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Trying to get Pregnant with PCOS

Polycystic Ovary Syndrome is one of the most common challenges to fertility faced by couples in the UK – it’s estimated by the NHS to affect as many as one in five women, but the true number is hard to be sure of. The impacts of the symptoms vary and it’s not a well understood condition in the public consciousness so there may be many more women who have PCOS but aren’t diagnosed.

The word syndrome means that PCOS is a collection of symptoms that frequently occur together, and the driving factor that unites them all isn’t yet understood. Doctors are testing a variety of genetic and environmental factors, and while we don’t yet know with certainty what triggers PCOS we do know how it operates.

The condition appears to be driven by an excess of insulin, the hormone that helps your body control its use of sugars and energy. Too much insulin also causes your body to produce too much androgen. While androgen has its role to play in the female body, too much can cause issues, and between these two hormones the effects of PCOS are generated. They include weight gain, hirsutism, depression and anxiety, and, most relevantly to us, fertility issues. PCOS can cause your ovaries to fail to mature eggs in each cycle menstrual cycle, leading to delayed or even skipped ovulation.

Getting pregnant with PCOS is not impossible, but you need to know how it affects you and make sure you’re compensating for the challenges it presents.

The Two Big Challenges

The main way PCOS impacts your fertility is by affecting your ovulation. It delays when you ovulate or even skips it altogether. This means that you have fewer chances to get pregnant, and it’s harder to know when those rare occasions are when a mature egg is in your system ready to be fertilised.

The challenges you have to face are encouraging your body to ovulate more frequently, and identifying when that happens, so you can ensure you’re trying to conceive when you’re most likely to succeed.

Ovulating More Regularly

There are lots of different ways you can encourage your body to ovulate more frequently and regularly. Fertility drugs can cue your body to ovulate but what most people aim for are spontaneous ovulations, where your body ovulates without the need for medical intervention.

One of the key things you can do to reduce the impact of PCOS on your ovulations is to try to lose some weight. It’s difficult, because weight gain is the one of the effects PCOS has on your body, but if you can shed some of that additional weight and control the sugar in your diet it can reduce the amount of insulin your body produces, which calms all the other effects of PCOS including disrupted ovulation!

Identifying When You Ovulate

Using your basal body temperature gives you a way to identify ovulation that’s not affected by PCOS, like hormone-based testing.

OvuSense makes it easy to use this method, taking away a lot of the labour and inconvenience. Our sensor takes your temperature right through the night for accurate readings of your core temperature at the basal level, and turns it into an ovulation prediction you can trust with a tested algorithm.

Combining lifestyle changes with an accurate way of identifying ovulation can help you counteract the effects of PCOS and boost your chances of getting pregnant!