How does polycystic ovarian syndrome affect a pregnancy?

Q: I have PCOS. What should I be concerned about?

A: PCOS is polycystic ovarian syndrome and affects up to 5% of all women.  The biggest hurdle for women with PCOS is getting pregnant.  This is because having PCOS interferes with your ability to ovulate regularly.  Once a woman with PCOS does conceive, there are two main risks.  The first is an increased risk of miscarriage during the first trimester.  For unknown reasons, there is a slightly increased miscarriage rate in women who suffer from PCOS.  If you are taking Metformin (glucophage) while you conceive, it is most often recommended that this medication be continued through the first trimester to help decrease the risk of miscarriage.  The second risk is that of developing gestational diabetes.  Gestational diabetes is seen in about 4% of all pregnancies, but is seen more commonly in women with PCOS.  Particularly if you are overweight or over the age of 35, you should have the screening test for gestational diabetes done earlier in your pregnancy (it is normally done between 24 and 28 weeks), even as early as the first trimester.  Rest assured though, despite these increased risks, most women who have PCOS and become pregnant, go on to have normal, healthy babies.

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