How I Got Pregnant At Age 43 + Lime & Tahini Kale Salad
I still remember the first time I was diagnosed with Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome . On one level I was relieved to have a reason for my irregular periods. But then came the real shock.
Its going to be really difficult for you to fall pregnant naturally.
I was 31 and newly married. It wasnt something I wanted to hear.
But life has a funny way of working out for the best. Even when things seem to be going seriously off the rails.
That marriage didnt work out. For a while I got used to the idea of never having a family of my own. And I was cool with that.
And then I met a certain Irishman.
After a while things were getting serious so I felt I had to share my big fertility problem. I knew he really wanted to have a family so I was pretty much expecting that to be the end of that.
But he wasnt put off. In fact he didnt seem to think it would be a problem.
Now that we have one beautiful boy and another babe due very soon, Im so grateful that this is where we ended up.
Ive really wanted to share my story because I know how frustrating fertility problems can be. And I also know how unhelpful modern medicine can be.
If this can help just one other couple, it will be worth writing.
Of course, if youre already sorted in the fertility department, just skip down to this weeks recipe. Its delicious whether you have a family or not!
How Hard Is It To Get Pregnant
According to the Centers for Disease Control, 12 percent of women have difficulty getting pregnant or carrying a pregnancy to term. This means more than 6 million women in the U.S. struggle to have a baby. The ability to conceive depends on a number of factors such as how often you have sex, whether youre ovulating, your age, and more. Below are a few common questions and answers regarding the ultimate question of why it is hard to get pregnant.
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Making It Difficult To Get Pregnant
Its a very complicated disease, but traditionally speaking, if you are not ovulating consistently every month, then theres a significantly decreased chance for you to conceive. If you dont release an egg appropriately every month then its not going to be possible for sperm and egg to unite to create an embryo. For women with PCOS, its the anovulation that really speaks for the reason for infertility.
“A typical couple who has regular intercourse and does not have to visit a fertility specialist has approximately a 20 percent chance of conceiving each month. Women with PCOS do not ovulate every month, but perhaps only two or three times a year, severely diminishing their chances of conceiving.”
Dr. Abigail Delaney
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Age And Its Effects On Getting Pregnant With Pcos
Women without PCOS who ovulate regularly see a decrease in oocyte count and live birth rate as they age. When these women reach the age of 35-37, their egg count decreases significantly. Since women with PCOS commonly experience ovulation issues and do not release eggs as regularly, they dont see the same drastic decline in fertility as they age. Research has shown that women with PCOS show sustained fertility with advancing age . In this study, women with PCOS between the ages of 22-41 showed stable e oocyte counts and live birth rates. In another study, researchers found that PCOS patients undergoing IVF treatment showed better oocyte and embryo quality compared to normally ovulating women without PCOS who were the same age /].
Pcos And Getting Pregnant
For women with PCOS, the concept of starting a family can feel like it comes with extra challenges. Many women with PCOS struggle to conceive naturally or experience a significant delay due to the absence of a reliable, trackable menstrual period as a consequence of a reduction in ovulation, which is why seeing a specialist early on in your fertility journey is key.
Although not knowing when or if you are ovulating can slow the fertility process down a little, however infertility for those with PCOS can usually be overcome. For example, specialists can stimulate steady ovulation with the right medication.
Often the first step is a simple ovulation check which in some cases may include a blood test done at a clinic during the second half of a womans cycle that will indicate whether ovulation is occurring. If ovulation is erratic or non-existent an ovulation-inducing drug may be prescribed, or the doctor may choose to use a closely monitored injectable or, in more difficult cases, IVF.
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Are There Any Risks Once Im Pregnant
Most pregnancies in women with PCOS will be straightforward with no complications. However, having PCOS and being obese may increase your risk of certain pregnancy-related problems.
These can include:
- miscarriage – while miscarriage is common and might happen to any pregnancy, having PCOS can increase your risk by about 3 times. Your doctor may prescribe metformin to help manage this risk
- pregnancy-induced high blood pressure and pre-eclampsia having PCOS increases your risk of these by about 3-4 times
- gestational diabetes – PCOS can triple your risk of developing this type of diabetes, which only pregnant women get
- caesarean section delivery a higher risk of complications such as pre-eclampsia can make it more likely youll need to have a C-section
/5why Does Pcos Impact Fertility And Lower Odds Of Natural Conception
While PCOS is primarily a hormonal disorder, it can lead to the creation of cysts in the reproductive ducts. With polycystic ovaries, there’s an increase in the production of male sex hormones, androgen, which can further prevent the release of eggs from the ovaries. When you do not ovulate, it can be difficult to get pregnant. The hormonal imbalance can also lead to an increased egg count, and a slower rate of follicle breakdown than the generalized estimates.
Women with PCOS, and suffering from problems like obesity can also face a longer time than usual in conceiving, or require help. Some studies have also found that uncontrolled PCOS can also pose problems for a woman’s heath post conception, and lead to problems like preeclampsia, pregnancy-induced hypertension and gestational diabetes.
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What Are The Symptoms Of Pcos
Some of the symptoms of PCOS include:
- Irregular menstrual cycle. Women with PCOS may miss periods or have fewer periods . Or, their periods may come every 21 days or more often. Some women with PCOS stop having menstrual periods.
- Too much hair on the face, chin, or parts of the body where men usually have hair. This is called “hirsutism.” Hirsutism affects up to 70% of women with PCOS.3
- Acne on the face, chest, and upper back
- Thinning hair or hair loss on the scalp male-pattern baldness
- Weight gain or difficulty losing weight
- Darkening of skin, particularly along neck creases, in the groin, and underneath breasts
- Skin tags, which are small excess flaps of skin in the armpits or neck area
When To Call A Doctor
Doctors recommend that you see a doctor about your fertility if
- You’re 35 years or older and have been trying for at least six months
- You’re younger than 35 and have been trying for at least one year
If either of these fit your situation then see a doctor, even if you have no symptoms of a fertility problem.
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How To Prevent Miscarriages With Pcos
It is often difficult to determine the causes of miscarriage in women with PCOS or otherwise, but one possible cause can be the types of hormonal imbalance associated with the condition. Studies show that miscarriages occur in roughly 30 to 50% of women with PCOS compared with 10 to 15% of women without PCOS.
While there is no single prevention method, making the same kinds of lifestyle changes such as increased exercise and a balanced diet that increase the chance of pregnancy with PCOS may also help to decrease the risk of miscarriage.
Common Signs And Symptoms Of Pcos Include:
- Irregular periods
- Oily skin or acne
- Thinning hair or baldness
The exact cause of PCOS is difficult to pinpoint because all of the symptoms influence and affect one another. Fertility specialists believe that PCOS may be the result of a combination of factors including genetics, health, and lifestyle . Many women are completely unaware they have PCOS until they struggle to get pregnant and seek the assistance of a fertility specialist.
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Should Women With Irregular Periods Panic
Irregular periods are concerning. More so if getting pregnant is on the cards. Missing periods can also be a sign of an underlying medical issue. Theres no need to panic. Take action early. Seek advice from your OB/GYN, as doctors can help increase the chances of a successful pregnancy.
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Reverse Any Insulin Resistance
Women with PCOS have problems with insulin resistance, which means that your blood sugar levels are elevated, as is your insulin level, this increases your risk of having trouble conceiving. Doctors can prescribe Metformin to help, but there are many side effects to this drug to consider. In the first instance, try cutting out sugar and refined carbs from your diet and making sure you get enough protein, fibre and healthy fats and you will see your blood sugar levels and your insulin level drop. Myo-inositol has been proven effective in treating insulin resistance in some PCOS women. The new InofolicAlpha, which contains both myo-inositol and alpha-Lactalbumin, can help reverse insulin resistance even more effectively.
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Body Weight Pcos And Fertility
Obesity and PCOS are connected. Obesity can make the symptoms of PCOS worse and make it harder to become pregnant . Weight loss is usually recommended as a first step for people with PCOS who are overweight or obese and trying to conceive.
Weight loss can increase the chance of ovulation and of having regular periods . Weight loss alone is sometimes enough to restart ovulation, but also increases the chance of ovulation and giving birth when combined with fertility medications compared to using fertility medications alone . Being a healthy weight is recommended for anyone trying to become pregnant to decrease the risk of complications like gestational diabetes, pregnancy-induced hypertension, and preeclampsia.
Weight loss can be difficultâespecially for someone with PCOSâand thereâs no single best way to do it. Often weight loss is encouraged through increasing exercise and decreasing the amount of calories consumed each day. Nutritionists, healthcare providers, and personal trainers can be great resources in achieving weight loss that is safe and effective. Losing weight takes time, but even small changes can make a difference.
What Is The Infertility Rate With Pcos
The infertility rate with polycystic ovaries is very high. these women usually will have difficulty getting pregnant and usually require treatment to improve chances for pregnancy.
Some women with polycystic ovary syndrome will ovulate occasionally others do not ever ovulate. In order to conceive, sperm must find and fertilize a mature egg so we need to ovulate.
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Getting Pregnant With Pcos Using Medications & Intercourse
Ovulation induction is usually the first medical treatment that a patient with PCOS seeking infertility treatment encounters. Ovulation induction involves the use of medication to stimulate ovulation. Ovulation induction using clomiphene or gonadotropins is effective and causes cumulative live birth rates of about 70% . If medications are successful in inducing ovulation, then fertility specialists may recommend starting a timed intercourse cycle. Using gonadotropins with timed intercourse is associated with close to a 70% ovulation rate, a 20% clinical pregnancy rate per cycle, and a 5.7% live birth rate . Gonadotropin treatment is expensive, so it si not common with timed intercourse. Gonadotropins are most commonly used with IUI or IVF because they are associated with higher pregnancy rates for PCOS patients .
For older patients or couples who have been struggling with infertility for a longer period of time, your doctor may skip timed intercourse and recommend either IUI or IVF. Same-sex female couples or women looking to get pregnant on their own with the use of a sperm donor will skip straight to IUI or IVF.
Youre A Man Whose Sperm Count Is Low
You likely know that age, health or medications sometimes affect sperm quality or quantity. But it surprises many men to learn that some common practices can decrease sperm production. They include:
- Taking testosterone supplements.
- Exposing the testes to heat.
The testes are outside of the body for a reason, Dr. Detti says. If they are too warm, either from tight clothing or use of electronics, it can affect sperm counts.
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How Does Pcos Affect Ovulation Tests
With PCOS, ovulation tests are much more likely to give an inaccurate result , as they are not designed to account for the irregularities that can be caused by a condition like PCOS. Because of the hormonal imbalances it causes, women with PCOS can have a consistently high level of LH , which means the surges in LH that are usually detected by ovulation tests may not be accurate.
How Does Pcos Affect Fertility
On average, women with PCOS take longer to fall pregnant than other women. This can be because they have irregular periods which means that they dont ovulate every month. Also, being overweight reduces fertility and can contribute to women with PCOS taking longer to conceive. The good news is that through their life, women with PCOS have as many children as other women.
Although women with PCOS have more fertility problems than other women, they need reliable contraception to avoid unplanned pregnancy.
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Can I Conceive With Pcos
The good news is that the chance of getting pregnant with polycystic ovarian syndrome using fertility treatments is very good. The great majority of women with polycystic ovarian syndrome will be able to have a baby with fertility treatment.
For young women under age 35 with polycystic ovaries, the real question is more about which treatment will be effective and not so much whether any treatment can ever work.
As far as the chances for pregnancy with PCOS pregnancy statistics are difficult to give without knowing the details of the individual case.
Is It Hard To Get Pregnant With Pcos
It can be. Polycystic ovary syndrome is a common issue among women trying to get pregnant. PCOS affects as many as 5 million women. This hormonal problem interferes with a womans reproductive system, causing the body to produce abnormal levels of androgens. Too many androgens result in egg development issues, interfering with the bodys ability to release an egg.
So, yes, PCOS can make it harder to get pregnant however, there are treatment options available. The first step is often to start eating a healthy diet if youre not already following recommended dietary guidelines. The next step is to receive a fertility assessment to determine your condition and potentially receive medication to help with fertility.
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Is It Hard To Get Pregnant After An Abortion
No. In most cases, a previous abortion will not affect your chance of getting pregnant again in the future.
In fact, its actually possible to become pregnant within a few weeks of having an abortion depending on how far along you were. That being said, certain complications have been known to impact fertility after an abortion.
One such complication is scarring of the uterine wall after a surgical abortion. Scarring is a rare occurrence, but it can make it harder to get pregnant in the future. With any abortion, its safest to have the procedure done as early as possible to reduce the risk of complications.
Tips To Improve The Chances Of Getting Pregnant With Irregular Menstrual Cycle
Improve the chances of getting pregnant
First and foremost know that your periods are irregular and consult your doctor to restore the regularity of your periods. The increased ovulation frequency will increase the chances for getting pregnant. Here are some more tips to get pregnant with irregular menstrual cycle.
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What Are The Chances Of Getting Pregnant With Pcos
While there are no hard and fast stats on the chances of getting pregnant with PCOS, about 70 percent of women with the condition struggle to get pregnant. This is likely because they arent ovulating, are ovulating sporadically, or don’t have enough progesterone naturally to support a pregnancy in its early stages.
Fertility Supplements And Vitamins
Many of the vitamins and nutrients found in fertility supplements can also be obtained by eating different foods. It is nearly impossible to ensure your body is getting all of the vitamins and minerals it needs to reduce PCOS symptoms and support reproduction through food alone.
Fertility supplement popularity continues to rise as new research emerges in support of different vitamins and minerals for overall and reproductive health. Studies have shown that certain supplements can have beneficial effects on PCOS-related symptoms such as immature oocytes, hyperandrogenism, and increased BMI .
Inositol is a type of sugar that plays an essential role in many different bodily functions. Inositol is a significant component of cell membranes, it influences insulin production, and it affects chemical messengers in the brain. Poor ovarian response, a symptom of PCOS, is reported in 9-24% of all IVF cases.
Gonadotropin fertility drugs are commonly prescribed to PCOS patients undergoing fertility treatment to increase their ovarian response. Women are considered poor responders if their ovaries dont increase production after taking gonadotropin fertility drugs. Studies have shown that inositol can significantly improve ovarian response in women being treated with gonadotropins . Inositol is especially recommended for low responders and PCOS patients undergoing IVF treatment.
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