PCOS through pregnancy and postpartum

Did you know that PCOS can be caused by hormones that are out of balance or that it can also be related to genetics? According to the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, approximately 3-10% of women will experience PCOS in their lifetime (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6266413/).

Wondering how PCOS can affect pregnancy and postpartum? A couple of weeks ago we talked to Naturopathic Doctor Julia Segal in Toronto about fertility support with those who have PCOS. This week at our naturopath clinic in Toronto we are talking to her about how PCOS can affect those throughout pregnancy as well as the postpartum period. We look at how naturopathic medicine can help women through this time in their lives. 

What happens when you have PCOS and are pregnant?

Many women with PCOS forget about it once they achieve pregnancy.  It’s actually very relevant to pregnancy and postpartum if there is insulin resistance associated with it. This is simple to test for in the blood.  During pregnancy, higher fasting insulin levels predispose to gestational diabetes and preeclampsia. 

How can PCOS affect you during the postpartum period and how can naturopathic medicine help?

 During postpartum, insulin resistance may reduce breast milk supply. This will increase the chance of thyroid disorders which are already more common in postpartum women.  Continuing naturopathic care throughout pregnancy and postpartum is a wonderful way to track and optimize these crucial aspects of your physiology. 

 In addition to supplements that are safe for your particular stage of the fertility/pregnancy/breastfeeding journey, nutrition is something our naturopaths work with all our patients on. They will help to optimize insulin levels.  Nutrition for each trimester of pregnancy as well as the “fourth trimester” or postpartum, ought to look quite different.  For example, higher protein intake in the third trimester of pregnancy is important. However, the first trimester and immediately postpartum are times to enjoy a bit more carbs and focus on healthy digestive habits.  

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