If you are having trouble conceiving, you might have polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), which is actually a fairly common component for disrupting a woman’s potential fertility. This medical condition interferes with normal ovulation, lowers the quality of your eggs, and even lessens your womb’s ability to successfully receive an implantation. PCOS also contributes to miscarriage.
But the good news is, that you can still achieve a healthy pregnancy with the right targeted approach. Today we’re focusing on what you can do to become pregnant even with a diagnosis of PCOS.
What You Can Do
-Observe your metabolic health: Since obesity and insulin resistance negatively affects fertility for women dealing with PCOS, your egg quality can be poor, your embryo development disrupted and your uterus not being as receptive as it normally would. But dropping just 5-10% of your body weight can make a huge difference, especially if lowers stomach fat!
-Consume a diet that is PCOS-friendly: If you are overweight (or insulin resistant) you can improve your health and promote fertility by focusing on the following food groups to improve insulin sensitivity and lower inflammation:
–Leafy green vegetables like spinach, kale, arugula, romaine lettuce, dandelion greens, chard and parsley are rich in calcium, iron, potassium, magnesium. Vitamins K, C and E and essential B vitamins (B2, B3, B5 and B6) are also vital to boost hormone balance and fertility.
-Brightly colored vegetables rich in antioxidants that help lower oxidative stress like red and yellow bell peppers, sweet potatoes, tomatoes, carrots and eggplants.
-Fruit filled with phytonutrients, vitamins, minerals and fibers like limes, strawberries, grapefruits, lemons, cantaloupes, pears, oranges, watermelons, blueberries, apples and kiwis.
-Healthy fats and essential fatty acids that maintain cells, and boost hormonal balance and weight management, like seeds, nuts, avocado, olive oil and oily fishes like tuna and salmon.
-Lean organic meat like poultry (chicken and turkey).
-Healthy carbohydrates like whole grains, legumes, nuts, seeds, fruits and starchy vegetables.
Note: If your diet isn’t particularly healthy, consider supplementing with minerals and vitamins that promote fertility, like methylated folate and iron. Vitamins A, C, D, E, and K along with B vitamins (particularly B6 and B12) and calcium, iodine, magnesium, zinc, selenium, copper, and chromium are also vital.
-Daily exercise: This promotes fertility (like ovulation) especially if you are currently overweight and dealing with PCOS. Consider doing resistance (strength) training and aerobic activity if you can. But remember, any moderate exercise can help!
-Managing stress: Women who have PCOS release high levels of cortisol when stressed out, which also promotes insulin resistance and leads to an accumulation of unhealthy fat in the stomach and thighs. Mindfulness meditation is a great stress reliever, as are guided relaxation exercises and cognitive behavioral therapy that lower anxiety.
-Monitor your menstrual cycle: Noting changes in your basal body temperature and cervical mucus lets you know when you’re at peak fertility and using ovulation predictor kits can help.
-Seek medical intervention: While the steps above can help younger women dealing with PCOS by using diet and lifestyle changes to increase ovulation, they can also take time to see results. If you are on a biological countdown you may want to enlist the help of fertility intervention sooner. Egg quality is at its highest during your late twenties and slows down quickly after your mid-thirties, impacting your fertility. Once you reach your 40s, achieving pregnancy becomes harder and medical assistance can be beneficial.
Our Utah Fertility Center team of professionals and board-certified Reproductive Endocrinologists are ready to help you make the most out of your fertility journey. Whether you have PCOS or another form of infertility, we can offer you hope and options. We welcome you to call 801-785-5100 to learn more or to schedule a consultation.