Why Your Thyroid Health Matters If You’re TTC, Are Pregnant, Or Have Had A Miscarriage
The health of your thyroid is extremely important to consider to reduce miscarriage, have a healthy pregnancy or when TTC (trying to conceive). During pregnancy your thyroid gland ramps up production of thyroid hormones by 50% to provide enough support for you and baby. Your baby is reliant on your thyroid hormone until 16-20 weeks gestation.
Low thyroid hormones, or an under active thyroid have been associated with miscarriages, low birth weight, anemia, preeclampsia, preterm delivery, congenital circulation defects. One study showed fetal loss was 60% in women with untreated hypothyroidism. If you have a history of miscarriage its very important to have your thyroid checked.
Often doctors in NZ only check your TSH, but this is not an accurate measure of how your thyroid is functioning. You need to check ALL your thyroid hormones, TSH, free T4, free T3, reverse T3, thyroid antibodies to get the full picture. If your health care provider is resistant to check all your thyroid hormones (especially when TTC or you’ve had a miscarriage) its a pretty good sign you need to find someone who is interested in looking at your full health picture.
Thyroid antibodies are extremely important to measure. High levels can be an indication of an autoimmune thyroid condition. If this is the case for you, its very important to manage before conception, during pregnancy & after pregnancy. Also, your baby’s brain development is highly dependent on your thyroid hormones. Mild-moderate thyroid disfunction can result in neurodevelopmental problems.
Your nutrition intake & lifestyle factors play a huge role in the functioning of your thyroid. Iodine, selenium, zinc, iron, vitamin D all play very important roles in thyroid health. Iodine requirements nearly double during pregnancy, your body cannot produce thyroid hormones without adequate iodine. Iron is a co-factor for the production of thyroid hormone. Zinc and selenium help with converting T4 thyroid hormone into the more active form T3. These nutrients are most abundantly found in seafood, seaweed, meat, eggs. These are just some of the nutrients to consider for thyroid health. This is why eating a real wholefoods diet is important, to ensure optimal nutrition for conception, a healthy pregnancy and healthy baby. Lifestyle and environmental factors also play a role in how your thyroid functions.
I recommend getting all your thyroid hormones checked when trying to conceive, in your first trimester and again later in your pregnancy and going through your results with a functional medicine practitioner or a fertility holistic nutritionist or naturopath to ensure your best chance of conceiving and a healthy pregnancy.