Thyroid & Pregnancy

Congratulations! You’re expecting! All of a sudden there’s a lot more to worry about. You’ll have to set up a nursery, scope out the best stroller, and of course, talk to your doctor about your thyroid. If you’re on the lookout for a new stroller, check out this website to get started!

Thyroid hormones are actually critical during the first trimester of pregnancy. The fetus relies on the mother’s thyroid hormones to help create the brain and nervous system. After the 12-week mark, the baby will produce its own thyroid hormones. So how does pregnancy affect mothers who suffer from hyper- or hypothyroidism? Is it possible to develop the disease while expecting? Do the conditions influence postpartum health?

Read on to find the answers to these questions and other pertinent points regarding pregnancy and thyroid disease.


The development of hyperthyroidism during pregnancy can be difficult to diagnose because pregnancy in and of itself causes the thyroid to pump out more hormones. Although the fetus needs the mother’s hormones for early development, there can be too much of a good thing. If the disease—whether developed before or during gestation—goes unchecked, there’s potential harm to mother and baby, including:
preeclampsia (very high blood pressure)
• miscarriage
• premature birth
• low birth rate

Symptoms of hyperthyroidism in pregnancy:
• rapid and irregular heartbeat
• slight tremors
• unexplained weight loss or failure to gain pregnancy weight

Diagnosis: If an obstetrician suspects hyperthyroidism, he/she will most likely order a battery of blood tests to measure thyroid hormone levels.

Treatment: Mild cases may not require medical intervention other than close monitoring. Serious cases may require anti-thyroid medications.


Hypothyroidism occurs when the thyroid isn’t producing enough hormones. Among the biggest concerns of dealing with this condition during pregnancy is that the baby will not receive the necessary hormones for early development. Of course, there are other risks, including:
• preeclampsia
• anemia
• miscarriage
low birth weight
• stillbirth

Symptoms of hypothyroidism in pregnancy:
• extreme fatigue
• cold intolerance
• muscle cramps
• constipation
• memory or concentration problems

Diagnosis: A blood test to measure thyroid hormone levels.

Treatment: For hypothyroidism detected during pregnancy, a synthetic thyroid hormone may be prescribed to bring levels up to normal pregnancy counts.

Postpartum Thyroiditis

This condition occurs in 4-10% of women in the year after giving birth. It happens when stored-up thyroid hormones slip into the bloodstream, causing hormone levels to climb and triggering in hyperthyroidism. In most cases, it’s a temporary condition. After a few months, levels self-adjust back to normal.

Unfortunately, many of the symptoms coincide with signs of being a mother to a newborn as well as postpartum depression, so postpartum thyroiditis can go undiagnosed.

Symptoms of postpartum thyroiditis:
• anxiety
• insomnia
• palpitations
• fatigue
• weight loss
• irritability

Risk factors for postpartum thyroiditis:
• autoimmune disorders, including Type 1 diabetes
• personal or family history of thyroid dysfunction
• previous postpartum thyroiditis

Treatment: Depends on the extent of symptoms, but may include beta blockers.

The bottom line is that thyroid conditions don’t have to diminish your joy of expecting as long as you and your doctor remain diligent.

Good Sleep for Good Health

Ask anyone who has experienced the negative side effects of insomnia, restless leg syndrome, sleep apnea or any kind of sleep disorder how important a good night’s rest is and they’ll tell you that the importance cannot be overstated. Research has shown that ongoing sleep deprivation will eventually result in compromised mental alertness, memory loss and susceptibility to illnesses. All that’s hard enough on healthy individuals, but for people with chronic conditions, the effects of sleep disturbances are even more pronounced. And rectifying the situation is not just a matter of buying the best mattress topper for an added layer of comfort, although that couldn’t hurt. Sometimes getting a restful sleep requires extra effort.




Sleep Inhibitors

Thyroid disease qualifies as a chronic condition that can affect a person’s ability to sleep well night after night. As you know, the thyroid gland produces hormones, and when it’s functioning well, it sends signals that daytime is an energy-filled period, and nighttime is when the body relaxes and recoups in preparation for the next day. However, for 20 million Americans, that cycles is thrown off because the thyroid is either producing too many hormones or not enough, both of which can change your sleep quality.

• Hyperthyroidism
An overactive thyroid pumps out hormones in excess of what’s needed, and as a result, the body’s energy sources are also out of balance. A person with hyperthyroidism may experience irritability or nervousness, even when trying to fall asleep. On those nights, the body just seems too wound up to be able to relax. Unfortunately, this can lead to insomnia or problems staying asleep because your body wants to move, which wakes you up frequently.

• Hypothyroidism
An underactive thyroid does not produce enough hormones, and as you might expect, the lack of hormones has the opposite effect on energy levels. Instead of being wound up, you feel fatigued and lackluster, especially during the day. Unfortunately, that tiredness doesn’t automatically mean you’ll fall fast asleep in the evening. What’s more, there’s evidence suggesting a link between hypothyroidism and sleep apnea, or interruptions in breathing while sleeping. Sleep apnea is a very serious condition and frequently requires sufferers to wear a breathing apparatus while sleeping.

Finding Sleep

Not only are sleep disturbances annoying, but if they go on for more than just a day or two, then you could fall into a repetitive and unhealthy cycle.

The good news is you can psych yourself up for a sweet slumber.
1. Discuss the situation with your physician and get tested for sleep apnea.
2. Take your medications to help regulate the thyroid.
3. Meditate or practice yoga before bed. The focus on breathing will help your body transition into a relaxed state.
4. Create a routine, such as bathing every night or climbing into bed at the same time to train your brain that sleep is on its way.
5. Turn off electronics. Sleep experts say these devices interfere with sound sleeping patterns.

With a little extra effort, you don’t have to let thyroid disease ruin a good night’s sleep.

Thyroid Alternatives

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