What are the Ripple Effects of PCOS on Pregnancy

Globally, the prevalence of PCOS is between 2.2% and 26% of women, and is linked with type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure and heart disease, according to an article by the National Health Portal. Further, it may be difficult to get pregnant because hormonal imbalances impair the release of eggs. Although it is not impossible to conceive, PCOS pregnancy has a higher risk of developing complications. The good news is that managing the symptoms with medication and lifestyle changes can help you have a healthy baby. However, it is important to understand the adverse impacts on pregnancy to seek timely medical intervention.

Metabolic Syndrome

This condition affects 33% women with PCOS. It can lead to cardiovascular problems, psychological complications and even cancer. Fortunately, this can be managed by losing weight and lowering cholesterol and blood pressure. Otherwise, it can interfere with fetal growth and also cause gestational diabetes. In this, the child may have trouble breathing or low blood sugar levels.

Premature Birth

PCOS pregnancy is associated with greater odds of birthing a preterm baby with only 20-27 weeks of gestation, according to an article by the National Center for Biotechnology Information. Preeclampsia is a common condition in which the blood levels are suddenly elevated, leading to your body swelling after the 20th week into pregnancy. If not treated, this can lead to placental abruptions and premature babies.


Women with PCOS symptoms are three times more likely to have a miscarriage than women without the condition. It happens mainly because PCOS affects the uterus lining due to insulin resistance. Further, high concentration of male hormones like androgen and testosterone in the plasma can also abort the pregnancy. In fact, it becomes quite difficult to achieve and retain the baby full term and some women suffer from recurrent miscarriages.

High Blood Pressure

There is a link between PCOS and hypertension. In this, the pressure can exceed 140/90 mm Hg before pregnancy. As a result, the blood flow to the placenta is reduced and the baby receives less oxygen and nutrients than usual. These complications can restrict growth and lead to weight loss and premature birth.

Low Apgar Score

An Apgar test is performed on the newborn just a few minutes after delivery. This helps determine how well they survived the entire delivery process. The heart rate, effort to breathing, skin color, muscle tone and reflexes are examined by nurses. The scores are usually from 0 to 1 depending on the child’s health. Children born to women diagnosed with PCOS usually have a low score at 5 minutes. Side effects like weight gain and hair growth can be managed with medications. You can also work with your obstetrician and gynecologist to get the required medical care before, during and after pregnancy to stay risk-free throughout.

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