“Polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) is one of the most common female reproductive disorders; affecting approximately 10% or more of women worldwide. PCOS is a big deal because it can lead to infertility and other health problems. The common symptoms associated with PCOS are irregular or no periods and anovulation (meaning you don’t ovulate, or ovulate rarely), increases in androgen hormones (like testosterone) and luteinizing hormone (which usually kicks off ovulation, but is persistently high in women with PCOS), and in some cases, insulin resistance and obesity. There is currently no “cure” for PCOS, just management of symptoms.” – Dr. Erin Burke, PhD
My PCOS Story
I was diagnosed with PCOS since I was 16 years old. I was obese back then and my period was irregular. It took almost five (5) years for me and my husband to have a baby. But praise God, right now we have two cute kiddos. My eldest is Belle and my youngest is Bonbon.
When I was a teenager, I thought that it’s very easy for a woman to get pregnant because in my environment that time, I saw a lot of women even teenagers who were impregnated easily even though they still do not have husbands and they don’t get regular sexual activities. Some were even impregnated on one occasion of sexual activity.
But, boy, during the time that we really want to conceive, it was really tough. Added to that, were the comments of the people around me who were asking me, why was I not getting pregnant? They told me things like; “you should have babies while you are still young. If you get older, for sure that you will be having a hard time conceiving.” There were even harsh comments like;
Why don’t you have babies yet? You should have a baby. You have a husband! If you cannot give him a baby, maybe other girls will do.
Hearing those comments regularly tore my heart. I also want to be pregnant; to have a child of my own. It’s just that, I just can’t get pregnant as of that moment. I hope that they could understand that feeling when every month, you are hoping for the two red stripes to show on the pregnancy test. I hope that they could feel that frustration you’re having every time your monthly period comes. It was not so easy.
So if you are one of those who are doing this to someone, stop. Instead of asking a woman who is suffering from infertility, when will she get pregnant, ask her about her desire of having a baby. Ask her about how many babies is she praying for and pray with her. I mean, because of these comments, I came to a point wherein I was already questioning myself, why I couldn’t have a baby? I envied those people living inside the cart (kariton) along Quirino Avenue, they have so many babies. They have no fertility doctors, no vitamins, no fertility kit and I believe they are not also doing the different fertility sexual positions( well how can they do that, they are sleeping inside the kariton) but still they have babies, right?
I was already crying, asking myself, ” what was wrong with me?”
For several years, our dear family and friends were praying for us to have a baby. I was sad but still hopeful. During the time when I was crying because of the harsh comments that I was getting, I dreamt about having two kids. In my dream, Jesus was standing with my kids. The eldest was a girl who looked exactly like me. The youngest was a boy who also looked exactly like my husband. Lo and behold, it’s right! The morning after I dreamt about these two kids, I confirmed it with the bible and the Word of God for me that time was:
I held that promise in my heart for few more years. While waiting for our bundles of joy to come, these are the things I did to help me get pregnant despite PCOS.
Things I Did to Get Pregnant
1. Hold on to God’s Word Every Day of my Life
Every day and night I fill my mind and my heart with God’s promises so that His Word is planted in me. When discouragements and temptations come, it functions as an automatic reminder that God is faithful.
Your kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, and your dominion endures through all generations. The LORD is trustworthy in all he promises and faithful in all he does. – Psalm 145:13
2. Visit my doctor
I was informed that women with PCOS are prone to high blood pressure, heart disease, high cholesterol, endometrial cancer, and type 2 diabetes. That is why visiting my doctor was very vital to me. She’s doing a physical checkup on me, vaginal ultrasound to check on the status of my ovaries and she gave me pieces of advice and health plan to lessen the risks that come with PCOS.
I was advised by my doctor to lose weight since I was overweight during that time. She said that the percentage of getting pregnant when you are overweight and most especially when you are obese is very low. Added to that are the complications if you get pregnant such as the risk of miscarriage, hypertension, gestational diabetes, difficulty in delivery, heart dysfunction, etc. Being overweight and obese will also produce an unhealthy baby. So to increase the percentage of me getting pregnant, she advised me to lose weight at least 5 %. So I decided to ditch some of my favorite foods and decided to lose weight.
The diet that was prescribed to me by a nutritionist during that time was a low-carb and low-sugar diet. With this diet, I lost around 20 kilograms prior to getting pregnant.
- Green leafy vegetables
- High fiber foods like chia seeds
- Fatty fish like tuna, sardines, salmon, mackerel, etc but I only eat galunggong and milkfish because I only eat those kinds of fishes. I just supplemented myself with fish oil.
- Fruits like apple, grapes, berries, etc.. But just be aware that you will have to eat a maximum of 5 pieces of grapes because its sugar content is very high. If you will eat ripe mango, the nutritionist said that you can only eat one side of it a day and nothing more. It is too sugary. Avocado is good as well as strawberries and oranges.
- Beans like munggo.
- Eggs and chicken breast
- Nuts like almonds and walnuts. I love peanuts but it is irritating my gallbladder.
- Chia seeds and flax seeds
- Spices like onions, ginger, and turmeric
- Drink a lot of water, apple cider vinegar with water and coconut water,
Foods to Avoid
- Refined carbohydrates, such as mass-produced pastries and white bread.
- Fried foods, such as fast food.
- Sugary beverages, such as sodas and energy drinks.
- Processed meats, such as hot dogs, sausages, and luncheon meats.
- Solid fats, including margarine, shortening, and lard.
- Excess red meat, such as steaks, hamburgers, and pork.
- Too much caffeine, if you are to drink coffee, the maximum is 3 cups a day.
4. Exercise and stretching
My husband was on board during that time so I had a lot of time to exercise. But when you are trying to get pregnant, you just need the right amount of exercise around 5 hours a week. If you over exercise, it will also decrease your chance of getting pregnant.
As for me, I jogged for 30 minutes twice a week, I did swimming for 1 hour a week, brisk walking every day for 15 minutes and stretching for 15 minutes every night. I watched videos to help me with these.
5. Take Supplements
Aside from eating healthy foods, I also took supplements to help me with PCOS such as:
- Folic Acid
- Fish Oil
- Vitamin D
6. Get Enough Sleep
Since I was a night owl before, it was so difficult for me to sleep early at night. But for the sake of having a healthy body so I can have a baby, I disciplined myself to sleep from 10 PM to 5 AM every day.
There are a number of benefits we can get from sleeping. Enough and quality sleep helps the body repair itself. It keeps the heart healthy, reduces stress, prevents cancer, improves memory and thinking, makes you more alert, helps you lose weight and reduces the risk of depression.
Health Guide states that the quality of your sleep directly affects your mental and physical health and the quality of your waking life, including your productivity, emotional balance, brain and heart health, immune system, creativity, vitality, and even your weight. No other activity delivers so many benefits with so little effort!
7. Reduce Stress
Since I was working on board ship prior to getting pregnant, my doctor told me I have a lot of stress hormones in my body and I need to reduce it if I want to get pregnant. I really can’t understand her during that time because I was not feeling stressed or pressured at that time. I don’t know, maybe my body was accustomed to stress that it cannot distinguish the occasions when I am under stress or not.
Well, I should admit that activities and work on board ship are stressful because most tasks are manly in nature and added to that are days and nights that you can’t sleep because ports are a few hours away from each other. I experienced this usually in China, Japan, Africa, and Europe. I can’t sleep for 36 hours. Although I get 6 hours straight of rest every day, I can’t sleep because I was too tired. The scenario was always that I was trying to sleep and before I know it, it is time to work again.
WebMD says that several recent studies have found links between the women’s levels of day-to-day stress and lowered chances of pregnancy. For example, women whose saliva had high levels of alpha-amylase, an enzyme that marks stress, took 29% longer to get pregnant compared to those who had less.-
“Your body is smart, it knows that (periods of stress) aren’t good times to have a baby,” says Domar, a longtime infertility researcher who also is the director of mind/body services at Boston IVF.
Added to that is the constant stress in thinking of when will I get pregnant.
But you should not do this. Just relax. God will give you the baby when you are ready. Just do your thing and God will also do His. Trust in Him, He is faithful.
I reduced stress through sleeping early, doing the right exercise, right diet, pampering myself and reminding myself of God’s promises and that He is good and faithful.
8. Monitor Ovulation
To monitor ovulation, my doctor prescribed to me ovulation test strip. By identifying more fertile days before ovulation, you’ll have a better chance of getting pregnant. I used this as well when we were doing Natural Family Planning after giving birth to my firstborn.
The Bottom Line
PCOS can’t stop God’s plan for your life. Always choose to believe in His promises despite all the negative things and situations that you are currently experiencing right now. In His time, He will show you that He is faithful.
In the meantime, while waiting for your baby, you can prepare yourself by reading and holding on to God’s promises, visiting your doctor, eating the right diet for you, doing the right exercise, taking supplements, getting enough sleep, reducing your stress and monitoring your ovulation.
Thanks for visiting my space in the web. If you have suggestions that will help women with PCOS, write them in the comment box. We would love to learn from you.
Through all of these, I give God all the glory and praise!