Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS): Does the Challenge End at Conception?

Int J Environ Res Public Health. 2022 Nov 12;19(22):14914. doi: 10.3390/ijerph192214914.


Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) is a prevalent condition that not only has the potential to impede conception but also represents the most common endocrine dysfunction in fertile women. It is considered a heterogeneous and multifaceted disorder, with multiple reproductive and metabolic phenotypes which differently affect the early- and long-term syndrome's risks. Undoubtedly, the impact of PCOS on infertility has attracted most of the attention of healthcare providers and investigators. However, there is growing evidence that even after conception is achieved, PCOS predisposes the parturient to several adverse pregnancy outcomes including a high risk of pregnancy-induced hypertension, spontaneous abortion, gestational diabetes, preeclampsia, and preterm birth, which increase the risks of stillbirth and neonatal death. Fetal growth abnormalities may also be more common, but the relationship is less well defined. This narrative review aims to summarize current knowledge regarding these conditions as they interplay with PCOS and concludes that although there appears to be an increase in these complications during the pregnancy of women with PCOS, there is a need for further research to clarify the possible confounding impact of obesity. Implications for clinical practice and future research are outlined.

Keywords: PCOS; complications; diabetes; hypertension; miscarriage; obesity; obstetric; polycystic ovary syndrome; pregnancy; preterm.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Female
  • Fertility
  • Fertilization
  • Humans
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Infertility*
  • Polycystic Ovary Syndrome* / complications
  • Polycystic Ovary Syndrome* / epidemiology
  • Pregnancy
  • Premature Birth*

Grants and funding

This research received no external funding.