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Pregnancy complications in PCOS.

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Reproductive Medicine Division, VU University Medical Centre, P.O. Box 7057, 1007MB Amsterdam, The Netherlands.


Complications of pregnancy associated with maternal PCOS include increased prevalence of early pregnancy loss (EPL), gestational diabetes (GDM), pregnancy-induced hypertensive disorders (PET/PIH), and the birth of small-for-gestational-age (SGA) babies. Increased risk of EPL has been attributed to obesity, hyperinsulinaemia, elevated luteinizing hormone concentrations, and endometrial dysfunction. Avoiding obesity before pregnancy and treatment with metformin are therapeutic options, also for the increased prevalence of GDM. Administration of metformin throughout pregnancy is a contentious issue. Screening pregnant women with PCOS for GDM and PET/PIH-especially if they are obese-is recommended, although data for a firm association between PCOS and PET/PIH is weak. Impaired insulin-mediated growth and fetal programming are possible explanations for a higher prevalence of SGA infants in mothers with PCOS. Only prospective studies employing a large cohort of women with well-defined PCOS compared with a control group matched for BMI and parity can solve the remaining questions.

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