For women who are struggling with infertility, the problem could stem from blood glucose levels that are either too high or too low. Blood glucose plays a critical role in several bodily functions and is responsible for providing the body with enough energy to carry out those functions.
Insulin, which is a hormone produced by the pancreas, moves glucose from the bloodstream and transports it to cells where it is either used immediately for energy or stored for later use. This normal process, unfortunately, does not occur in women who have diabetes, as the disease is known to cause low insulin sensitivity or insulin resistance, meaning glucose will likely remain in the bloodstream or will not be used properly by the cells in the body.
Blood Sugar and Polycystic Ovary Syndrome
Most women with diabetes-related fertility issues struggle with type 2 diabetes, which is further compounded by polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), a hormonal disorder characterized by infrequent or prolonged menstrual periods.
This hormonal disorder can impact fertility and also lead to insulin resistance. Furthermore, women who have diabetes and PCOS often have a shorter fertility window because they tend to start menopause earlier than women who are otherwise healthy.
PCOS is the primary cause of infertility amongst women of reproductive age with diabetes, according to Medical News Today, an online resource for the latest information in medicine.
Women with PCOS tend to struggle with both anovulation (lack of ovulation), which prevents pregnancy, and insulin resistance, which can push blood glucose levels even higher. These two factors can place motherhood even further out of reach for women who are desperately trying to have a baby.
How to Get Pregnant if You Have PCOS and Diabetes
Because PCOS interrupts ovulation and leads to insulin resistance, the first step toward improving your chances of becoming pregnant should entail losing weight. More often than not, women who have PCOS and diabetes are slightly overweight. Shedding a few pounds may be more than enough to overcome fertility-related issues that stand in the way of conceiving.
In fact, available data shows that losing 5% to 10% of your current weight can go a long way toward boosting your menstrual cycles. Also, losing weight can help turn the tide of insulin resistance.
Here are a few helpful tips for losing weight with PCOS and diabetes:
Eating a Low-Carb Diet
Many nutritionists and dietitians agree that consuming a low-carb diet can be beneficial for women with diabetes and PCOS who are overweight and trying to become pregnant. To further improve your chances of becoming pregnant, you may also want to try the following healthy eating tips:
- Consume more proteins and greens
- Consume a larger breakfast and a comparatively smaller dinner
- Opt for complex carbs over simple carbs
Reversing Insulin Resistance Naturally
It is also worth noting that consuming foods rich in polyunsaturated fats, namely omega-3 fatty acids, can help stabilize blood sugar, which, in turn, helps reverse insulin resistance and improves your chances of becoming pregnant. The same also applies to lean protein foods like chicken breasts, turkey, and lean beef, for example.
Familiarizing Yourself with the Glycemic Index
Whether you’re struggling with PCOS, diabetes, or a combination of the two, consuming high glycemic index foods can go a long way toward stabilizing blood glucose levels. While your goal may be to become pregnant, keeping your blood glucose levels in check should be a higher priority. After all, blood glucose levels that are too high or too low for a prolonged time can lead to diabetes complications, some of which include cardiovascular disease and kidney damage.
If you’re not familiar with the glycemic index, it is a numeric value assigned to foods according to the rate in which they can spike blood glucose levels. This information is printed on the labels of most packaged foods and can also be found online. In short, the lower the glycemic index, the less impact the food will have on your blood glucose levels. Consuming low glycemic index foods and exercising are two great ways to both stabilize your blood glucose levels and also improve your chances of conceiving.