While it’s possible to have a normal pregnancy with PCOS, the condition does increase your chance of complications, including miscarriage and stillbirth.
What follows is a list of possible complications that could arise; it sounds alarming, but there are many treatment options that can decrease your risks (we’ll go on to explain these further down).
Preterm birth is defined as birth between 24 and 37 weeks of pregnancy. The earlier a baby is born, the greater the chance it will need intensive care admission. Preterm birth can also result in breathing, feeding and learning difficulties and developmental delay. It can also lead to the loss of a newborn.
Reduced embryo implantation rate is where there’s an increased chance that a woman’s embryo fails to implant and develop into a pregnancy.
Ectopic pregnancy is the development of a pregnancy outside the uterus. This kind of pregnancy can’t survive and can cause severe blood loss in the mother, in some cases requiring surgery.
Pre-eclampsia is a high blood pressure condition that occurs in pregnancy. In severe cases it can affect all organs in your body as well as the baby’s growth. Pre-eclampsia is associated with preterm birth and stillbirth.
Ovarian hyper stimulation syndrome (OHSS) is a condition in which the ovaries become large and excess fluid collects in the abdomen (resulting in pain and vomiting), and on the lungs (resulting in breathing difficulty). This can require hospital admission for supportive therapy.
Gestational diabetes (GDM) is a condition that occurs when your body is unable to make enough insulin during your pregnancy, which in turn affects how your body manages glucose. This can have a detrimental effect on your long-term health, but can also impact the baby. It can cause preterm birth and breathing difficulty and can affect the baby’s ability to control its own blood sugars when born (it can also develop diabetes later in life). GDM can also increase the chances of the baby being larger, which can cause delivery complications that can require a caesarean.
Optimising your health is absolutely key before trying to conceive. Not only will it improve your chances of conception, but it will also reduce your risk of miscarriage and pregnancy complications.
When you meet your midwife for the first time, it’s important to make them aware of your PCOS as you might need extra monitoring for the above conditions. They can also help you find ways to stay healthy during pregnancy and offer extra care tailored to your circumstances.