Big news: We are expecting our first baby in February!
When Colin and I first started talking about TTC (“trying to conceive”), I got some serious PCOS anxiety. No matter how well-informed you are, the emotional reality of TTC with PCOS can be a bit heavy.
I wanted to stay positive and manage my stress, so I took my own advice: I started focusing on taking action.
You see, the best way to move out of the painful cycles of wondering and worrying is to start taking some simple actions. The five steps below helped me transform from a worried PCOS patient to an empowered mother-to-be.
My hope is that by sharing my experiences, you will feel empowered create a preconception action plan of your own.
First Steps to TTC
1. Refocus your fitness goals
It’s best to learn your way around the gym before you become pregnant. Consider starting a workout program. Women who are more fit have healthier babies and shorter labor. (Shorter labor?! Yes, please!)
Have you been pretty relaxed with your diet lately? Now is the time to fine tune your nutrition! As fertility specialist Dr. Marc Kalan told us, “maintaining a BMI below 30, ideally a BMI of 25, will make becoming pregnant and having a healthy pregnancy much easier.”
2. Track your cycles
I used the fertility app Glow to track my cycles and it was so easy!
It’s helpful to have few months of your cycle tracked when you have your preconception appointment with a gynecologist.
3. Schedule a preconception check-up (for you and your partner)
Even if you are just thinking about TTC, schedule a preconception check up with your health care provider now. When PCOS is part of the picture, it's best to be proactive about your fertility. One appointment with your physician could spare you months of TTC without success. Plus, your physician can screen you for any additional complications.
Be your own advocate by reminding your physician that you have PCOS and are at risk for diabetes, cardiovascular issues, and thyroid problems.
Inquire about the following blood tests: HgbA1c (for risk of diabetes), Free Testosterone (to ensure your sex hormones are balanced), Blood Urea Nitrogen (BUN; for kidney function), Alanine Transaminase (ALT; for liver function), C-Reactive Protein (CRP; for cardiovascular issues), full thyroid panel, and B-12 and Vitamin D levels.
Schedule a check-up for your partner too. Healthy parents make healthy babies!
4. Audit your supplements
Switch to a prenatal vitamin.
The March of Dimes recommends that expectant moms get 200 milligrams of DHA each day. DHA is an acid found in fish oil and other Omega-3 rich foods. If you decide to take fish oil, choose a small bottle of high-quality fish oil that had been independently tested for quality. Do not buy more fish oil than what you can use in a month or two because fish oil can go bad. You can keep it in the fridge or freezer to extend freshness.
Check every supplement you’re taking to make sure it is approved for use in pregnant women.
Regardless of your family plans, I recommend only using supplements that have been independently tested for quality. Look for an NSF or GMP seal on the bottle or check your products at ConsumerLab.com.
5. Get support
When you have PCOS, TTC can feel pretty overwhelming. There is no reason you should have to go through this alone! Reach out to a friend you can relate to, or find a support group so that you have somewhere to share your concerns and feel heard.
Go online to find support. The advocacy group PCOS Challenge hosts several fertility related forums.
I’m a certified Personal Trainer and Nutrition Coach. I also happen to have Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome. I help guide guide women living with PCOS toward a lifestyle that gets their symptoms under control so that they have the time, energy, and confidence to thrive. My tips, plans, programs, and guides cover all the information I wish I had when I was first diagnosed.