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How to improve fertility with PCOS

Updated: Mar 14, 2023

If you've been diagnosed with PCOS then you may be worried about your ability to conceive with PCOS. This article will put your mind at ease and give you some practical tips to improve fertility.

The impact of PCOS on fertility and how to improve your fertility naturally

PCOS (polycystic ovarian syndrome) is one of the most common reasons for anovulatory infertility. This is infertility that is caused by absent or irregular ovulation However, it is treatable and just because you have PCOS does not mean you WILL struggle to conceive, I know thousands of women who have conceived quickly and without much effort at all despite having a PCOS diagnosis.

With my first, we really had to put the effort in and it took 12 months for us to conceive (you can read more about our journey here) but the second time around it happened instantly and without consciously making much effort at all.

If your periods are irregular, then it may take you slightly longer than those without PCOS to fall pregnant as it makes timing and knowing when you are ovulating slightly more challenging.

Please remember that you ARE still able to fall pregnant, so if you are not trying to conceive it’s important to use a reliable form of contraceptive.

Infertility is defined as not being able to conceive after 12 months or more of having regular (every 2-3 days) unprotected sex.

Hat with baby announcement

How does PCOS effect fertility?

Every month a few eggs start the process of ‘maturing’, one of these eggs will reach full maturation and be released, ready to be fertilized by a sperm. This release usually happens 13-15 days before the start of your menstrual bleed and is triggered by a spike in Luteinizing hormone (LH).

Various hormones (such as LH and estrogen) are involved in the maturation and release process of an egg, however, with PCOS we typically see an imbalance in these hormones which prevents an egg from reaching full maturation and therefore being released. This is then known as an anovulatory cycle and is the cause for absent or irregular periods.

When we don’t ovulate then it’s not possible to fall pregnant, and when our cycles are irregular then timing intercourse around ovulation suddenly becomes quite tricky.

What can you do to improve fertility with PCOS?

Work on regulating your cycles,

This will involve making sure you’re eating enough, working on stress management, getting enough sleep, improving insulin sensitivity and lowering testosterone levels. Even if you’re not ready to have children yet, it’s really important to have regular cycles to reduce your risk of endometrial cancer.

You may find it useful to use a tracking app such as Clue or Flo to help you identify any trends/abnormalities.

Have sex every 2-3 days,

For many couples this is A LOT! And it may quickly start to feel like a chore, try to find ways to make it fun. You could set your alarm for a morning quickie if you’re usually too tired in the evening. Or head up to bed a little earlier to make sure you have time and energy before hitting the lights.

Do things to help you improve your confidence, this can help boost libido!

We know that those with PCOS can struggle with low confidence, depression and anxiety – not very conducive to wanting to rip your clothes off right? Spend some time working on reducing anxiety and depression, adopting self-care practices, finding ways to exercise/move more throughout the day to boost those feel good endorphins, sticking some post-its with affirmations on your mirror as a daily reminder of the things you love about yourself – leave the pen and post-it somewhere your partner can access them and encourage them to add a few.

Speak to your partner & friends,

The burden of fertility struggles is a heavy one and not something you should have to face alone. The female in the relationship often feels responsible for not being able to fall pregnant, always remember that it takes two to tango, and unless your partner has had a semen analysis that rules out any issues from his side, it’s important that he is also making lifestyle changes to improve fertility.

Take the stress out of the situation,

If you’ve been religiously tracking your cycles and ovulation and it’s becoming a cause of stress, then ask yourself if you are able to step back from tracking for a while and try to have fun with the process a little. If you’re having sex every 2-3 days then you won’t need to worry about when you’re ovulating, there will be a sperm ready and waiting for that egg when it comes along.

Give yourself time,

Knowing that it is quite normal for it to take 12 months to conceive will help you manage your expectations and takes the pressure off when it doesn’t happen straight away. If it happens quicker, it will be a pleasant surprise.

Chat to your GP,

After 6 months chat to your GP, let them know that you are trying to conceive and would like to have a panel of bloods done to see if there are any changes you need to make to improve your chances. This is even more important if your cycles are still irregular as it may give you some insight into what hormonal imbalances are responsible for any anovulatory cycles.


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Uncover the 3 simple, highly-effective steps used by myself and all my clients to improve their PCOS symptoms, regain their confidence and live a life they love with PCOS (without dieting). 

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