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PCOS and Pregnancy

Women with polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) have trouble ovulating, making it difficult to become pregnant. And when a woman with PCOS does become pregnant, she has a higher risk for certain complications, including miscarriage, gestational diabetes, and premature delivery. However, researchers are currently studying how the medicine metformin can prevent or reduce the chances of having these problems.

Is It Harder to Get Pregnant With PCOS?

Yes -- the main fertility problem for women with PCOS is the lack of ovulation. Even so, her husband's sperm count should be checked, and her tubes should be checked to make sure they are open before fertility medications are used.
Clomiphene (pills) and gonadotropins (shots) can be used to stimulate ovulation. It should be noted, however, that women are at increased risk for multiple births when using these medications.
In vitro fertilization (IVF) is sometimes recommended for PCOS treatment to control the chance of having triplets or more. Metformin can be taken with fertility medications and helps to make women with PCOS ovulate on lower doses of the fertility drug.

Will Losing Weight Help?

Maintaining a healthy weight is another way women can help manage PCOS. Since obesity is common with this condition, a healthy diet and physical activity help maintain a healthy weight, which will help the body lower glucose levels, use insulin more efficiently, and may help restore a normal period. Even losing 10 percent of your body weight can help make your cycle more regular.

Pregnancy Risks Associated With PCOS

Certain complications seem to occur at a higher rate in women with PCOS. These include:

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Last reviewed by: Arthur Schoenstadt, MD
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