Polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) is a hormone-related health condition in which women produce high levels of androgens, experience irregular monthly periods, and develop small cysts in their ovaries. PCOS affects roughly one in every 20 women of childbearing age, and about five million women in the United States. Women who have PCOS are often at higher risk for complications during pregnancy.
Managing PCOS through lifestyle modifications
The majority of women who have PCOS are overweight, which can often worsen the condition, as well as interfere more with hormonal imbalance. The most ideal ways to manage PCOS and improve your health is to exercise regularly and eat healthy foods.
Start exercising on most days of the week, and do strength training at least twice per week in addition to cardio exercise such as walking, running, swimming, or cycling. Eliminate or limit your intake of processed foods such as frozen meals, canned goods, and boxed meals, and avoid consuming an excess amount of sugary foods. Eat more fruits, vegetables, greens, proteins, and healthy fats.
In addition to helping with weight loss, exercise and good nutrition can help normalize your body’s use of insulin, as well as help regulate hormonal imbalance.
Complications caused by PCOS
If you have PCOS, inform your health care provider immediately upon learning you’re pregnant. Your OB-GYN or health care provider can work with you on becoming healthier so you can lower your risk for complications during pregnancy, including baby birth defects.
PCOS can increase your risk for the following complications during pregnancy:
- Miscarriage. Women with PCOS are three times more likely to have a miscarriage than women without PCOS.
- Gestational diabetes. Babies born to mothers with gestational diabetes can have high birth weight, low blood sugar, and breathing problems. These children are also at higher risk for type 2 diabetes later in life.
- Preeclampsia. Preeclampsia occurs when moms experience a sudden increase in blood pressure after week 20 of pregnancy, and can increase the risk for preterm birth.
- Preterm birth. Women with PCOS are more likely to give birth early, which could lead to health problems in preterm infants.
- Cesarean section. Women with PCOS are at higher risk for C-section deliveries due to the nature of complications that can arise as a result of PCOS. C-section results in a weeks-long recovery, and carries risks for both mother and baby.
CarePoint Health is dedicated to providing you with the individual care and attention you need so you can relax and focus on what is most important — the birth of your new baby. Contact us today to learn more about our Pampered Pregnancy program.
Content on our website is for informational purposes only and does not constitute medical advice. If you are experiencing a medical emergency, please call 911. Always consult your physician before making any changes to your medical treatment.