Can you get Pregnant with PCOS?
Getting pregnant with PCOS is, everyone knows, difficult. If you don’t fully understand the condition – and complex conditions like this are not always well explained by doctors – then it can feel like a PCOS diagnosis is the same as infertility, but this is not the case. Today we’re looking at this condition to help you understand how it affects your body, and just how you can indeed get pregnant with PCOS.
PCOS and Hormones
PCOS is a hormone driven condition. It starts with your body producing too much insulin (locking it into a feedback loop of insulin resistance, weight gain and insulin overproduction), which in turn stimulates it to produce extra androgens. Androgens are typically thought of as male sex hormones, and the most common one in the human body is testosterone. While they have a part to play in the female body, too high a level can be disruptive, and this is what we’ll see with PCOS.
In the meantime, the weight that PCOS causes you to gain adds a third complicating factor: oestrogen. Again, it’s normal for this hormone to be present in women’s bodies, but as with any substance, too much can be bad for you. Oestrogen is created in your body fat, so as you gain weight, your oestrogen levels rise.
PCOS and Fertility
Between these three hormone excesses, PCOS affects your body’s menstrual cycle dramatically. It means it takes longer for eggs to mature in your ovaries, and delays the point at which they can be ovulated, as your ovaries struggle to note the surge of Luteinising Hormone that encourages them to ovulate. This leads to eggs lingering in the ovaries, causing them to become inflamed. They resemble cysts, which is where the condition gets its name.
This means you ovulate less frequently than other people, and less regularly. With an irregular menstrual cycle, it’s hard for you to predict one of those rarer occasions when you do ovulate, and therefore know when you’re in your fertile window.
Identifying When You Ovulate
Women with PCOS do still ovulate (and there are things they can to try and ovulate more frequently, from taking fertility drugs, or working with dietary supplements, diet and exercise to try and reduce the level of insulin produced in their body) and it’s important to identify when that is, as far in advance as possible. This means you can try to conceive in the days running ul to ovulation, when you have the best chance to succeed.
Measuring your Basal Body Temperature could give you an answer – this is a predictor for ovulation that doesn’t rely on your hormones, meaning it can’t be masked by the background disruption of PCOS. An advanced fertility monitor can make this easier, by recording your temperature for you, ad processing it into a prediction of your next fertile window and connecting to an app to make sure you know what’s going on in your body!