Unfortunately, many women are unaware of having PCOS until trying to conceive. Not only does PCOS increase the risk for pregnancy complications, but the condition also raises the risk of fertility challenges.
What is gestational diabetes?
Gestational diabetes occurs when women have too much blood sugar during pregnancy. About 7% of women in the US develop gestational diabetes. Although many women with the condition do deliver healthy babies, there are significant risks associated with gestational diabetes. Women who develop diabetes during pregnancy are more likely to need a c-section, have high blood pressure, deliver an unusually large baby, or experience postpartum depression.
The good news is that there are strategies women can use to manage PCOS and lower risks. Eating healthy and maintaining an ideal body weight are two strategies that can be effective. In some cases, a doctor may prescribe medications to help manage PCOS or related conditions.
Optimizing your pregnancy
Women diagnosed with gestational diabetes will need to start doing blood sugar checks. Usually, these checks must be completed before meals, 1-2 hours after eating, and at bedtime. A doctor can give guidance about targeted glucose levels and warning signs. A dietitian may also teach women to count carbohydrates, the macronutrient that’s predominant in foods like pasta, bread, or potatoes. Women may need to limit the number of carbohydrates consumed to keep blood sugar in check.
What else can PCOS cause?
Women who have PCOS don’t just have an increased risk of diabetes. The condition also increases the risk for heart disease, sleep apnea, high blood pressure, and stroke. Although experts don’t know exactly why, the condition is also linked to an increased risk of anxiety and depression.
Having a healthy pregnancy
Proper treatment from a healthcare provider can help women with PCOS manage a successful pregnancy. Although there are risk factors, the most critical step is identifying and managing these risks. The best thing women with PCOS can do is optimize health before getting pregnant. Eat healthy, exercise regularly, and take all medications as prescribed. For more information about having a healthy pregnancy with PCOS, speak with a healthcare provider.