“I have PCOS and I want to get pregnant. What do I need to know?”
For many PCOS Cysters, the ability to get pregnant is a primary concern. Women with Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS) have a higher level of ‘male’ hormones (also known as androgens) that interfere with the growth and release of eggs from the ovaries (ovulation).
Polycystic ovaries contain a large number of harmless follicles that are up to 8mm (0.3 in) in size. The follicles are undeveloped sacs where eggs develop. In women with PCOS, these sacs are often unable to release an egg, which prevents ovulation. If you can’t ovulate, you can’t get pregnant. Naturally, this can cause a great deal of stress and upset if you’re trying to conceive and even if you’re not trying to conceive.
Although PCOS Cysters may struggle to conceive, having Polycystic Ovary Syndrome does not mean you can’t get pregnant. In fact, PCOS is one of the most treatable causes of infertility in women.
As for any woman, the best way to increase fertility and give your baby the best start in life is to adopt a healthy lifestyle. International, evidence-based guidelines for assessing and managing PCOS show that weight management, sleep, exercise, diet, limiting alcohol, and stopping smoking are the key factors in improving the likelihood of pregnancy.
Let’s break them down, shall we?
Please note that this blog post is not a substitute for official medical advice. If you are concerned about your fertility, suspect you have an underlying health condition, or wish to make dietary/lifestyle changes, please consult your doctor first.
How to Increase Ovulation with PCOS
Modest Weight Loss
Weight gain is a common effect of PCOS. The condition can trigger insulin resistance, which causes the pancreas to overcompensate and produce more of the hormone. That extra insulin promotes fat storage and increases hunger, which can lead to weight gain. Many women with PCOS are overweight or obese, which can exacerbate PCOS symptoms, affect the regularity of the menstrual cycle, and prevent ovulation.
Rapid weight loss isn’t the aim of the game here; that comes with its own health and fertility risks. Instead, aim for incremental weight loss to ease your symptoms and increase your likelihood of getting pregnant. A combination of diet and exercise can help you lose weight at a healthy rate.
Over the long term, it’s smart to aim for losing 1 to 2 pounds a week. This way, the weight is more likely to stay off.
Remember, different weight loss approaches will be successful for different people, so it’s important to follow one that’s feasible and sustainable for you. Check out our weight loss resources, designed especially for PCOS Cysters here.
Reduce Caffeine Intake
So, you wanna up your chances of getting pregnant with PCOS? Well, girl, it’s time to cut back on that daily caffeine fix! While sipping on your favorite latte might give you a temporary burst of energy, too much caffeine can mess with your hormonal balance and hamper ovulation in women with PCOS. Plus, high caffeine intake has been linked to a higher risk of ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome, and we definitely don’t want that! So, swap that triple-shot espresso for a decaf version, or try some herbal teas to keep your baby-making journey smooth and steady.
Easier said than done, I know. But stress is a silent saboteur that can wreak havoc on your body and mind. Studies suggest that there are links between women’s daily stress levels and a lowered chance of pregnancy.
Stress can trigger unhealthy behaviors such as over and under-sleeping, excessive alcohol consumption, smoking, and overeating. It can also irregulate or halt the menstrual cycle. All of these factors can impact your fertility and ability to conceive, not to mention your overall health!
Make sure you’re taking care of yourself by aiming for 8 hours of sleep a night, exercising regularly, and eating nutritious foods. Ideally, you should phase out smoking and alcohol before attempting to conceive as they both have a significant impact on fertility and conception. Needless to say, smoking and alcohol consumption are huge no-nos once you’re pregnant!
We can’t banish stress for good, but we can control our reaction to it. Slow, weighted workouts or going on a walk are failsafe stress-busting techniques, as well as breathing exercises, meditation, and yoga. Try to incorporate these into your daily routine – 20 minutes a day will suffice!
Being active and spending less time sedentary can help with getting pregnant and reduce the risk of ovulation problems. There’s evidence-based research showing that women who do regular, moderate exercise get pregnant quicker than those who don’t.
You don’t have to follow an elaborate exercise routine or join a gym. Even in small amounts, effective exercise raises your heart rate, makes you breathe faster, and makes you feel warmer. You should be able to talk comfortably without gasping for breath.
Walking briskly is a perfect example of moderate exercise, as well as slow, weighted workouts. Lifting weights helps you build muscle, which can keep your metabolism moving even after your workout.
Supplements, my friend, can be a game-changer when it comes to increasing the chances of ovulation with PCOS. Think of them as your trusty sidekick on this fertility adventure! Some key players to consider are inositol, CoQ10, and vitamin D, as they have shown promise in regulating your hormones and improving egg quality. But hey, always consult with your healthcare provider before adding any new vitamins or supplements to your routine. They’ll guide you on the right dosage and help you avoid any potential side effects. So, stock up on those little helpers and prepare your body for some baby magic!
Eating a Blood-Sugar-Friendly Diet
To give yourself the best chance of pregnancy, you’ve got to fuel your body with the good stuff. Keep an eye on inflammatory foods (which, for many, are foods that contain gluten & dairy) and limit foods and drinks that are high in saturated fats and sugars.
If you can’t resist the cravings, just know that it’s not your fault. 80% of PCOS women struggle with insulin resistance, which is one of the root causes of high levels of androgens leading to infertility. Ovasitol (15% OFF prc code 292660) is the most researched supplement for PCOS. It’s made from vitamin B8 and has been shown to improve egg quality and ovulation.
It comes in a 3 month supply because that’s how long it takes for an egg to mature and ovulate, and within those three months, the supplement helps you create a blood-sugar-friendly environment that’s crucial for ovulation. Many women with PCOS who struggle with insulin resistance continue taking it after 3 months until they feel that their cravings and insulin sensitivity are under control.
PCOS Cysters should discover their carb tolerance, as this helps you maintain a healthy weight, reduce insulin levels, and encourage fat loss while aiding menstrual regularity.
Leafy greens, lean meats, fish, fruit and vegetables, and beans and legumes are all nutrient-rich foods that are beneficial when you’re trying to get pregnant.
Manage Your Gut Health
Did you know that your gut can influence your hormones? Yep, that’s right, we’re talking about the complex relationship between your belly and your baby-making journey. By taking care of your gut health, you can enhance your chances of ovulating with PCOS. It’s like creating a cozy environment for your eggs to thrive! Focus on incorporating gut-friendly foods like fiber-rich fruits, veggies, and whole grains, along with probiotic-rich foods like yogurt and kefir. And feel free to get adventurous in the kitchen with fermented goodies like sauerkraut and kimchi. Happy gut, happy hormones, happy ovaries!
Get Enough Sleep
Sleep deprivation can cause all kinds of issues, but it may also affect your fertility and PCOS symptoms. Some studies suggest that women who suffer from getting quality sleep are more likely to struggle with fertility than their snoozing cysters.
An irregular sleep pattern disrupts your circadian rhythm, which could have knock-on effects on your menstrual cycle. What’s more, sleep deprivation can throw your hormones out of kilter, such as the follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH). As PCOS is caused by an imbalance of reproductive hormones, it’s important to regulate hormone levels wherever possible.
Aim for the recommended 8 hours of sleep per night. If you struggle with drifting off, try the following:
- Yoga in the evening.
- Going on a walk during sunset (the colors of the sunset help boost melatonin)
- Turn off your phone/laptop at least an hour before you get ready for bed to avoid excess stimulation.
- Have a warm bath with aromatherapy oil.
- Drink herbal tea like chamomile or spearmint.
- Read in bed rather than scrolling through your phone.
- Consider taking a melatonin and/or CBD supplement.
Be More in Tune with Your Cycle
Okay, let’s get a little Sherlock Holmes-y here! Being in tune with your cycle is crucial for increasing ovulation with PCOS. It’s all about knowing when your body is ready to release an egg and seize that golden opportunity! Start tracking your cycle by charting your basal body temperature (BBT), monitoring changes in cervical mucus (yeah, it sounds weird, but bear with me!), or using ovulation predictor kits (OPKs) to detect hormonal surges. By becoming a fertility detective, you’ll be able to pinpoint your most fertile days and pounce on ’em like a pro. Cue the baby-making dance moves!
Hydrate, Hydrate, Hydrate
Call up your H2O squad and let them know hydration is key! Staying well-hydrated is not just about giving your skin that healthy glow; it also plays a vital role in increasing ovulation with PCOS. When you’re dehydrated, your body may struggle with hormonal imbalances, making it harder for that egg to make its grand entrance. So, sip that water bottle like it’s your new BFF. And if plain water feels a bit blah, infuse it with a splash of fruit for some tasty hydration.
Explore Treatment Options
If lifestyle changes aren’t moving things along and you need additional support, look for a naturopathic doctor who has studied functional medicine. They can help you do a deep dive into your blood work, suggest insemination (iui), and in vitro fertilization, make specific supplement and medication treatment recommendations, and help you investigate your health.
Rev up your ovulation with these tips!
We’ve come to the end of our ovulation-boosting journey, but fear not, for our quest for fertility doesn’t end here. With a little help from assisted reproductive technologies, we can tackle PCOS head-on and stimulate those ovaries like champions! From medications that stimulate the ovary to procedures like ovarian drilling, we’ve explored a world of options to increase our chances of ovulation. So, whether you choose the path of medication or opt for ovarian drilling, remember that you’re not alone in this fight. Reach out to your healthcare provider, join support groups, and lean on your fellow warriors for guidance and support. Together, we can conquer PCOS and embrace our fertility dreams with open arms. Keep pushing forward, and let’s show PCOS who’s boss!