Fertility and PCOS


Many women have difficulty falling pregnant, for various reasons. With so many different methods, doctors and opinions, it’s often hard to understand why some women find it harder to conceive than others.

PCOS (Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome) is responsible for 70% of infertility in women according to an article posted on the PCOS Foundation. Perhaps this is something that more women should consider getting checked when looking to conceive.

Read more: PCOS: my journey to motherhood

PCOS: the insulin link

PCOS is a metabolic disorder as a result of hormone imbalances that creates a variety of internally and externally visible symptoms, including irregular menstrual cycles, unexplained weight-gain and difficulty to fall pregnant.

In order to be diagnosed with PCOS a patient has to show two or more of the following symptoms; increased levels of androgen (the male hormone), irregular menstrual cycles and/or 12 or more cysts on the ovaries.  

Although falling pregnant is harder for most women with PCOS, it’s not impossible and with a healthy lifestyle change, more and more women with PCOS are able to conceive naturally.  

Here are some ways to help boost fertility:


Losing weight is a positive step for anyone who wants to fall pregnant.  Low-hypoglycemic foods are recommended as part of a healthy diet for PCOS patients as it helps to regulate insulin levels and your menstrual cycle. Avoid refined carbohydrates like sugar and flour.

Stick to vegetables and wholegrain foods that are produced as naturally as possible. Try eating five, smaller meals a day. This can help increase your metabolism.

Many researchers recommend sticking to organic foods, as conventionally-grown animals contain hormones, antibiotics and other contaminants that contribute to an hormone imbalances in women .

Omegas 3, 6 and 9 are believed to lower testosterone levels in women with PCOS, according to PCOS Diet support.


Physical activity improves your overall health and by maintaining a healthy weight, a balance in hormones is achieved, making conception more likely.

Try to get in 30 minutes of exercise, five days a week. If you have a busy lifestyle and struggle to balance work-life with home-life, little bits of exercise each day can greatly improve your chances of falling pregnant with PCOS.

Quit coffee

Caffeine stimulates the adrenal gland to produce cortisol, the "fight or flight" hormone, but this causes a major decrease in your body’s response to insulin throughout the day. According to the National Infertility Association, caffeine increases the risk of miscarriage and can prolong the length of time it takes to successfully fall pregnant. Furthermore, a woman’s body has to fight harder to break down the components of caffeine in her body when she is pregnant. The process is slower and so her body is more sensitive to caffeine when pregnant.


Medical research has shown time and time again that stress is a big contributor to infertility. Most women stress about getting pregnant, which can also prolong the conception period. Acupressure is a great, safe way to get your mind off of falling pregnant and keep the body relaxed, which is an important part of conception. It is also said to increase blood flow to the uterus and relaxes muscle tissue.  

Consult your Gynaecologist

When you’re ready to start trying to fall pregnant, many doctors prescribe Metformin, a drug used to help to regulate insulin levels, which encourages a regular menstrual cycle. Your doctor might also suggest a fertility drug, such as Clomifene, which helps to stimulate ovulation. If you've been diagnosed with PCOS, you might benefit from sticking to a gynaecologist who specialises in that, rather than being prescribed the wrong treatment for the wrong symptoms.

Are you worried about trying to fall pregnant with PCOS?

We live in a world where facts and fiction get blurred
In times of uncertainty you need journalism you can trust. For 14 free days, you can have access to a world of in-depth analyses, investigative journalism, top opinions and a range of features. Journalism strengthens democracy. Invest in the future today. Thereafter you will be billed R75 per month. You can cancel anytime and if you cancel within 14 days you won't be billed. 
Subscribe to News24
Voting Booth
Should the red carpet portion of SONA be scrapped this year?
Please select an option Oops! Something went wrong, please try again later.
Yes, it's inappropriate given the state of the country
93% - 1609 votes
No, it's part of the tradition
7% - 112 votes
Rand - Dollar
Rand - Pound
Rand - Euro
Rand - Aus dollar
Rand - Yen
Brent Crude
Top 40
All Share
Resource 10
Industrial 25
Financial 15
All JSE data delayed by at least 15 minutes Iress logo
Editorial feedback and complaints

Contact the public editor with feedback for our journalists, complaints, queries or suggestions about articles on News24.