Difference Between PCOS and Pregnancy Symptoms

Edited by Diffzy | Updated on: April 30, 2023


Difference Between PCOS and Pregnancy Symptoms

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Numerous changes happen in women’s bodies. Hormonal changes greatly affect them, and a disbalance in hormone secretion can lead to various consequences. Yourhormones.com defines it, “A hormone is a chemical that is made by specialist cells, usually within an endocrine gland, and it is released into the bloodstream to send a message to another part of the body. It is often referred to as a ‘chemical messenger’”. PCOS and Pregnancy are related to hormones.
Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS), is a condition found in women of reproductive age, related to hormonal disorder. In this condition, women produce higher-than-normal amounts of male hormones. The ovaries produce two hormones- progesterone and estrogen that regulate the menstrual cycle, and also some number of male hormones that are androgens. The release of the egg by the ovaries each month to be fertilized by the male sperm is called ovulation. PCOS affects both ovaries and ovulation. In PCOS, many small, fluid-filled sacs grow inside the ovaries. The word “polycystic” means “many cysts.” These sacs are follicles, each one containing an immature egg. These eggs are never able to mature to be able to trigger ovulation. The lack of ovulation alters levels of estrogen, progesterone, FSH, and LH. Progesterone levels are lower than usual, while androgen levels are higher than usual (healthline.com). Thus, PCOS leads to cysts in the ovaries, irregular periods, and increased levels of male hormones.
Pregnancy is a condition in which one or more offspring grow inside a women’s womb or uterus. It lasts for about nine months. During this, many changes take place inside a women’s body, such increase in estrogen and progesterone levels, mood swings, breast increase in size, and swelling in the foot to name a few.

Difference Between PCOS and Pregnancy Symptoms in Tabular Form

Parameters Of Comparison PCOS Pregnancy
Definition It is a condition found among women of reproductive age where they produce higher-than-normal male hormones. Also known as gestation, pregnancy is the condition in which the fetus develops inside a woman’s womb or uterus.
Hormone In the case of PCOS, there is an increase in the male hormone known as androgens. Human chorionic gonadotropin hormone (hCG), this hormone is only made during pregnancy. It is made almost exclusively in the placenta. Also, in pregnancy, there is an increase in the levels of progesterone and estrogen hormones.
Symptoms The symptoms of PCOS include irregular periods, heavy periods, increased hair growth on the back, belly, and chest, baldness, weight gain, and darkening of the skin. The symptoms of pregnancy include missed periods, tender or swelled breasts, increased urination, nausea, fatigue, and mood swings.
Causes Doctors generally are unknown about the causes of this disease but genes, insulin resistance, and inflammation are known to be some causes of PCOS. Fertilization of the egg with the sperm due to sexual intercourse or through IVF leads to pregnancy.
Consult a doctor Do not ignore the different changes happening in a body and must consult a doctor. On account of missed periods, mood swings, nausea, and other symptoms one must consult a doctor.

Symptoms of PCOS

  • Irregular periods- It involves missing periods or having no periods at all. If periods occur, then it is accompanied by heavy bleeding.
  • Abnormal hair growth- Up to 70% of women with PCOS show abnormal hair growth on their chest, arms, and abdomen. This condition of excessive hair growth is known as hirsutism.
  • Acne- The increase in the secretion of male hormones can cause oily skin and breakouts on the face, upper back, and chest. This acne becomes difficult to treat.
  • Weight gain - Women with PCOS gain weight rapidly or are overweight and find it difficult to lose weight.
  • Darkening of skin- Patches of dark skin, especially in the folds of your neck, armpits, groin (between the legs), and under the breasts. This is known as acanthosis nigricans (clevelandclinic.org).
  • Male pattern baldness- Women suffering from PCOS may lose patches of hair on the head or start to go bald.
  • Headaches- PCOS can trigger headaches in some women due to hormonal changes.

How to Deal with PCOS?

It is of prime importance to consult a doctor if you feel you are showing symptoms of PCOS. They may suggest different medications to treat PCOS. Other than medications the following is considered important to regulate the hormonal imbalance and menstrual cycle.

  • Diet changes- Eating the right food can help to manage the symptoms of PCOS. Avoid foods and drinks containing artificial preservatives, sugar, and fats. Low-fat, high-carbohydrate diets may increase insulin levels. Add nuts, legumes, and whole-grain to your diet. If you undergo heavy bleeding during periods, then increase your iron intake by including eggs, and spinach in your diet.
  • Maintain a healthy weight- Generally, the first line of treatment in case of PCOS is reducing weight. Doctors advise losing weight through exercise and a low-calorie diet. A good and healthy weight regulates periods, and acne as well.
  • Reduce stress- Reducing stress decreases cortisol hormone levels. An increase in cortisol levels leads to rapid weight gain, inflammation, and diabetes. Therefore, reducing stress is important. Yoga, a good sleep cycle, self-care, and relaxation can help reduce stress.
  • Exercise regularly- Not just for PCOS being active and exercising regularly immensely helps the body to remain fit and disease-free. So, add even some light exercises to your daily routine. Morning or evening walks, yoga, skipping rope, and jumping jacks can help a lot in reducing weight and being fit and healthy. Give up a sedentary and adopt an active lifestyle.

Impact of PCOS on Pregnancy

Women with PCOS suffer from various complications during pregnancy, even infants born to these mothers are at higher risk of requiring a neonatal intensive care unit. Some complications in pregnancy related to PCOS include:

  • Higher chances of miscarriage- Women with PCOS show three times higher risk of miscarriage than women without PCOS (nichd.nih.gov).
  • Gestational diabetes- It is diabetes that only pregnant women get. It is treatable and does not cause problems for the mother and the infant. However, mothers with gestational diabetes give birth to large babies so, they require cesarean or c-section (surgical) delivery.
  • Preterm birth- Generally, mothers having PCOS give birth to preterm babies. Infants, considered ‘preterm’, are those born before 37 weeks of pregnancy. These babies suffer health problems just after birth and later in life as well.
  • Preeclampsia- It is a condition in which there is a sudden increase in blood pressure after the 20th week of pregnancy, which affects the mother’s kidneys, liver, and brain. If not treated, preeclampsia can turn into eclampsia and can lead to organ damage, seizure, and even death.
  • PCOS affects conceiving also. Some women do not even realize that they have PCOS until they start trying to conceive. If you are trying to conceive and are unable to get pregnant for more than a year then you must consult a doctor.

Important Precautions To Be Taken During Pregnancy

  • Eat a balanced diet during pregnancy. Include green leafy vegetables, fruits, proteins, fibers, and carbohydrates in your diet. Take folic acid and vitamin supplements for your child’s healthy development.
  • Move about, do some light exercises, and you can ask your trainer for some exercises to suit your current body type.
  • Avoid smoking and drinking alcohol when pregnant. This can cause serious damage to your baby.
  • Do not miss your doctor’s appointments, and consult them regularly in case of any problem.


Thus, this article describes the difference between PCOS and pregnancy symptoms. Both PCOS and pregnancy involve changes in hormones. PCOS seriously affects pregnancy, but if you consult a doctor at the right time and sincerely follow their instructions, then you can have a good pregnancy and give birth to a healthy baby even if you are suffering from PCOS. Most of all, by having a balanced diet, ample exercise, and being stress-free one can have a fit, fine and healthy lifestyle.


  • https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/diseases/8316-polycystic-ovary-syndrome-pcos
  • https://www.webmd.com/women/what-is-pcos
  • https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/pcos/diagnosis-treatment/drc-20353443
  • https://www.klayschools.com/blog/precautions-during-pregnancy/


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"Difference Between PCOS and Pregnancy Symptoms." Diffzy.com, 2024. Tue. 16 Apr. 2024. <https://www.diffzy.com/article/difference-between-pcos-and-pregnancy-symptoms-1162>.

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