PCOS and Unplanned Pregnancy
Unplanned pregnancies can be scary. As a birth mother, you aren’t physically, financially or emotionally ready to have a baby. Add PCOS to the equation and the stress can reach an all time high. Because of this, it’s more important than ever to take the cautious steps to have a healthy pregnancy — especially if you have decided to place your baby for adoption.
Disclaimer: The information found in this blog is for informational and educational purposes only. It is not meant to be taken as medical advice in any way. If you are placing your baby for adoption and have questions or concerns pertaining to any existing health issues, please be sure to consult with your doctor.
What is PCOS?
Polycystic Ovary Syndrome is a hormonal disorder caused by the production of too many androgens in females. The exact cause of PCOS is still unknown, but it’s debated that it comes from a combination of genetic and environmental factors.
Although PCOS has many symptoms, it’s diagnosed when you’ve experienced two out of the following three signs:
- Polycystic ovaries: Ovaries may be enlarged and eggs are surrounded by cysts. This is shown through an ultrasound exam.
- Irregular periods: Infrequent, irregular, or prolonged menstrual cycles are the most common signs and symptoms. You might have abnormally heavy periods, fewer than 9 periods within a year, or more than 35 days between each period.
- Excess androgen: Elevated levels of this male hormone can result in male-patterned baldness, excess facial and body hair (hirsutism), and severe acne.
Other PCOS symptoms include:
- Excessive weight gain
- Pelvic pain
- Skin tags on the neck or armpits
- Sleep apnea
- Dark and thick patches of skin on arms, neck, breast, or thighs
- Fatty liver
- High blood pressure
- Anxiety/depression/eating disorders
There are a lot of symptoms with PCOS and they all sound scary. It’s understandable to be overwhelmed with all the things your body is doing wrong, but don’t let it control you! Although PCOS is incurable, there are healthy ways to manage the severity of your symptoms.
How to Manage PCOS while Pregnant
Pregnancy can be an emotional rollercoaster, especially for women with PCOS. Having PCOS and being pregnant poses some concerns. A higher risk for miscarriage and complications such as gestational diabetes, premature labor and hypertensive disorders are fairly common. It’s important to consult with your doctor on healthy ways to manage your PCOS symptom while pregnant.
The following are a couple of ways you can get started:
- Don’t limit carbohydrates out of fear of gaining too much weight or as a way to prevent diabetes. Although there is currently no evidence that supports this fear, many women with PCOS follow popular internet guidelines that encourage a low-carb diet. As a birth mother, it’s important for the health of you and your baby to consume whole grain carbohydrates. This does not give you the license to eat whatever you want. It’s suggested that birth mothers with PCOS eat 3 meals a day, with 2-4 snacks throughout the day, including one at night. It’s important to be consuming protein-rich foods as they will help stabilize glucose levels.
- Start introducing physical activities after you eat. A simple 10-20 minute walk after meals can help manage your blood pressure and insulin resistance. Exercising will more likely help give you a quicker and easier labor.
- Listen to your body! Don’t over or under push yourself, and always consult with your doctor before implementing a new lifestyle change while pregnant.
- Contact a therapist. Your pregnancy was unplanned and it can bring up a lot of different feelings. Talking to someone about them will help you stay organized and focused.
Will PCOS harm the baby?
Birth mothers with PCOS have a higher risk for miscarriage, premature labor, and gestational diabetes. This form of diabetes can result in the child being larger than average, which can affect giving birth. The majority of pregnant women with PCOS have a C-section, as it’s a safer delivery option for both the baby and birth mom.
If you are having a girl, it’s estimated that the likelihood of her inheriting PCOS is 50%. Remember that this is not your fault, and the majority of women with PCOS live a completely normal life.
By properly managing their symptoms in a healthy manner, many birth mothers go on to have a healthy pregnancy and birth. In the long run, PCOS negatively affects the birth mother a significant amount more than the baby.
PCOS and Unplanned Pregnancy
Having an unplanned pregnancy is nerve-wracking, and even more so when PCOS is introduced. Although PCOS and unplanned pregnancy aren’t the best pair, there are ways to manage them both at the same time, to decrease any risk or harm for both the baby and birth mother.
The most important thing you can do to help you and your child is to talk to your doctor. Get a second or third opinion if you so desire. PCOS isn’t something you can just brush under the rug, and it’s important to manage it properly — especially when you’re pregnant and considering adoption.
For adoption resources or to begin your adoption journey, birth parents can visit us at Adoption Choices of Arizona or call or text us at 1-480-900-5520. If you are an prospective adoptive family hoping to adopt a baby, please instead, visit us here!
Meet the author: Sarah Aguilera, a Northern Arizona University linguistics and creative writing graduate, is an aspiring author with a passion for influencing others through written words. She has a healthy ardor for all things literature and is often found with a book in her hands.
When she’s not working, Sarah likes to spend her free time swimming, playing with her dog, going to concerts with friends and having crazy adventures with her family. Her love for her own family is what pushed her to join the adoption writing team. She looks forward to educating those hoping to grow their family through adoption.