-- Robert Preidt
FRIDAY, Oct. 14 (HealthDay News) -- A common hormonal disorder
among women known as polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) seems to be
associated with an increased risk for pregnancy complications, such
as preeclampsia, diabetes and premature birth, a new study
PCOS affects between 5 percent and 15 percent of women of
reproductive age, according to background information in the study
published in the Oct. 13 online edition of
BMJ. Symptoms include irregular periods, ovulation problems, weight gain and excessive hair growth, and women with the disorder typically have small cysts on their ovaries.
In the study, Swedish researchers compared just under 3,800
births among women with PCOS with nearly 1.2 million births among
women without the condition, and found that women with PCOS were
more likely to be obese and to use assisted reproductive
Women with PCOS were 45 percent more likely to experience
preeclampsia (a condition that causes high blood pressure in
pregnant women) and more than twice as likely to develop diabetes
during pregnancy and/or to give birth prematurely, compared to
women without PCOS, the investigators found.
In addition, babies born to women with PCOS were more likely to
be large for gestational age and tended to develop asphyxia (a lack
of oxygen) during labor, according to Nathalie Roos and colleagues
at the Karolinska Institute and Karolinska University Hospital in
The increased risk of pregnancy complications among women with
PCOS could not be attributed to advanced age, being overweight or
obese, or the use of assisted reproductive technology, the
researchers pointed out in a journal news release.
"These women may need increased surveillance during pregnancy and childbirth. Future research would benefit from focusing on glucose control, medical treatment and hormonal status among women with polycystic ovary syndrome during pregnancy," the researchers concluded.
"It is clear that women with polycystic ovary syndrome should be considered 'high risk' obstetric patients and that midwives, general practitioners and obstetricians should monitor these women as such," Nick Macklon, of the University of Southampton in England, wrote in an accompanying editorial.
However, "more evidence is required to support the use of
currently used interventions designed to reduce perinatal risk, and
this requires a greater understanding of the different polycystic
ovary syndrome phenotypes and the underlying mechanisms by which
this common condition alters pregnancy outcomes," Macklon
The U.S. National Institute of Child Health and Human
Development has more about
polycystic ovary syndrome.
Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.
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