One of the most commonly known symptoms of PCOS is infertility. This is probably because it’s one of the most difficult side effects for Cysters to work through. Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) alters our hormone balance, and proper hormone balance is essential for conception and healthy pregnancy. However, PCOS hormone balance isn’t the only pregnancy challenge we may face!
Age is another factor that can work against us when trying to conceive. And, the age of peak fertility may surprise you, since trends show women are waiting longer and longer each year to conceive. If you were planning to try for a baby later in life or are currently trying to conceive, do you need to be concerned about your age?
Today, I’m dedicating this post to the optimal age of getting pregnant with PCOS. We’ll explore risk factors for waiting too long to conceive, and we’ll discuss how you can boost your fertility despite PCOS challenges. Here’s how age affects fertility:
Is There A “Best Age” To Get Pregnant With PCOS?
Studies show that if you’re a woman with PCOS, you’re most likely to get pregnant before 35. However, you’re most fertile before 30. If you’re past 30, know that your chances are still good until about 32, when there’s a slight decline in fertility. After 37 there is a much sharper decline, so if you’re planning to have kids, definitely try to get your pregnancy journey in before 37, if possible.
Though the ideal age for getting pregnant scientifically might be before 32, I understand that there are a lot of other factors that contribute to your readiness to have a baby. If you find yourself past the recommended age, don’t give up on your fertility journey! See a fertility specialist and follow the tips below to increase your chances of having a baby.
Effect Of Age On Fertility
As we age, our bodies age too—including our ovaries and eggs. First of all, you have a fixed number of eggs when you’re born, and they decrease as you age. Plus, the eggs that remain later in life have a much greater chance of containing abnormal chromosomes. Your pregnancy all-around has a greater risk of complications if you’re over 35, including preeclampsia, gestational diabetes, high blood pressure, twins, premature birth, painful labor, and more.
Older women are also more likely to develop fibroids, endometriosis, and tubal disease, which can negatively affect fertility on top of the struggles you’re already facing with PCOS. However, we all know about those miracle babies who are born despite the odds! If you want to get pregnant and are past the ideal fertility age or you’ve been trying to conceive for more than a year, see a specialist to get a fertility evaluation and discuss fertility treatments. There are options!
You can also work with a naturopathic doctor who can dive deep into your lab work and see if hormonal issues are contributing to your ability to get pregnant. This is important because having PCOS means you may have insulin resistance, which negatively impacts our fertility. Once it is addressed, managed and reversed, this could help improve your fertility.
How To Increase Chances Of Fertility With PCOS
As I’ve said, there is hope for any woman with PCOS to get pregnant—no matter her age or symptoms! Below, I have some methods to increase your chance of getting pregnant with PCOS. Not only should the listed lifestyle changes increase your chances of conceiving a child naturally, but they will likely improve other PCOS symptoms as well. This will make your body a healthier place for you and your future baby. Here’s what you can do:
First off- if you’re having trouble getting pregnant with PCOS, it’s not your fault. PCOS happens because of a combination of genetic & environmental factors, and a side effect of having PCOS is gaining weight. So many health professionals are insensitive toward this fact and I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard people say that they were told to “just lose some weight if you wanna get pregnant.” The reality is that having PCOS makes it so difficult to lose weight, so it’s not your fault.
With that being said, there’s always something we can do about it. Women with PCOS who are overweight usually struggle with insulin resistance, the culprit of the weight gain. Insulin resistance is when your body produces extra insulin to keep your blood sugar at safe levels. However, these high insulin levels have also been linked to increased production of all three sex hormones, estrogen, androgen, and progesterone. Insulin resistance also contributes to weight gain in the mid section.
When the balance of all three of these sex hormones increases, there’s a chance you may not ovulate at all or the quality of eggs produced will be diminished. (PCOS has also been found to decrease egg quality.) So, to help you increase fertility and ovulation, manage your insulin resistance. Consider taking an Ovasitol supplement to help improve egg quality, ovulation and insulin sensitivity.
If weight loss has been difficult for you in the past, trust me, I understand! (Read my story HERE.) But, you’ve come to the right place: Download The Cysterhood App where I can help get you get on track with a PCOS friendly lifestyle, so you can lose weight and feel like your pre-PCOS self again.
Stress can also increase insulin resistance, which we’ve already observed, can harm fertility. However, stress can also ramp up your blood pressure, which could possibly increase your risk of miscarriage according to this study. Taking steps to bring your stress levels down through mindful techniques, prioritized self-care, and lifestyle changes can be helpful in increasing your chances of conceiving!
Prioritize quality sleep.
Insulin resistance is a term you’ll read a lot today! Getting crappy sleep has been shown to increase your insulin resistance, which, again, throws your sex hormones off balance as your increased insulin encourages the overproduction of certain sex hormones. This can delay or cease ovulation.
Research also suggests that our natural sleep rhythms help our bodies maintain a regular menstrual cycle. When we don’t sleep well, sometimes ovulation isn’t triggered, and you may encounter overall more menstrual irregularity if you haven’t been maintaining a good sleep schedule. Taking steps to improve your sleep hygiene can have a big impact on your fertility and overall PCOS symptoms.
However, this can be difficult since women with PCOS are at greater risk of sleep disruptions like insomnia and sleep apnea. I have a whole post on how to get better sleep with PCOS (and a podcast episode), so definitely check those out. Some ideas include sticking to a sleep schedule, getting outside, and avoiding screens before bed!
Exercise more often.
Regular exercise hits all the big fertility concerns: It can help balance hormones, improve insulin sensitivity, better sleep, and reduce stress. Plus, it can help you lose weight too! This makes getting active great for your fertility goals!
It’s important, though, if you have PCOS to do the right workouts. Many of us don’t want heart-pounding, intense workouts that’ll increase stress hormone production, which is hard to bring back down for PCOS women. Instead, opt for exercises like yoga, slow-weighted workouts, pilates, walking, and light cardio. Learn more about the best exercises for PCOS here.
Try a gluten- and dairy-free anti-inflammatory diet.
The foods we put into our bodies can have a huge impact on our health, for better or for worse! The right diet can help you reduce insulin resistance, lose weight, and support proper hormone balance. I recommend a gluten- and dairy-free anti-inflammatory diet for all my PCOS Cysters to try, and you can read more about that HERE.
If you download our app, you can get regular meal plans with delicious food that helps your fertility journey! There is even fertility boosting foods for PCOS that you can integrate further into your healthy diet.
Consider helpful supplements and vitamins.
Even if we have a healthy diet, getting all of our body’s nutritional needs is tough! Luckily, supplements and vitamins can help fill the gaps where we’re deficient. Some of the best fertility supplements for PCOS include CoQ10, inositol, vitamin D3, and omega-3.
You can hit a lot of the big fertility supplement needs with my Ovafit Metabolism Plus supplement line! Of course, make sure you consult a doctor before starting any new supplements. That way, you can determine what dosage is right for you!
Cortisol is also known as our “stress hormone,” because it’s what is produced when we are stressed. When we’re overwhelmed and stressed out, our cortisol levels go through the roof and instead of being alert and focused, we get anxious and wired. If you continue overproducing cortisol, you’ll experience adrenal fatigue as your body struggles to keep up with the demand for the stress hormone. This is often why people feel tired and on edge.
What does this all have to do with caffeine? Well, caffeine stimulates that same system. It encourages the production of cortisol to keep you alert. But, if you’re already experiencing adrenal fatigue, that caffeine will make you more tired and more anxious! Remember, stress isn’t great for fertility, and neither is an imbalance of hormones from an overproduction of cortisol! Consider reducing your caffeine intake to manage stress levels.
Track your cycle.
Tracking your cycle can be helpful for women with PCOS. If you’re struggling with infertility, there’s a possibility you may not be ovulating at all or not ovulating when you think you are. Purchasing ovulation test strips will help ensure you know exactly when it’s time to try for that baby!
A Cyster & Her Mister Fertility Podcast Episodes
- How to Improve Fertility with PCOS with Dr. Nadia Pateguana!
- How to Master Your Cycle & Fertility with Author Lisa Hendrickson-Jack!
- Q&A + How To Improve Fertility with PCOS + Guess This Food
- PCOS & Pregnancy: Fertility, Gestation, Postpartum with Dr. Loriana Soma
The best age to get pregnant with PCOS is before 30, but don’t give up hope!
I truly wish a happy and healthy pregnancy for all of you Cysters! Even when the odds seem stacked against you, don’t throw in the towel. There are lots of ways you can naturally reverse your PCOS and increase your odds of conceiving.
For more PCOS naturally healing tips, browse our past blog posts and podcast episodes. And, if you need support through your TTC journey, download The Cysterhood App. Together, we can encourage each other and be ready to celebrate when that test finally reads positive.