As with many major health conditions, a diagnosis of over or under active thyroid in women can often lead to that daunting reflection - can I have a baby?
Whether you want a baby right now, swore you'd never want one, or it was something you had never even thought about, finding out your have a significant health condition can and the big "can I/can't I" often puts babies on the brain.
This week we are going to explore thyroid difficulties and what you need to know in relation to pregnancy...
According to the British Thyroid Foundation, once a thyroid condition is under control there is no reason why you should not have a successful pregnancy however if you have un-diagnosed thyroid issues, or treatment options haven't managed to get it under control, then there can be some challenges conceiving due to the effects on periods and ovulation. Whilst following a healthy, low GI diet and getting regular, moderate exercise can help: it is important to begin treatment for a thyroid condition before pregnancy in order to reduce barriers to conceiving and reduce the risk of complications.
Hypo (under-active) Thyroid
Untreated, an under-active thyroid can have a significant impact on conceiving because periods can be either very heavy or even stop. Once medication is started fertility tends to increase dramatically however if your planning to have a baby you should talk to your doctor straight away as your medication will normally need to be increased in the first months. Equally, as soon as you have a positive test result you should make an urgent appointment with your doctor as you should not adjust your medication unless told to do so by a medical professional.
Hyper (over-active) Thyroid
If your planning to become pregnant it is recommended you tell your doctor first as you will need a blood test to check your levels and will possibly need to be moved to a different dose or type of medication to reduce cross over to the baby when you conceive. Like with under active thyroid concerns conception can be difficult if the condition is uncontrolled but fertility can improve quickly after treatment.
You must tell the doctor if you are or have been treated for thyroid conditions or Graves disease as any trace antibodies in the blood can effect you and baby during pregnancy and medication and thyroid levels need to be closely monitored.
Unfortunately there is a higher risk of miscarriage if your hyperthyroidism isn't under control so it's really important to make sure your medical team are fully aware of your health history to ensure you and baby are in the best health. Some women worry that they are being 'bothersome' but when it comes to yours and babies health there is no such thing!
For more information on Thyroid and pregnancy check out the British Thyroid Foundations fact sheet.