Getting pregnant with PCOS may present some challenges, but it is not impossible! It is important to understand which type or category of PCOS you may fall into. There are four types of PCOS that someone may fall into. They include:
- Classic Polycystic Ovary Syndrome
- Classic Non-Polycystic Ovary Syndrom
- Non-Classic Ovulatory PCOS
- Non-Classic Mild PCOS
If you aren’t sure which type of PCOS you may have, some of the symptoms you have can help identify the type. Keep in mind that your physician will have to properly diagnose you, but there are some things you can do on your own.
Symptoms Of PCOS
Depending on your particular case of PCOS you may still ovulate. I know with my initial PCOS diagnosis, I ovulated regularly, but was considered insulin resistant and had polycystic ovaries. Some women may show signs of insulin resistance, polycystic ovaries, annovulation, and increased male sex hormones. Having all of those symptoms typically mean you have Classic PCOS.
Getting Pregnant With PCOS
Even with classic PCOS, getting pregnant is still achievable. You may just have to work a little harder. If you aren’t already on medication for insulin resistance, you may want to speak to your provider regarding your options. You can also help reduce insulin resistance with proper diet and exercise.
In some cases, ovulation predictor kits may not work properly for women with PCOS because some women will have higher levels of LH (luetinizing hormone) at any time throughout their cycle making it difficult to determine a surge. The best way to combat this dilemma is by charting your basal body temperature. While you will not be able to predict ovulation, you will be able to confirm that ovulation actually happened. If you don’t like charting, there are fertility monitors that do work with PCOS. However, they are a more expensive alternative.
Unfortunately, if your periods are irregular you may have longer cycles to track. If you are missing your cycle altogether, it is important to seek the proper medical treatment in order to bring about a period. If you are experiencing anovulatory cycles due to hormonal imbalances, you may try soy isoflavones for ovulation. They are a more natural alternative to Clomid. FertilAid is also a great supplement to help regulate hormonal imbalances.
Even if you do decide to take supplements or seek medical treatment, it is important to implement serious lifestyle changes. With PCOS a healthy diet and exercise is a MUST. Not only does exercise help regulate our hormones, it helps reduce stress levels. Stress is a big factor in infertility because infertility affects us emotionally. You need to have some form of a relaxation technique in place to help you through the rough times.
Stress increases the level of cortisol and cortisol promotes insulin resistance which is the opposite of what your body needs in order to become pregnant. So whether you exercise, meditate, or get a manicure, it is important to find techniques that help you lower your stress levels.
Actively Trying To Get Pregnant
Once you have started your cycle, you are ready to start temping or using a PCOS friendly fertility monitor. You can read about how to chart your cycle here. If you are taking a fertility medication such as Clomid, you may have decreased or hostile cervical mucous. A fertility friendly lubricant like Preseed can help. You can also take guaifenesin to help loosen cervical mucous.
Guaifenesin is found in cough syrup to help loosen the mucous in our chest. The theory is that it will have the same effect on our cervical mucous. However, avoid cough syrups with “DM” as the DM will dry you up. If you aren’t sure about using the cough syrup, a fertility friendly lubricant will do just fine. Next is when and how to do the deed!
This is where the fun stuff begins. I am a firm believer in the Sperm Meets Egg Plan (SMEP) when trying to conceive. You can read about this method here. Despite popular belief of having sex everyday is best, it is actually better to do the deed every other day for sperm quality. Assuming there is no male factor fertility issues, having sex every other day will do just fine.
With SMEP, you have sex every other day beginning on the 8th day of your cycle. Once you receive a positive OPK, you will have sex three days in a row skip a day and then have sex again. If you are charting instead of OPK’s, SMEP presents some challenges as you cannot predict ovulation. So doing the deed every other day is still best in this situation!
Don’t Give Up
It sounds cliche, but don’t give up or lose hope. You are in good company! While it may be harder to get pregnant, it is not impossible. There are plenty of success stories out there for couples that were able to conceive naturally with PCOS. Make sure to consult your physician and devise a plan that works best for you. If you aren’t getting answers or feel that you aren’t receiving the care you deserve, speak up. You are your best advocate!