is gestational diabetes, when a woman develops diabetes during pregnancy. This condition is also more common in women over 25. To prevent and manage this, it is important to follow a healthy diet and exercise regularly. Women with PCOS may also want to get a glucose screening earlier during pregnancy than at the routine 24-28 weeks.
Tracking your cycle is also very useful to improve your chances of conceiving as it helps you better understand your cycle and predict if and when you’re ovulating. There are a number of tools and apps available to help with this. Medication to treat PCOS and improve fertility is also available for women with PCOS who are trying to get pregnant.
Confirm ovulation with test strips
To find out when you are ovulating, you can buy ovulation kits from your local pharmacy which work much the same way as a pregnancy test. Make a note of when you ovulate each month so you can find out how regular your ovulation is.
Reverse any insulin resistance
Women with PCOS have problems with insulin resistance, which means that your blood sugar levels are elevated, as is your insulin level, this increases your risk of having trouble conceiving. Doctors can prescribe Metformin to help, but there are many side effects with this medication to consider. In the first instance, try cutting out sugar and refined carbs from your diet and making sure you get enough protein, fiber and healthy fats, and you will see your blood sugar levels and your insulin level drop. Myo-inositol has been proven effective in treating insulin resistance in some PCOS women. The new InofolicAlpha, which contains both myo-inositol and alpha-Lactalbumin, can help reverse insulin resistance even more effectively.
It is important to talk to your doctor at Atlantic Endocrinology & Diabetes Center and get the help you need to prepare your body to conceive.