PCOS and Pregnancy Symptoms

Pregnancy Symptoms For Someone With PCOS

Polycystic ovarian syndrome, or PCOS, is one of the most common fertility challenges among menstruating women. While women with PCOS can get pregnant, it is often much more difficult and they face a higher risk of miscarriages and other complications.

When a woman with PCOS does conceive, pregnancy symptoms will be no different than usual. The difficulty, however, is detecting the pregnancy in the first place.

Missed Period

Most women on a regular cycle will take note of a missed period, as this is usually the first indication of pregnancy. Women with PCOS, however, tend to have wildly irregular periods. Missing cycles is common to both PCOS and pregnancy – in fact, a woman with PCOS may go months without a regular period – so a woman with PCOS may not even notice a missed period. For this reason, missing a cycle is rarely a good indicator of pregnancy in women with PCOS.

Nausea

This may be one of the first noticeable pregnancy symptoms for a woman with PCOS. A missed period may pass unnoticed, but if you begin to experience nausea, vomiting and greater sensitivity to smells, it may be time to take a pregnancy test. This “morning sickness” will generally kick in a few weeks after conception.

Fatigue

Most pregnant women feel extremely tired throughout the first trimester of their pregnancy. This is also common in pregnant women who have PCOS. Higher progesterone levels are partly to blame for this fatigue, though it may also be due to lower blood pressure and low blood sugar.

Cramping and Spotting

This is another symptom that will often go unnoticed by women with PCOS, as cramping and spotting may occur regardless of pregnancy. Some women with PCOS experience regular pelvic pain due to cramping in the uterus, though the cramping associated with early pregnancy will be slightly different and is caused by the egg attaching to the wall of the uterus. The pain will likely be less noticeable than PCOS-related pelvic pain, and both the cramping and spotting should clear up fairly quickly.

Sore or Sensitive Breasts

This symptom is common to all pregnant women, though it may be a more significant indicator for women with PCOS. As a pregnancy develops, the body undergoes hormonal changes and the milk ducts in the breasts begin to prepare for milk productions. If your breasts are tender and are growing heavier, this is a good indicator that you may be pregnant.

Weight Gain

Some weight gain during pregnancy is normal; however, women with PCOS should view sudden or rapid weight gain as a warning sign. Women with PCOS are at greater risk of developing complications during pregnancy, including high blood pressure and gestational diabetes. Either of these conditions can cause excessive or rapid weight gain, so pregnant women with PCOS should monitor their weight carefully.

If you have been diagnosed with PCOS and are experiencing an unusual spike in your weight during pregnancy, it’s very important to discuss potential complications with your doctor. Keeping your weight under control and working closely with your doctor to monitor your weight can minimize the risk of complications due to hypertension or gestational diabetes.

Tags:

2 Responses to PCOS and Pregnancy Symptoms

  1. Evelyn on January 13, 2013 at 10:36 pm

    Hi Jennifer,

    I was recently diagnosed with PCOS, but I’m wondering if I might be pregnant. I’m experiencing a lot of the symptoms you wrote about (i.e. sore breasts, fatigue, missed period, and spotting); however, I’ve taken a home pregnancy test and it came back negative. Might I actually be pregnant? If not, why would I be experiencing all of these symptoms?

  2. Jennifer Myers on January 16, 2013 at 11:36 pm

    Hi Evelyn,

    Please view my medical disclaimer.

    Home pregnancy tests are quite accurate nowadays. The reason for your symptoms is likely due to the hormone imbalance in your body. Women with PCOS typically have pretty crazy imbalances in their estrogen and progesterone levels, and this sometimes leads to pregnancy symptoms. Some women with PCOS even call this “PCOS-PG” because it happens so often – and is so misleading. In your case, too much estrogen in your body is very likely the culprit for the symptoms you’re dealing with.

    Some women with PCOS choose to go in for a blood test to get a solid confirmation on whether or not they are pregnant, but a blood test isn’t much more accurate than a home test. If the home pregnancy test came back negative, it’s unlikely that you’re pregnant. You could take another home test, but if you get another negative, your pregnancy symptoms should begin to subside fairly soon.

    I hope this helps,

    Jennifer