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Pregnant PCOS women need 'better surveillance'

Researchers have called for better monitoring of women with polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) during pregnancy due to their heightened risk of pre-eclampsia and diabetes.

Academics from the Karolinska Institute and Karolinska University Hospital in Stockholm, Sweden studied nationwide data on 3,787 births among women with PCOS and 1,191,336 births among women without the condition.

The study, published in the British Medical Journal, shows women with PCOS are 45% more likely to experience pre-eclampsia and twice as likely to give birth prematurely and/or develop diabetes when pregnant.

Such increases in risk occur regardless of whether the women has undergone fertility treatment.

They also found babies born to mothers with PCOS were more prone to be large for gestational age and tended to develop asphyxia during labour.

Overall, the researchers concluded the risks of adverse pregnancy outcomes in women with PCOS could not be attributed to the increased use of assisted reproductive technology or maternal characteristics such as advanced age or being overweight or obese.

"These women may need increased surveillance during pregnancy and childbirth," wrote the authors.

"Future research would benefit from focusing on glucose control, medical treatment and hormonal status among women with PCOS during pregnancy.

Professor Nick Macklon from the University of Southampton said: "It is clear that women with PCOS should be considered 'high risk' obstetric patients and the midwives, general practitioners, and obstetricians should monitor these women as such."

Your comments (terms and conditions apply):

"Definitely feel these mothers should be monitored. Would you therefore recommend they have c section rather than natural birth? What should women do who have been diagnosed pcos who have been told they will find it difficult to become pregnant?" - Louise Bullard, Suffolk