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anyone have experience with thyroid issues related to pregnancy

post #1 of 45
Thread Starter 

Hello,

 

So I have a 13 month old and about 3 months ago, I went to the dr. because of a chemical pregnancy.  She did some bloodwork, but I also requested that she check my thyroid since I had been having some concerning symptoms... hot flashes, bouts of anxiety panic (even in the middle of the night), jitteryness.

 

She never told me that there was anything wrong with my levels.  Until yesterday- I went in to get my hcg levels tested just for my own peace of mind.  She happens to mention that my tsh was quite low in october and that we should retest it.  (no clue why she didn't tell me this before)  Apparently all the other thyroid levels were normal and thyroid antibodies were negative.

 

My dr. calls this morning and tells me that my tsh is now quite high?? And we need to retest all the other thyroid levels.  

 

After doing some research I've learned that the thyroid can get messed up in the post partum year, but for most women will go back to normal.  Of course, with me being pregnant again, I'm worried about how this will effect the pregnancy.  Has anyone had any experience with this?  Dr. is now talking about me seeing an endocrinologist.  uggh.

post #2 of 45

It's so rare that a conventional doctor will know what numbers are actually high or low - they just don't understand the thyroid (or adrenals...) Maybe an endocrinologist would be a good place to start?

 

I saw a Naturopath who specialized in endocrinology (it would be awesome if you could find someone like that!) and we focused on healing my adrenals. My 3rd child was in his first year at the time and I'd had a rough time of it since his birth. Anxiety was my main complaint along with physical aches and pains (muscle pains.) He explained that constant stress (emotional, physical, environmental) deplete our adrenals and that everyone has some level of adrenal fatigue (I used to have a huuuuge long thread called "The Adrenal Fatigue Thread" in H&H here, no idea if it's still around..) He also said that the thyroid is ALWAYS affected when the adrenals aren't functioning optimally - whether or not the numbers show it. My ND said that you had to heal the adrenals before you could address the thyroid because if you took thyroid meds before healing the adrenals, you'd temporarily feel better, but you'd end up crashing and being worse off than you were initially because the thyroid meds forced your adrenals to work even more. Lately, I've heard a doctor or two say the opposite, but I've really only had experience with my own ND. I think there can be cases where the thyroid is "jammed up" with toxins (usually mercury or tetanus vaccine remnants is what I hear the most often) and if you don't detox what's there, you'll never end up healing your thyroid OR adrenals.

 

It's a huge sticky mess, if you ask me. Have you checked out StoptheThyroidMadness (looks like it just got a much-needed make-over..)? Lots of good info there.

 

I've actually had my head in the sand on this issue after my daughter's dentist (he's a dentist by title but he's been doing orthodontic work on Dd using the ALF along with craniosacral work - but he does all kinds of stuff including cancer treatment and chelating, etc.) said I had an under active thyroid. He did some muscle testing and claimed that I have mercury in my thyroid and he wanted to do a whole treatment plan but I declined because I'm still nursing my 3 yr old (and am now pregnant, obviously.) I know it's a leap of faith for some people, but I trust this doctor. I don't doubt that I have mercury in my thyroid and that it's affecting my adrenals. He said I could take all the thyroid hormones in the world but they wouldn't fix the issue until I got rid of the mercury. As an aside, he himself takes Naturthroid which he says is the only thyroid med that doesn't have GMO ingredients.

 

How's that for a long-winded response that may or may not help you in any way? :lol

 

I've kept my head in the sand because I'm afraid that if I don't address it, it might affect the pregnancy/baby. I do take adrenal support because I don't want to pull from the baby's adrenals because of my own deficiency. But I haven't addressed any thyroid issues yet.

 

I'd love to hear what others have to say on this topic.

post #3 of 45
Thread Starter 

did you have abnormal thyroid levels?

 

I've read that thyroid abnormalities are somewhat common postpartum, and the majority of the time they resolve themself.  I guess 10% of women do not return to normal levels.

 

Pregnancy is definitely not the time to do any deep healing or detoxing.  I would just like to make sure that my thyroid is functioning enough to keep this pregnancy safe.  Besides feeling really confused right now, I am nervous about what kind of risk there is to the baby.  I'm hoping for clear answers really soon.  I guess I'm encouraged that back in october I had no thyroid antibodies.  I'm hoping that means there isn't any permanent damage to my thyroid.  Hoping those antibodies are still negative.

post #4 of 45
Thread Starter 

I also was taking adrenal support for the majority of last year.  I will most likely start that again soon.  There is a gentle herbal formula for pregnant/nursing moms from mountain meadow herbs.

post #5 of 45
It's been awhile since my A&P courses, but isn't the level of TSH inversely proportional to hypo- or hyperthyroid? So that a low level TSH would indicate hyperthyroid and vice versa. Maybe your doctors mean that you're hypothyroid? I may be totally off the mark here; just thinking out loud.
post #6 of 45
Quote:
Originally Posted by Motivated Mama View Post

It's been awhile since my A&P courses, but isn't the level of TSH inversely proportional to hypo- or hyperthyroid? So that a low level TSH would indicate hyperthyroid and vice versa. Maybe your doctors mean that you're hypothyroid? I may be totally off the mark here; just thinking out loud.


Generally, yes, I think so. BUT, I think you can have conflicting symptoms if antibodies come into play. ?? IIRC, a friend of mine had hyper symptoms and TSH levels but had Hashi's. I could be remembering wrong but I know his case was tricky.

post #7 of 45
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Motivated Mama View Post

It's been awhile since my A&P courses, but isn't the level of TSH inversely proportional to hypo- or hyperthyroid? So that a low level TSH would indicate hyperthyroid and vice versa. Maybe your doctors mean that you're hypothyroid? I may be totally off the mark here; just thinking out loud.

yes, that is my understanding.  I guess back in october I was hyper- but have now switched to hypothyroid.  

post #8 of 45
Quote:
Originally Posted by kateaton View Post
 

did you have abnormal thyroid levels?

 

I've read that thyroid abnormalities are somewhat common postpartum, and the majority of the time they resolve themself.  I guess 10% of women do not return to normal levels.

 

Pregnancy is definitely not the time to do any deep healing or detoxing.  I would just like to make sure that my thyroid is functioning enough to keep this pregnancy safe.  Besides feeling really confused right now, I am nervous about what kind of risk there is to the baby.  I'm hoping for clear answers really soon.  I guess I'm encouraged that back in october I had no thyroid antibodies.  I'm hoping that means there isn't any permanent damage to my thyroid.  Hoping those antibodies are still negative.


Nothing out of the ordinary, but my ND knew that I had low thyroid symptoms because my thyroid wasn't functioning properly because my adrenals were a wreck. I did regular saliva testing and my adrenals were in zone 7 (the worst.)

 

I would never do any intentional detoxing while pregnant or nursing.

post #9 of 45

Yes, your TSH level is inversely related to thyroid function--i.e., low TSH means hyPERthyroid (overactive), while high TSH means hyPOthyroid (underactive).

 

But there is SO MUCH MORE to properly evaluating thyroid function than merely the TSH--even though most conventional doctors AND endocrinologists still rely heavily or entirely on the TSH.

 

I have Hashimoto's, which means that my thyroid can swing from overactive to underactive periodically, which means I need to stay on top of evaluating it so that I can adjust my meds accordingly.

 

Like PP mentioned, definitely spend some time checking out the http://www.stopthethyroidmadness.com/   If anything, learn about the other lab tests, besides just TSH, that you should INSIST your doctor run, which are far more indicative of actual thyroid function.  And learn about natural dessicated thyroid, like Armour and Naturethroid, that treat thyroid dysfunction far better than Synthroid (the synthetic brand that nearly all conventional doctors prescribe).

 

MOST IMPORTANTLY, find a doctor who will treat you based on SYMPTOMS, not just LAB TESTS.  I learned that early on--my first doctor refused to continue treating me after he got my lab tests within "normal" range, even though I had experienced NO improvements in my actual symptoms.  That's pathetic, but all too common.  There are definitely doctors and naturopaths out there who will treat based on symptoms, and that's what you want.

 

Like you said, OP, it's true that some women get post partum thyroiditis, which does often resolve itself.  But it's also true that if you have any existing thyroid issue, and then you get pregnant, your thyroid levels almost always get even more out of whack within the first several weeks of pregnancy.  And you MUST address the thyroid issue asap, because proper thyroid function is imperative for the embryo during the first trimester.

 

All of my thyroid docs (even the crappy ones) have said that I need to get my thyroid tested within 3 weeks of getting a BFP, even if I had just had my normal thyroid tests done a week before the BFP--because a new pregnancy can shift thyroid function that quickly, and it can be very dangerous to the baby.

 

Sorry for the novel :)  Since my diagnosis two years ago, I made it my full time job to research this stuff......and I'm still faaaarrrrr from an expert.

post #10 of 45
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by wawa94 View Post
 

Yes, your TSH level is inversely related to thyroid function--i.e., low TSH means hyPERthyroid (overactive), while high TSH means hyPOthyroid (underactive).

 

But there is SO MUCH MORE to properly evaluating thyroid function than merely the TSH--even though most conventional doctors AND endocrinologists still rely heavily or entirely on the TSH.

 

I have Hashimoto's, which means that my thyroid can swing from overactive to underactive periodically, which means I need to stay on top of evaluating it so that I can adjust my meds accordingly.

 

Like PP mentioned, definitely spend some time checking out the http://www.stopthethyroidmadness.com/   If anything, learn about the other lab tests, besides just TSH, that you should INSIST your doctor run, which are far more indicative of actual thyroid function.  And learn about natural dessicated thyroid, like Armour and Naturethroid, that treat thyroid dysfunction far better than Synthroid (the synthetic brand that nearly all conventional doctors prescribe).

 

MOST IMPORTANTLY, find a doctor who will treat you based on SYMPTOMS, not just LAB TESTS.  I learned that early on--my first doctor refused to continue treating me after he got my lab tests within "normal" range, even though I had experienced NO improvements in my actual symptoms.  That's pathetic, but all too common.  There are definitely doctors and naturopaths out there who will treat based on symptoms, and that's what you want.

 

Like you said, OP, it's true that some women get post partum thyroiditis, which does often resolve itself.  But it's also true that if you have any existing thyroid issue, and then you get pregnant, your thyroid levels almost always get even more out of whack within the first several weeks of pregnancy.  And you MUST address the thyroid issue asap, because proper thyroid function is imperative for the embryo during the first trimester.

 

All of my thyroid docs (even the crappy ones) have said that I need to get my thyroid tested within 3 weeks of getting a BFP, even if I had just had my normal thyroid tests done a week before the BFP--because a new pregnancy can shift thyroid function that quickly, and it can be very dangerous to the baby.

 

Sorry for the novel :)  Since my diagnosis two years ago, I made it my full time job to research this stuff......and I'm still faaaarrrrr from an expert.

thank you, this is helpful.  My dr. is testing my t3 and t4 and thyroid anitbodies.  She did those back in october (when tsh was too low), but they were all normal.  Does that mean that my thyroid was actually functioning ok?  I guess I don't feel like it was, because I was HOT all the time, with periodic hot flashes coupled with jittery anxiety.  Now I'm freezing all the time, but this is always my norm in early pregnancy.  Maybe I've been hypo in pregnancy before and just never knew it.

post #11 of 45
Make sure those tests are for FREE T3 and FREE T4 (I.e., free rather than total).

The thing is, these so-called "normal" ranges are terribly out of date and do not accurately predict the optimal levels for every individual patient. I feel TERRIBLE when my levels are in the "normal" ranges. But I feel optimal when I'm medicated to the point that my TSH is far below "normal." So a regular doc would see that and tell me that I need to get back "in range" but I know enough now to know that that doesn't work for me.

Therefore, you CAN still have a classic thyroid disorder with "normal" levels. That is exactly why it is important to find a doctor/naturopath that diagnoses and treats based on symptoms rather than just lab tests. Because those tests just don't tell the whole story anymore.

The website I listed above has some great links for finding that kind of practitioner in your area!
post #12 of 45

Now I'm terrified! I didn't realize that low (or high) thyroid function could lead to miscarriage or damage to the baby! Now I wonder about my miscarriage in November. :(

 

I stumbled upon this blog when I looked up thyroid & pregnancy and I can't believe how many mamas have lost their babies only to find out their thyroid was way off. And low IQ, low motor function placental abruption, stillbirth! I feel ill. :(

 

I just sent my midwife an email asking if she'll order tests for me. How do I find a good doctor? I guess I could go back to my ND and pay out of pocket... My insurance stinks and doesn't cover anything. :(

 

Wawa, what do you think of these tests?:

 

Free T3

Free T4

Reverse T3

TPO-Ab (thyroid antibodies)

TgAb (thyroid antibodies)

TSH

 

I saw that the updated TSH range is .3-3.0 but for pregnancy, it's different:

 

1st trimester: 0.1-2.5 mIU/L

2nd trimester: 0.2-3.0 mIU/L

3rd trimester: 0.3-3.0 mIU/L

post #13 of 45
Thread Starter 

I have read the thyroid madness website- extremely helpful!  I have contacted several groups to hopefully get a dr. recommendation that will prescribe armour.  I'm really concerned about my baby's brain development!  I need to find an adequate dr. asap!!

post #14 of 45
Quote:
Originally Posted by Metasequoia View Post
 

I just sent my midwife an email asking if she'll order tests for me. How do I find a good doctor? I guess I could go back to my ND and pay out of pocket... My insurance stinks and doesn't cover anything. :(

 

Wawa, what do you think of these tests?:

 

Free T3

Free T4

Reverse T3

TPO-Ab (thyroid antibodies)

TgAb (thyroid antibodies)

TSH

Don't be terrified!  Knowing that there might be something to address is more than half the battle!  Even though the "normal" ranges might not be optimal for someone for symptom relief in general, those ranges ARE useful to make sure you have the bare minimum of healthy levels for pregnancy.  So any run-of-the-mill conventional doc can deal with that, just for the purposes of a safe pregnancy.

 

That being said, reaching optimal levels of treatment in general (beyond pregnancy) really does depend on finding a practitioner who 1) deals primarily with symptoms, not only labs, and 2) prescribes some form of natural desiccated thyroid.  This link should be helpful for finding such a doctor/practitioner:  http://www.stopthethyroidmadness.com/how-to-find-a-good-doc/

 

Or check out this site:  http://www.thyroid-info.com/topdrs/   Scroll down and click on the link for your state.  This is how I found my current practitioner, along with word of mouth.  I actually see a nurse practitioner in a larger, conventional family medicine office.  For whatever reason, she has really educated herself about the proper, effective treatment of thyroid disorder and it's become a specialty for her.  So don't rule someone out just because they don't have an MD, DO, or ND after their name!  Finding someone who REALLY LISTENS to you is so important.

 

And those tests look great to me.  Keep in mind for future reference that optimal levels of Free T3 and Free T4 (in general and for pregnancy) should be in the upper 1/3 or 1/4 of the normal range.

post #15 of 45
Quote:
Originally Posted by wawa94 View Post
 

Don't be terrified!  Knowing that there might be something to address is more than half the battle!  Even though the "normal" ranges might not be optimal for someone for symptom relief in general, those ranges ARE useful to make sure you have the bare minimum of healthy levels for pregnancy.  So any run-of-the-mill conventional doc can deal with that, just for the purposes of a safe pregnancy.

 

But do most docs consider "normal range" to be the "new" normal range or are they still stuck at the number 10?

 

I saw that the updated TSH range is .3-3.0 but for pregnancy, it's different:

 

1st trimester: 0.1-2.5 mIU/L

2nd trimester: 0.2-3.0 mIU/L

3rd trimester: 0.3-3.0 mIU/L

 

This is what I stumbled upon when I searched low thyroid + pregnancy:

 

http://hypothyroidmom.com/what-every-pregnant-woman-needs-to-know-about-hypothyroidism/

 

And she says that the "normal range" that docs use isn't enough to maintain a healthy pregnancy. I can't imagine telling my doctor that my level needs to be between 0.1-2.5 when they think under 10 is fine.

post #16 of 45
Thread Starter 

what if you don't really have any symptoms?  I don't really feel like I'm symptommatic- I actually feel pretty good- slightly tired, but I am 6 weeks pregnant.

post #17 of 45
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Metasequoia View Post
 

But do most docs consider "normal range" to be the "new" normal range or are they still stuck at the number 10?

 

I saw that the updated TSH range is .3-3.0 but for pregnancy, it's different:

 

1st trimester: 0.1-2.5 mIU/L

2nd trimester: 0.2-3.0 mIU/L

3rd trimester: 0.3-3.0 mIU/L

 

This is what I stumbled upon when I searched low thyroid + pregnancy:

 

http://hypothyroidmom.com/what-every-pregnant-woman-needs-to-know-about-hypothyroidism/

 

And she says that the "normal range" that docs use isn't enough to maintain a healthy pregnancy. I can't imagine telling my doctor that my level needs to be between 0.1-2.5 when they think under 10 is fine.

my dr. is concerned about mine at 6.2... as she should

post #18 of 45

I emailed my mw and she said she'd be happy to order tests. I would rather have my ND (he specializes in endocrinology) monitor any medication that might be necessary but in PA, ND's can't do a lot of things that other docs can. :irked

 

By my calculations, I should be 5 weeks tomorrow. I guess I could potentially get blood work done on Monday and then share the results with my ND. I hope if anything's really out of whack that it's not too late to prevent anything serious.

post #19 of 45
Thread Starter 

I honestly think you'll be fine.  I've been doing a ton of research over the last 2 days, and I've read that the real danger comes with uncontrolled thyroid issue over the course of the first trimester.  It's so early for you, and even once you conceived there was still a week where your blood supply didn't impact the baby (at least that's what I've been told),  I'm about 6 weeks and I feel that if I get on medication this week, things will be fine.  I read many forums where women went much longer into their first trimester unmedicated and their children were completely fine.

 

Yes, get blood work done monday if you can, and go from there.  Maybe you can get your hcg levels checked too.  I had that done last week also, and it brought me such peace of mind to have totally normal levels.  Just hoping my rise from this morning's bloodwork will come back ok on monday.

post #20 of 45
Quote:
Originally Posted by kateaton View Post
 

I honestly think you'll be fine.  I've been doing a ton of research over the last 2 days, and I've read that the real danger comes with uncontrolled thyroid issue over the course of the first trimester.  It's so early for you, and even once you conceived there was still a week where your blood supply didn't impact the baby (at least that's what I've been told),  I'm about 6 weeks and I feel that if I get on medication this week, things will be fine.  I read many forums where women went much longer into their first trimester unmedicated and their children were completely fine.

 

Yes, get blood work done monday if you can, and go from there.  Maybe you can get your hcg levels checked too.  I had that done last week also, and it brought me such peace of mind to have totally normal levels.  Just hoping my rise from this morning's bloodwork will come back ok on monday.

 

^^This, exactly.  You and baby will be fine!

 

Also, I've only rarely heard of doctors saying that a TSH below 10 is fine.  That's super quacky and not the norm, even for the crappier docs out there.  Many conventional ones will say below 5 is generally good, but lower is even better for pregnancy.  And a REALLY good doc will tell you that TSH should barely be a consideration at all-- Free T3, Free T4, and symptoms are the most important indicators.

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