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Can I Get Pregnant with PCOS?

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Can I Get Pregnant with PCOS?

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Women with polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) can become pregnant, with the right treatment and a healthy lifestyle.

Medically reviewed by

Dr. Chithranjali Ravichandran

Published At May 16, 2017
Reviewed AtMarch 18, 2024


PCOS (polycystic ovaries syndrome) is quite challenging and frustrating. Most women do not seek help until they get menstrual irregularity and have a problem getting pregnant. The good news is, that with the right treatment and healthy lifestyle, women with PCOS have a high chance of getting pregnant. Before understanding the treatment options for this problem, firstly understand what PCOS is, what causes it, how it causes infertility, and how is it treated.

PCOS is a common hormonal imbalance disorder among women of childbearing age. Approximately five to 10 percent of women are affected by this disorder in their reproductive years. The exact cause of PCOS is unknown yet, but a genetic factor and hormonal imbalance are believed to play a role.

What Are the Symptoms of PCOS?

The signs and symptoms of PCOS are as follows:

  • Excessive growth of unwanted hair

  • Menstrual irregularity

  • Acne

  • Weight gain

  • Pelvic pain

  • Thinning of hair

  • Mood changes &

  • Infertility

If left untreated, PCOS can cause long-term health problems like diabetes, hypertension, and heart disease.

How Is PCOS Diagnosed?

There is no specific diagnostic test for the condition. The doctor might diagnose it through signs and symptoms, past medical history, pelvic ultrasound, and certain hormonal tests. On an ultrasound, the ovaries can be seen enlarged with multiple small cysts.

How to Get Pregnant With Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS)?

Getting pregnant with PCOS is challenging, but it is not impossible. The strategies that can improve fertility in individuals with PCOS are described below:

  • Maintain a Healthy Weight: For overweight or obese women with PCOS should lose their weight. This will improve hormone levels and increase the chances of pregnancy.

  • Adopt a Balanced Diet: Women having PCOS should eat a balanced diet, such as fruits and vegetables to maintain insulin and blood sugar levels.

  • Regular Physical Activity: Women having PCOS should engage in regular physical activity to maintain their weight and hormone levels.

  • Monitor Ovulation: Tracking ovulation by using ovulation tracking kits may help in the identification of fertile time in the cycle for timing intercourse.

  • Manage Stress: Women should do relaxation exercises or may take counseling to manage their stress levels. This may be beneficial.

  • Supplements: They should take some supplements, such as vitamin D and omega-3 fatty acids to maintain hormone balance. This may enhance fertility.

What Are the Chances of Getting Pregnant With PCOS?

The chances of getting pregnant with PCOS vary among women and are based on several factors, such as age and other fertility issues. PCOS is the major reason for infertility in women due to irregular or absent ovulation. However, with appropriate treatment and management strategies, many women with PCOS can conceive. Women above the age of 30 have a decreased number and quality of eggs and so, have lower chances of conception as compared to younger women. Women with PCOS, who are trying to conceive should consult with their healthcare provider to develop a personalized treatment plan and optimize the chances of getting pregnant.

How Does PCOS Affect Fertility?

Many women with PCOS have high insulin resistance in their bodies. Insulin is the hormone that converts food into energy and causes the absorption of sugar by cells, thus controlling the blood sugar level. Insulin resistance is when the body's cells do not respond to the hormone. So, the insulin level becomes higher than normal.

Another effect of insulin is to act on ovaries to make them produce androgen. Androgen is a male sex hormone that women's bodies also produce but in lower quantity. In PCOS, higher levels of insulin cause ovaries to produce androgen in higher quantities. These higher levels of insulin and androgen interfere with the growth and release of eggs (anovulation). This is how women get a problem in getting pregnant, this hormonal imbalance causes failure of ovulation, and without ovulation, women cannot get pregnant.

How Is PCOS Treated?

In most cases of PCOS, infertility is caused by anovulation (absence of ovulation), the doctor might give medications that would induce ovulation. Before prescribing medications, an individual has to rule out other problems that might cause infertility. The healthcare provider might recommend losing weight, lifestyle changes, and exercise. Adopting a healthy lifestyle and losing weight helps restore ovulation in some women and can increase the chances of getting pregnant without medication.

If the woman does not get pregnant with these changes, then the doctor might suggest the following treatment:

  • Clomifene: Clomifene is a commonly prescribed medication for the induction of ovulation.

  • Metformin: This drug is normally given to treat diabetes, but it can also be given for induction of ovulation alone or in combination with Clomifene.

  • Letrozole: It suppresses the production of estrogen, which in turn causes a high production of FSH (follicle-stimulating hormone). High levels of FSH stimulate the development of mature follicles and induce ovulation.

  • Injectable Gonadotropin: This medication is given by intramuscular and subcutaneous injection to induce ovulation.

  • Ovarian Drilling: This is an uncommon minimally invasive surgical method, which is done by laparoscopy. This treatment primarily is used if medications fail to work.

  • IVF (In Vitro Fertilization): If all the above treatment fails, then the woman can try this.

Not being able to get pregnant with PCOS is quite challenging and stressful at times, but early diagnosis and the right treatment can prevent an individual from too much stress and increase the chances of getting pregnant.

Can PCOS Increase the Risk of Complications During Pregnancy?

PCOS increases the risk of complications during pregnancy. The potential complications are as follows:

  • Women with PCOS are at high risk of gestational diabetes during pregnancy.

  • It is associated with an increased risk of high blood pressure during pregnancy.

  • Women with PCOS are at high risk of giving delivery before 37 weeks of gestation. This may increase the risk of health problems for the baby.

  • Women with PCOS may have a slightly higher risk of certain birth defects in their babies.

  • The other complications during pregnancy can be placental abnormalities and cesarean section delivery.


In conclusion, PCOS elevates the risk of complications during pregnancy. Furthermore, with proper monitoring and management, women with PCOS can have successful pregnancies and healthy babies. It is important for women with PCOS who are pregnant or planning to conceive should consult with their healthcare provider to develop a personalized treatment plan and manage any potential complications. Regular prenatal visits, regular exercise, and dietary modifications may help regulate blood sugar levels. With proper treatment and support, women with PCOS can have successful pregnancies and babies.

Dr. Pari Bansari
Dr. Pari Bansari

General Practitioner


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