Great Q & A article by my colleague and mentor Dr. Alan Christianson (Dr. C) that I thought would be helpful for my clients who are trying to get pregnant. (-:
Before I get to the article and while we are on the thyroid topic I wanted to share with you two things that I've noticed over the last couple decades in working with women's health.
#1. Many women have low/deteriorating thyroid function without it showing up as compromised on blood work yet. They have symptoms but are within normal ranges. FYI - An ND's range for healthy is not as wide.
#2. Many more women (more than most people realize) are on medication for their thyroid without being aware of common underlying causes behind this so those can addressed to support long term overall health. These causes can be related to the immune system and certain foods/inflammation, adrenal health and stress (affects everything doesn't it!) and digestive heath (I know - if you are like most people you had no idea there was any relationship but there often is). If this is you, you're not feeling as good health-and-energy wise as you'd like and you are of the "treat the cause" philosophy, book in with your ND to help get extra support for you in this so yo can feel your best.
Here's Dr. C's Q and A:
My concern is taking Synthroid while trying to get pregnant or while being pregnant. I’ve been told that it’s better to take it during these times than to not be on anything. I would love to be Hypothyroidism Free but don’t know that I should try to do that while trying to get pregnant. Can you tell me how this can affect an unborn child or if it’s harder to even get pregnant with Hypothyroidism?
Great question - glad to help. Being too low on your thyroid hormones can be hard on your body and on your baby during pregnancy.
There is no doubt that if your thyroid is underactive, taking Synthroid as advised and being closely monitored is better than being on no treatment at all.
This is an area where fertility specialists are often ahead of endocrinologists. Most of them are aware of the fact that if your TSH is in the normal range but above 2, it can be harder to get pregnant and stay pregnant. There's also quite a bit of literature saying that if your thyroid antibodies are high even if your other thyroid levels are fine, it can be harder to avoid early miscarriage.
I do prefer a natural thyroid for several reasons, one of which is that it can lower thyroid antibodies more effectively. The reason why is because it has the same proteins that are found in your thyroid gland.
When you take them in a pill it causes your immune system to get used to them and lower its reactivity against them. Think about how it works when you receive allergy shots. Your body is exposed to something in a controlled way and that makes it less reactive against it. The same thing works in the case of natural thyroid.
Also be sure and closely monitor levels during pregnancy. It's not uncommon for your needs to change.
To you or anyone that wants to stop taking thyroid medication, it is important to know that many can, but it is best to do so only when your body shows is ready. You can tell it's ready because a dose of medicine that used to work for you starts becoming too high. That's when its time to start backing off.
Best wishes for a healthy and happy pregnancy!