Hey all.. Thanks for the lovely words & support to this new blog! ❤
I was pondering what to write for a post here.. and ‘hypothyroidism’ immediately clicked on my mind first.
So let’s see my journey being a hypothyroidic & how it could affect one’s pregnancy!
Thyroid & its hormones
Thyroid is a butterfly shaped gland in the throat area of your neck.
It is one of the largest glands in the human body & regulates hormones that control the body’s metabolism, meaning, how effectively your body makes use of energy, processes proteins & also how sensitive your body is to other hormones.
It secretes the following hormones – T3 (tri-iodothyronine) & T4 (thyroxine).
The pituitary gland present at the base of the brain secretes a hormone called Thyroid Stimulating Hormone (TSH), which in turn regulates T3 & T4 secretion levels!
Its imperative for all the 3 hormones – TSH, T3 & T4 to be under control for normal functioning of one’s body.
Deficiency of T3/T4 is termed HYPOTHYROIDISM, whereas excessive secretion of these hormones is termed as HYPERTHYROIDISM.
It needs to be understood that people having issues with hormones, do not have a ‘disease‘.. its nothing but a ‘disorder‘.
In either cases, one is supposed to take hormonal replacements in the form of tablets to supplement/suppress thyroid hormones for LIFE!
How hypothyroidism affects pregnancy?
The baby inside you is dependent on you for everything!
Thyroid hormones are also known as the ‘growth hormone‘.
The fetus inside is relying on your thyroid hormones to grow, until upto 12 weeks of gestation or the first trimester, after which the baby starts to secrete its own thyroid hormones.
Many woman get to know about their pregnancy only close 6-8 weeks of it, and hence it becomes all the more imperative to screen for thyroid disorders.
The mom being low on thyroid hormones, results in the baby getting lesser hormones & unable to meet its growth requirements fairly good.
With inappropriate levels of thyroid hormone, the baby inside can develop abnormalities in brain development.
Hypothyroidism is also associated with pre-term labor and births & also causes other neuro-development disorders in the baby.
Hypothyroidism – Treatment during Pregnancy
Hormone therapy is the only allopathic solution available.
A pregnant woman’s dosage requirement might shoot up to 50%, than she was taking before pregnancy. It did in my case as well.
Close monitoring of hormone level changes is highly important. Its usually once in 4 weeks or as suggested by your physician.
Remember that throughout your pregnancy, your thyroid levels are gonna be dynamic (not necessarily fluctuating crazily as in my case), but you will get back to your pre-pregnancy levels in about a month’s time after giving birth to the baby.
Some women may develop hypothyroidism during pregnancy also. This is due to the thyroid gland not able to match up to the increase in requirement by the body. They might or might not continue to be hypothyroidic after pregnancy.
Be hypothyroidic or not, insist your doctor to check for your thyroid hormone & TSH levels as soon as you discover you are expecting, to be on the safer side.
I was diagnosed hypothyroidic years back & its a maternal inheritance in the family! Only when I was detected to be hypothyroidic did I realize why I was a ‘plumpy’ kid all through school & college & had to battle weight issues.
When I realized I am pregnant, the first thing that topped my mind was my being hypothyroidic. Though my thyroid levels were at desirable level before me getting pregnant, it kept fluctuating throughout my pregnancy until about 7 months into it, before stabilizing to desired levels.
Initially I had low TSH & then with dosage adjustments, I had inflated TSH levels resulting in poor T3 & T4 levels in my blood.
My endocrinologist & gynaec both considered me to be a unique case, cause the dosage adjustments they made were not stabilizing my thyroid levels as expected. By then I had consulted top endocrinologists in the city, to confirm (or atleast convince!) fluctuations in my TSH levels are not going to affect my baby in any way! (read as major way)
I had elevated T3 & T4 levels in my blood during the first trimester. The doctors convinced me that my baby would not have been affected, since there was more hormone present than required & only required levels pass through the placenta to the baby and never more.
This sounded music to my ears after all the hulla-baloo I created about being cursed for having thyroid issues! Love you my savior, docs! ❤
Controlled TSH levels is the thumb rule for doctors in pregnant woman. Even if you are not pregnant or not hypothyroidic, its advisable to do a blood test to check your TSH level once every 3 months.
With regular monitoring, my thyroid pals fell in line about the 7th month into pregnancy…and the issue of getting into pre-term labor was vanquished!
I happily went on about life thereafter & went into labor only when it was time to pop! 😀
Thyroid hormone is in tune with your sex hormones (estrogen & progesterone) & insulin as well. More on that soon on another post!
Hope you find this article & my personal anecdote useful.. Do let me know if you would like to see more such med-related, jargon-free posts here.
P.S. – I am no doc to talk all things medicine, but I did seriously aspire to become one! This post is purely based on whatever little knowledge I have on the human body.
– A Crappy Mom