Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS) and Pregnancy – An Overview Of Complications

4 min read

PCOS and pregnancy
Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS) is one of the most common hormonal disorders seen in reproductive females around the globe, affecting 12-18% women in their reproductive ages. PCOS affected females are more prone to risk and complications throughout pregnancy. It is seen that infants born to polycystic mothers are at the risk of spending initial days in ‘neonatal intensive care unit’. Pregnancy related complications such as pre-eclampsia are very frequent in PCOS females.

PCOS and Pregnancy

Polycystic ovary syndrome complications are multiplied by the fact that some women with PCOS do not have visible cysts on their ovaries, and some women with cysts in their ovaries do necessarily have PCOS. Because women affected with PCOS have produce more than normal male hormones, called the androgens, which in turn affects their periods and ovulation capacity. A PCOS woman may become pregnant naturally, but largely speaking; many infertility problems are also related to PCOS. The unpredictability over menstruation and ovulation makes it tough to get pregnant.Read all about Polysystic Ovary Syndrome(PCOS)

Complications Related to Pregnancy of PCOS Women

If you get pregnant while having PCOS then you are at the risk of following complications:


Early loss of pregnancy or miscarriage is common in PCOS women. PCOS women are three times more prone to miscarriage as compare to women not having it. Some experts believe that metformin administration can mitigate the threat of miscarriage but further research is required to prove it.

Gestational diabetes-

Gestational diabetes is a kind of diabetes seen exclusive in expectant women. This diabetes is curable and can be treated. The condition recuperates on its own soon after the birth of the baby. The babies of such mothers are usually large in size and require caesarean section for delivering the baby. Females with gestational diabetes and their babies are predisposed to the threat of diabetes type 2 in later course of life. More about gestational diabetes during pregnancy


Pre-eclampsia is defined as an abrupt rise in blood pressure after 5th month of pregnancy, and can adversely affect the liver, kidneys and brain of the mother. Pre-eclampsia advances to eclampsia if left untreated. Eclampsia is associated with seizures, organ damage and even death. Preterm delivery of the baby is also common in pre-eclampsia affected women. Usually caesarean section is done for delivering the baby in such females.

PIH-Pregnancy induced high blood pressure

PIH or pregnancy induced high blood pressure is also common in PCOS females. This medical condition is characterized by rise in blood pressure particularly in the second half of pregnancy. If not properly treated, the condition can progress into preeclampsia. The increased blood pressure can negatively affect the birth of the baby. Read all about Gestational Hypertension here

Preterm birth-

Preterm birth or premature delivery of the baby is also common in women with polycystic ovarian syndrome. Preterm infants are those infants that are born prior to 37 weeks of pregnancy. They are vulnerable to the risk of various health hazards both at the time of birth and also later in life. Some health ailments can even prove to be fatal for them.

C-section delivery-

Cesarean or C-section delivery is frequent in females with PCOS because they are prone to be affected by pregnancy related complications like PIH (pregnancy induced hypertension). Being a surgical procedure, a woman undergoing C-section takes more time in reverting to normal condition as compared to the one having vaginal delivery. This long healing time carries risk both for the mother and the baby.

Facts about PCOS pregnancy:

    • According to nutritionists diet plays a important role in coping up with PCOS and enhances your chances of becoming pregnant and even staying pregnant
    • PCOS suffering women are prone to have deranged sugar levels and becoming insulin resistant, your pancreas start secreting more insulin which in turn produces more quantities of testosterone
    • Regular exercise regime, balanced diet and stress controlled life are the best ways to keep your hormones within normal limits and mitigate the symptoms related with PCOS
    • Drugs like clomiphene and metformin can induce ovulation and support pregnancy. Extensive researches are going on in finding out the role of metformin in decreasing the risk of pregnancy associated issues in PCOS females
    • If these fail, gonadotrophins are advised but they can over-stimulate the ovaries and result in multiple pregnancies
    • Laparoscopic ovarian drilling-a surgical procedure done to treat PCOS
    • Last of all IVF is the treatment of choice

An important point to keep in mind is to control your weight during pregnancy. As stated above PCOS increases your chances of falling prey to pre-eclampsia, gestational diabetes, PIH and to have a big sized baby.
Get yourself thoroughly screened regularly throughout pregnancy and do not hesitate to consult your obstetrician for any minor thing.
If you are affected by PCOS and are expecting, consult your doctor and discuss what all you need to do to have a safe and secure pregnancy and ultimately delivery.

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