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The Final Stretch: Managing PCOS in the Third Trimester

The third trimester of pregnancy is a time of eager anticipation and preparations for the arrival of your precious bundle of joy. If you have Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS), it’s important to be especially vigilant during this period to ensure a healthy pregnancy for both you and your baby.

In this blog, we’ll explore how insulin resistance and high insulin levels can impact the health of both the mother and baby during the final three months of pregnancy with PCOS. We’ll also discuss the critical role of managing insulin levels through a low insulin lifestyle to mitigate potential risks. 

Insulin Resistance and PCOS: Its Impact on Pregnancy 

Insulin resistance is a hallmark of PCOS, and it can become particularly pertinent during pregnancy. The third trimester is a critical phase where insulin resistance may peak due to hormonal changes. This heightened insulin resistance can have several consequences for both the mother and baby: 

  • Fetal Overexposure to Insulin and Testosterone: Babies exposed to excessive insulin and testosterone from mothers with PCOS during pregnancy may experience genetic changes that lead to the overproduction of insulin in their own bodies. This can result in macrosomia, a condition where the baby grows too large too fast, increasing the risk of complications during delivery. 
  • Risk of Macrosomia: Macrosomia, or having a large baby, can lead to difficulties during labor and delivery. It may necessitate a cesarean section (C-section) delivery, which comes with its own set of challenges and recovery considerations. 
  • Gestational Diabetes and Poor Pregnancy Outcomes: Insulin resistance is a significant factor contributing to gestational diabetes. This condition can affect blood sugar control during pregnancy and commonly is diagnosed in the second or third trimester. Uncontrolled gestational diabetes increases the risk of poor pregnancy outcomes, including macrosomia, preterm birth, and birth complications. 
  • Preeclampsia Risk: Insulin resistance, both before and during pregnancy, is believed to be associated with a higher risk of preeclampsia, a serious condition characterized by high blood pressure and potential organ damage. 

Managing PCOS During Your Third Trimester 

Effective management of PCOS during the third trimester is essential to ensure a healthy pregnancy. Here are some ways to help ensure a healthy pregnancy and delivery during these final stages and beyond: 

  • Low Insulin Lifestyle: To maintain healthy insulin levels and reduce the risk of insulin resistance-related complications, following a low insulin lifestyle throughout pregnancy is crucial. This means trying to avoid foods that spike insulin levels, such as starches, milk, and sugars. Instead, focus on eating plenty of non-starchy vegetables and fruits, lean meats, fatty fish, eggs, nuts, seeds, and healthy fats. This will provide you and your baby with essential nutrients while helping to regulate insulin levels. 
  • Regular Monitoring: Make sure to monitor insulin sensitivity and blood sugar levels. This will enable early detection and management of gestational diabetes if it arises. You can do this easily with the Lilli At-Home Insulin Testing Kits! 
  • Stay Active: Exercise and PCOS in the third trimester go hand in hand. Engage in safe and appropriate physical activity during pregnancy. Exercises like walking can improve insulin sensitivity and keep insulin levels in the normal range.  
  • Minimize Stress: Chronic stress during pregnancy can lead to the release of stress hormones like cortisol, which can elevate blood sugar and insulin levels. Stress reduction techniques such as relaxation exercises, mindfulness, and a supportive environment can help lower stress levels and indirectly contribute to maintaining lower insulin levels. 

Pregnancy and PCOS: Key Takeaways 

The third trimester is a time of great anticipation and excitement as you prepare to welcome your baby into the world. For women with PCOS, managing insulin resistance and high insulin levels is pivotal in ensuring a healthy pregnancy for both mother and child. By following a low-insulin lifestyle, staying active, and minimizing stress, you can confidently navigate the final stretch of pregnancy and reduce the risk of complications associated with PCOS. 

Remember that each pregnancy is unique, and it’s essential to tailor your PCOS management plan to your specific needs with guidance from your healthcare team. By prioritizing your health and that of your baby, you can look forward to a joyous and healthy birth experience. 

Lilli Health: Your Insulin Resistance and PCOS Companion 

Navigating through PCOS and pregnancy, especially during the critical moments like the third trimester, can be daunting. Understanding the myriad of PCOS symptoms during this time and adapting to the hormonal changes in the third trimester requires specialized guidance. At Lilli Health, we’re your ally, acting as a trusted PCOS coach striving to provide comprehensive resources to support you every step of the way.  

Our book, Low Insulin Lifestyle, offers invaluable health tips for PCOS, including the science behind a low insulin lifestyle, insights into weight management during pregnancy, and more. Our Lilli At-Home Insulin Testing Kits, tailored especially considering the unique challenges of insulin resistance and PCOS, offer the convenience and accuracy you need to manage your condition through nutrition. The much-awaited Lilli App will be an integrated platform to help you manage and monitor everything from exercise and PCOS to general wellness.  

Whether you’re gearing up for the exciting final trimester or planning for a future pregnancy with PCOS, we’re here for you every step of the way. Don’t miss out on any updates or valuable information — subscribe to our newsletter to stay abreast of the latest tools and tips to navigate PCOS pregnancy and beyond!