Did you know that September is Latina Health Awareness Month as well as National Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS) Awareness Month?! Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome is the most common cause of female infertility. While I haven’t experienced infertility first hand, that’s not to say I didn’t experience difficulties with my pregnancies. Some of which had me reflecting on whether PCOS is a condition I was at risk of having. Especially since 50% of women with PCOS don’t even know that they have the disorder even though it is a common condition and seen frequently in Latin American women. Luckily, CCRM (Colorado Center for Reproductive Medicine) can help women who are experiencing infertility due to PCOS.
Nayelli, our first daughter, was a complete surprise. My pregnancy was normal but I particularly remember that she was breached and having to go through a procedure to get her into position. I honestly think I took for granted the difficulties that could come when planning a pregnancy. Because four years later my husband and I decided to try for a second baby—a pregnancy that didn’t come so easily.
It took a few months to conceive and while we decided not to look into it, I’ve always wondered what caused the delay? After learning about PCOS and the prevalence of the disorder in Latina women, I can’t help but wonder if it could have resulted in us taking months to get pregnant. Especially because PCOS means that the body goes through anovulation (not regularly releasing an egg).
A few months after trying, we finally conceived and had a normal pregnancy, but I failed the glucose test, which meant that I was facing gestational diabetes. At birth, she experienced inhaled meconium which put her at risk of having her airways blocked. Thankfully, her doctors acted accordingly and she’s been a healthy little one. A bit more about PCOS…
Some of the signs of PCOS include irregular menstrual cycles and signs of androgen excess (increase in male hormones like testosterone) such as acne or irregular hair growth. And it’s important to know that PCOS can act like a pre-diabetes where women do not process blood sugar correctly. This can be a cause for women to gain weight that can be very difficult to lose. The increase in fat then leads to an even further increase in androgen levels which makes it even harder to ovulate and become pregnant.
Treatment for PCOS typically involves weight loss in women that are overweight through a low carbohydrate diet and prescribed metformin to aid in processing carbohydrates (sugars) and help with weight loss. Birth control pills can be helpful to lower androgen levels and control acne and irregular hair growth in women who are not trying to conceive.
While medications like clomid and letrozole can be given to help with ovulation (releasing an egg) in women who want to become pregnant, pregnant women with PCOS are at higher risk for developing gestational diabetes which can be harmful to both mom and baby. This is why continuing good nutrition throughout your pregnancy is key to reducing this risk.
CCRM (Colorado Center for Reproductive Medicine) is dedicated to delivering leading patient outcomes for people who want to have a baby, which is a relief to women who have PCOS and are experiencing struggles with their fertility. Their industry-leading approach to fertility research and treatment offers prospective parents the fastest path to the healthiest baby. Plus, CCRM’s physicians partner with each individual patient to develop custom-tailored analyses and treatments to help ensure the best outcome possible.
CCRM is the industry’s leading pioneer in fertility science, research and advancement, offering access to a national network of award-winning physicians, a full suite of fertility services, innovative technology and cutting-edge labs. If you have been diagnosed with PCOS, don’t give up because there are options. Motherhood is one of the most gratifying experiences a woman can have and you should give yourself the opportunity to have children.