The Path to Pregnancy with PCOS: What You Need to Know

By Dr Sharda Ayurveda In Gynae

Ayurveda is well-known for its ancient system of health care. It works on the principle of tri dosha i.e. Vata, Pitta, and kapha which are also the backbone of Ayurvedic diagnostic and treatment principles, including those related to digestion.  Pitta dosha is responsible for digestion and is also connected to agni, or digestive fire. Agni is the gatekeeper of good health, a source of awareness, nutrition, and intelligence. Nearly 40% of the population suffers from digestive disorders worldwide. 

PCOS is a very common yet misunderstood condition that affects reproductive-aged women, where up to 70% of the affected women remain undiagnosed worldwide. From the perspective of Ayurveda, PCOS is often attributed to an imbalance in the Kapha and Pitta doshas, leading to hormonal disturbances. It is a condition in which the androgen level(male sex hormones) increases, which is usually present in women in moderate amounts. Therefore, It is a common hormonal disorder and the leading cause of the formation of small sacs-like fluids, called cysts, that mainly affect the ovaries during reproductive years, presenting a set of challenges such as anovulation.

Due to irregular menstrual periods, PCOS causes infertility. Therefore, Pregnancy with PCOS can present unique complications such as miscarriage, premature birth, gestational diabetes, high blood pressure, etc. making conception more difficult. However, as per Ayurvedic theory, a healthy pregnancy can be attained with appropriate medical management and lifestyle adjustments.

Symptoms of PCOS

  • Irregular Periods are the hallmark of PCOS. It involves infrequent, heavy, or prolonged periods. 
  • Infertility or miscarriage during the phase of pregnancy with PCOS symptoms increases. As a result of irregular periods, the body does not ovulate properly. 
  • Formation of cysts in the ovaries is a common symptom of PCOS. It can affect the inner lining of the uterus. 
  • Thinning of hair on the scalp or even male pattern baldness develops in women with PCOS. 
  • Around 70% of women with PCOS are affected with unwanted hair growth on their face, arms, chest, back, and abdomen due to hormonal imbalances.
  • Acne is a common concern in PCOS that often affects the face, chest, and upper back, and can range from mild to severe.

Ways to Improve Fertility In PCOS

While PCOS can bring a set of challenges and make it difficult to become pregnant, there are various natural remedies available in ayurvedic treatment for PCOS to improve the chances of pregnancy. Here are some strategies to consider:

  • Maintaining a Healthy Weight

According to Ayurveda principles, excess weight can contribute to an imbalance in the Kapha dosha, leading to hormonal disruptions. Therefore, Weight Management helps alleviate Kapha dosha, balances hormones, and enhances fertility. Even a modest weight loss has significant benefits. It is a vital way to manage PCOS-related fertility as only losing 5%-10% of body weight helps restore a normal ovulation cycle and improve the chances of pregnancy. 

  • Balanced Diet 

Diet plays a significant role in increasing fertility and helping manage PCOS symptoms. A highly inflammatory diet can increase androgen levels, which in turn can encourage more insulin production. Therefore, an inflammatory diet will nourish and heal your body by balancing the hormones and blood sugar levels that also help in managing weight. An anti-inflammatory diet includes:

  • Avoiding sugar 
  • Swapping your regular tea or coffee with green tea
  • Eating sufficient fruits, nuts, and vegetables
  • Adding herbs and spices in regular meals (such as ginger, fennel, bay leaves, etc.)
  • Regular Exercise

It is necessary to engage in regular physical activity to manage weight and insulin levels. Physical activity may include yoga, meditation, or deep breathing for at least 30-40 minutes every day, which will not only assist in weight management but will also help manage stress levels. Regular exercise can also include brisk walking or swimming. Practicing regular exercise will significantly decrease the challenges faced during the pregnancy including premature birth, miscarriage, and cardiovascular diseases.

  • Yoga Asanas

Yoga provides a range of physical and mental health benefits. The practice of Yoga asanas can support reproductive organs and hormonal balance. It also promotes stress reduction through techniques like deep breathing and meditation. This can contribute to overall well-being and impact factors such as insulin sensitivity and menstrual regularity. Yoga asanas such as Bhujangasana, Dhanurasana, Supta Baddha Konasana, and Balasana target the abdominal region, potentially regulating hormones. 

  • Herbs

  1. Aloe Vera: It is an extremely beneficial herb as it consists of anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties that might help in restoring the levels of hormones in the ovaries and improving insulin sensitivity, which are relevant factors in PCOS. Therefore, it further assists in regularizing the menstrual cycle and promotes normal menstruation.
  2. Triphala: Triphala is rich in vitamin C, therefore its antioxidant properties might contribute to reducing inflammation. It is also thought to help regulate hormonal balance, improve digestion, and support detoxification.
  3. Fennel: It has potential benefits for managing PCOS due to its anti-inflammatory properties and potential hormone-regulating effects. Fennel also helps in reducing insulin resistance and improving lipid profile.
  4. Shatavari: It is a well-known herb that supports hormonal balance by influencing estrogen levels which further helps in promoting the normal development of ovarian follicles. It also manages Insulin levels.
  5. Ashwagandha: It may help regulate cortisol levels, reduce stress, and modulate hormonal imbalances. Some studies suggest that it could improve insulin sensitivity and support better ovarian function.
For more detailed information on herbs, read how to Manage PCOS Symptoms with these Natural Ayurvedic Herbs.

  • Manage stress levels

Stress and cortisol produced by adrenal glands are known to affect the hormones. Long-term stress can have a negative impact on hormones, insulin levels, and fertility. Therefore, high-stress levels can be a considerable factor that impacts fertility. So, to manage stress hormones, you can practice daily Yoga, Meditation, deep breathing, Massage, or whatever makes you happy.

  • Regular Health Monitoring

Work closely with a healthcare professional to monitor your regular Insulin resistance, menstrual cycles, and ovulation to adjust the treatment plans accordingly. If you track your cycles you will begin to understand when you’re ovulating and where your fertile window falls. 

  • Detoxification

As doshas imbalances lead to the accumulation of toxins(ama) in the body. It is necessary to detoxify the body from within. Therefore, some Ayurvedic practitioners may suggest Panchakarma therapy for detoxification which might help eliminate toxins and balance the dosha. However, the suitability of therapy depends on individual factors and should be supervised by an expert.

Pregnancy with PCOS

PCOS is a common and treatable complicationfor women with fertility issues. Its been very commonly said that PCOS affects pregnancy but having PCOS does not mean natural conception is impossible. The imbalance of androgen hormones interferes with egg release during ovulation which in return brings various challenges during pregnancy. In addition to decreased ovulation and the quality of the egg, it makes pregnancy harder.

Irregular menstrual cycles and being overweight are also the major causes of decreased fertility, Which can further add to conception issues. Pregnancy with PCOS can cause a higher risk of

  • Gestational diabetes
  • C-section
  • Miscarriage
  • High blood pressure

Besides these obstacles, natural pregnancy is possible by taking a few robust precautions and monitoring your health regularly. According to Ayurvedic principles, addressing the underlying imbalances in doshas, particularly Kapha and Pitta doshas, is crucial for enhancing the chances of conception. 

Conclusion

Ayurveda claims that addressing lifestyle factors such as maintaining a healthy diet and regular exercise is a foundation for managing PCOS and optimizing fertility. The key to successful pregnancy lies in collaboration between individuals and healthcare professionals to create a tailored treatment plan. While the path to pregnancy with PCOS treatment may vary for each individual. Therefore, an individual needs to remain proactive throughout their unique journey despite the challenges presented by PCOS. 

Frequently asked questions:

1. Can I get pregnant with PCOS naturally?

Yes, it is possible to get pregnant naturally with PCOS. Ayurveda advises that, with few lifestyle changes, such as a healthy diet and regular exercise, along with addressing factors such as insulin resistance through medication, can improve fertility. 

2. What are the risks of pregnancy with PCOS?

Ayurveda considers that pregnancy with PCOS may pose some risks as PCOS is related to Kapha and Pitta doshas. These might include a higher risk of gestational diabetes, preeclampsia, premature birth, or miscarriage. Close monitoring by healthcare professionals is crucial to mitigate potential complications and ensure a healthy pregnancy. 

3. Does PCOS disappear after pregnancy? 

Ayurveda suggests that PCOS does not typically disappear after pregnancy. While some women may experience temporary relief from PCOS symptoms during pregnancy due to hormonal changes. However, after childbirth, PCOS symptoms may return.

Article By:

Dr Sharda Ayurveda

At Dr. Sharda Ayurveda emphasis is made on treating the patients with the power of Ayurveda and traveling along with them in the path of natural and safe healing. The satisfaction and recovery of our patients is our utmost priority.

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