Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) affects 8-13% of women of reproductive age.
However, despite the condition being one of the commonest causes of female infertility, many women still conceive and have a safe delivery with the condition.
In addition, it’s possible to manage PCOS symptoms even after childbirth thanks to available supplements for PCOS and other interventions described in this article.
What Is PCOS?
PCOS is a leading cause of infertility in women of childbearing age. The ovaries of women that have the condition are filled with follicles that deter the secretion of reproductive hormones. In addition, the hormonal imbalance caused by PCOS often leads to irregular or absent ovulation, which reduces the patient’s chances of conception.
Some of the other symptoms that characterize this condition include:
· Irregular periods or no periods
· Painful periods
· Acne breakout
· Excessive hair growth or hair loss
· Weight gain
Women with PCOS also have an increased risk of developing type 2 diabetes, depression, sleep apnea, and high blood pressure.
PCOS Symptoms After Childbirth
Although women with PCOS often have difficulties conceiving, many successfully get pregnant thanks to ovulation treatment.
If you’re pregnant and have PCOS, you may wonder how you’ll manage the condition postpartum.
Notably, there is no cure for PCOS; after delivery, the condition’s symptoms will often return and sometimes worsen. This might lead to serious complications that may affect the mother and the baby.
The good news is that the condition can be managed symptomatically with the right care. Some symptoms that can pose a risk to a woman with PCOS postpartum include:
Most women with PCOS are obese or overweight. Managing your weight postpartum is crucial. If you have PCOS, excess weight can lead to insulin resistance, leading to diabetes. Being overweight can also lead to hypertension.
A common symptom of PCOS is hormone imbalance. This symptom can get worse after giving birth. Your progesterone and estrogen levels will most likely decrease after childbirth, but you’ll experience an increase in oxytocin. Besides, you might have a hard time getting used to a lack of sleep or the responsibility of caring for a newborn. Unfortunately, these changes, if not well managed, can lead to postpartum depression, especially for those with PCOS.
Some mothers with PCOS struggle with breastfeeding due to low progesterone levels, usually linked to low milk supply. Further, a rise in androgens will often affect prolactin, the hormone that drives milk production, leading to a decline in milk supply. Further, the high insulin levels in mothers with PCOS will often decrease milk production.
Managing PCOS Postpartum
Managing the above PCOS symptoms postpartum is important to safeguard your health and your baby’s.
Some of the measures you can take to manage PCOS after giving birth include:
1. Eat a Healthy Diet
Limit the intake of processed and high-sugar foods. Eat more fresh fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean proteins, and low-fat dairy. Eating healthy after your pregnancy will help you maintain a healthy weight and also increase your milk supply
2. PCOS Supplements
You can incorporate PCOS supplements into your diet to help manage your hormones and boost your milk supply. Other supplements, such as zinc, also help reduce cholesterol levels. Examples of notable PCOS supplements you can try out include:
· Vitamin B
· Vitamin A
· Folate B9
As always, check with your doctor first before including the above supplements in your diet.
3. Keep Fit
Moving your body will help reduce weight gain and can also help with postpartum depression.
Exercises such as swimming, yoga, Zumba, biking, walking, kickboxing, lifting weights, and sit-ups can help you stay healthy after childbirth
4. Get as Much Rest as Possible
If you’re feeling overwhelmed by the responsibilities of caring for a newborn, you need to reach out to your support system. Ask someone you trust to look after the baby for a few hours so you can get time for yourself.
Additionally, ensure you’re getting enough sleep. Get naps when your baby is sleeping, or ask your partner to take over feeding the baby at night so you can get some rest.
Taking care of your health postpartum is crucial if you have PCOS. Hopefully, after reading this article, you now know how to manage your symptoms so that you can enjoy the journey of being a new mum.
Remember to always see your doctor if your PCOS symptoms get out of hand so you can get the right support and treatment.