BY Team Veera
Whether it is your first pregnancy or a new addition to your family, getting pregnant can feel like an overwhelming experience. Especially if you have PCOS, it is even more important to take care of your symptoms and your health and work in close association with your doctor.
However, with PCOS, it can feel tricky to understand if the missed period is a sign of pregnancy or not. Although it can feel like a guessing game, there are some things you can do and some signs to keep a watch for, if you are trying to conceive with PCOS.
Pregnancy Symptoms if you have PCOS
The main sign of pregnancy is missing your periods in two or more consecutive cycles. You may also experience other early signs of pregnancy along with missed periods – however, this can vary among women.
Having missed a period does not always mean that you are pregnant. Menstrual irregularities can also rise due to poor diet, sedentary lifestyle, certain medications, and even conditions such as PCOS.
Apart from irregular periods, there are other pregnancy symptoms too that can be an early indication. Some women may experience all, others can experience just a few and some may not experience anything at all.
- Light bleeding
- Breast tenderness
- Nausea and vomiting
- Mood swings
- Food aversion
- Frequent urination
Since many of these symptoms are also commonly seen in other conditions as well or can also be a result of taking birth control pills or stress – so these symptoms don’t always mean pregnancy. If you are experiencing these symptoms, speaking to a doctor is the first step.
Pregnancy Tests With PCOS
Getting a home pregnancy test done is usually the first step in knowing if you are pregnant or not. The early signs of pregnancy can vary – some women may experience it within days of conception, while some may not have any symptoms weeks after a positive test.
When To Take A Home Pregnancy Test with PCOS
If you think you are pregnant or have missed your periods, you should take a test. Home pregnancy tests usually detect a hormone called human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG) in your urine. This test is quite simple and involves placing the dipstick in collected urine or adding a few drops of urine to the stick. Although you can take the test as soon as you have missed your period, it is recommended that you wait for at least one week after you have missed your periods to get accurate results. This is because hCG can take up to a week to rise to detectable levels. If you get a negative test, but you think you might be pregnant, take the test again after a week or speak to your doctor.
hCG levels can also be measured by a blood test but you’ll need to visit a diagnostic center to get the test done.
Does PCOS affect pregnancy test results?
PCOS can sometimes make it difficult to understand if you are really pregnant. This is because missed periods are a common symptom of PCOS and also an early sign of pregnancy. If you are planning on starting a family, regularising your periods first can not only make it easier to track ovulation but also improve your chances of conceiving. PCOS will not affect the accuracy of your pregnancy test results but simply relying on the signs of pregnancy can make it difficult to understand whether you are pregnant or the symptoms are of PCOS itself.
False-Negative Pregnancy Tests While Conceiving Pregnancy
Although home pregnancy tests are quite accurate, it is sometimes possible to get a negative result even when you are actually pregnant. This is called a false negative pregnancy test. There are a couple of reasons why this could happen:
- The test kit is expired or you did not follow the instructions of the kit properly
- You took the test too soon. hCG levels can take some time to rise and be able to be detected in your urine. If your first test has come to be negative, repeat the test again after a week. If you cannot wait this long, you can also get a blood test done.
- Drinking a lot of liquids before the test can also dilute the hCG hormone. It is recommended to get the test done first thing in the morning
False Positive Pregnancy Test with PCOS
Although this is a rare occurrence, it might be possible to get a positive home pregnancy test even though you are not actually pregnant. This is called a false positive pregnancy test. This can happen if you’ve had an early pregnancy loss or are taking fertility medications that contain the hCG hormone. Sometimes issues with ovaries or an ectopic pregnancy can also give false results.
What Are Chances of Pregnancy with PCOS?
It can be encouraging to know that women with PCOS have had the same number of children as those without PCOS. Some women may require assistance and some have also been able to conceive naturally.
It is recommended and desirable to start family planning early – as this will leave you with enough time to make the required lifestyle changes, explore different treatment options, and reduce the risk of age-related infertility which starts around the age of 35.
Speaking to your doctor is the first step in understanding your treatment options. Depending on your age, symptoms, and other lifestyle factors – your doctor can chart out the best course of treatment for you. The earlier you start managing your symptoms, the better the treatment outcomes. So despite what you have heard, you have an equal chance of getting pregnant as anyone else – the key is to get prompt medical care and manage your PCOS symptoms before you plan on getting pregnant to reduce any future complications.
How to increase the chance of Pregnancy with PCOS
Making the required lifestyle changes is the first step in managing your symptoms. Remember that PCOS does not make you infertile but the irregularity in periods can affect your ovulation cycle which can, in turn, make it difficult for you to get pregnant.
Eating a healthy balanced diet, along with regular physical activity, stress management, and getting good quality sleep can help improve many symptoms of PCOS. Although there is no one polycystic ovaries diet, you should follow a diet that is rich in whole foods and has limited amounts of processed or sugary foods. In some women where making only lifestyle changes is not sufficient, medications may also be prescribed. Birth control pills and metformin can help in treating the hormonal imbalance. Certain ovulation induction medications such as letrozole can help stimulate ovulation and increase your chances of pregnancy.
Since menstrual irregularities are one of the most commonly reported symptoms of PCOS, it can be difficult to predict ovulation. Before you plan on getting pregnant, focus on regulating your periods and taking control of your symptoms so that your chances of conceiving with PCOS successfully increase.