10 ways PCOS can harm you in pregnancy

Does PCOS affect pregnancy?

Yes! Yes! Yes!

You don’t get PCOS when pregnant, but the root cause of PCOS, i.e., insulin resistance, persists in pregnancy. Especially, if you have taken fertility treatment to get pregnant with PCOS.

These are 10 harms on your way, from polycystic ovarian syndrome to pregnancy.

Low sexual desire

“No ovulation” in PCOS causes a complete disruption of sex hormones. Along with mood swings due to feelings. Like anxiety, depression, insecurity, guilt, jealousy, anger, irritability, constant worrying, and disappointment.

These all can worsen the libido making it hard to maintain a healthy sexual relationship.

Fertility treatments

Irregular periods make most PCOS women go for fertility treatments. PCOS treatment comes with many doctor visits and many blood tests.

Medications prescribed have side effects, and some with no definitive benefit.

Successive vaginal ultrasounds to track ovulation can be very uncomfortable.


Apart from the above discomforts, many stressors are associated with fertility treatments.

Doctors wish the husband to come to the discussion. He has to give a semen sample. You both need to have sex, as informed by the doctor. Many couples go through immense emotional stress during these times.

The anxiety associated with performing worsens when the period is due.


Polycystic ovarian syndrome women are prone to a life-threatening complication called OHSS.

Ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome is when ovaries swell up 3-4 times their normal size. They swell up due to many fluid-filled cysts. They become as big as 8-10 cm each.

There is also a lot of water retention in the tummy, lungs, and body. Apart from the severity, it is also extremely painful.


PCOS women have insulin resistance which by itself is toxic to babies. We can cheat our defense mechanisms to get pregnant. But, we will suffer with the effects of insulin resistance.

PCOS women are not supposed to get pregnant due to the toxic insulin resistance. It is not safe for baby to grow in her. Hence, the ovulation stops in the first place.

That can look like miscarriages in both 1st and 2nd trimester. Apart from that fertility treatments in PCOS increases the chances of ectopic pregnancies.

Any miscarriage is traumatising and it takes a PCOS women forever to get started again.

Multiple pregnancies

When PCOS women get treated for pregnancy, their ovaries make many eggs. And they all can get fertilized.  Many babies get formed. Some may get stuck in all the wrong places producing ectopic pregnancy complications.

Twins, triplets, or quadruplets are all high-risk pregnancies. They, by themselves, have a difficult pregnancy.

Preterm deliveries

PCOS women are at risk of repeated infections which can lead to preterm labor and delivery.

Infections can lead to premature water bag leakage. It can be life-threatening for the mother as well as the baby.

Pregnancy Diabetes

It is almost inevitable if a PCOS woman has not corrected her insulin resistance before getting pregnant.

Pregnancy diabetes is a high-risk complication by itself. It demands regular sugar monitoring, which means lots of needles. They might need an earlier induction of labor.

The baby might need NICU stay, lots of needles, and medications. And worst of all, the child is born with insulin resistance.

Babies born to diabetic mothers are at risk of dental cavities, childhood obesity, PCOS, early puberty, diabetes, and many more.


Pregnancy by itself puts a woman at risk for repeated urinary tract infections. PCOS can put a woman at risk for recurrent and resistant bacterial infections.

The worst of all is a menacing fungal infection. Fungal infections cause recurrent and painful vaginal discharges. After delivery, it causes recurrent painful nipple infections.

Complicated delivery

Most PCOS women would need an earlier induction of labor. They might have big babies or have diabetes, or are delivering early due to infection or a leak, or are twins.

Induction by itself can lead to its complications. Like failed induction, instrumental delivery, difficult baby deliveries, or cesarean section. There can be heavy bleeding or infections after delivery.

They might need prolonged hospital stays or many hospital visits.

We can avoid most of these complications by –

  • losing weight
  • reducing carbohydrate intake
  • sleeping better
  • moving better
  • with a better coping system to manage stressors.

Hear me talk more on a podcast episode where I take this discussion further.

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