Thinking about expanding your little family? Before you start painting the nursery and picking out curtains, there are some other items that necessitate a bit of thought and action on your never-ending to do list.
Good News and Bad News
If you have suffered from any form of thyroid condition in the past, there is good news and bad news for you during pregnancy. In order to protect your unborn baby, the immune system is suppressed, making thyroid problems extremely rare during pregnancy. This is the good news.
However, a heightened risk of developing thyroid disease after pregnancy exists among women who have previously dealt with or are at risk of having thyroid issues. Most commonly occurring after pregnancy is something referred to silent autoimmune thyroiditis. This type of “postpartum thyroiditis” may go away after several weeks but is more likely to reoccur in future pregnancies or even grow into full-blown thyroid disease.
Furthermore, if you know that you have a thyroid condition, it is essential that you get treatment before becoming pregnant.
If left untreated, hypothyroidism has potentially detrimental effects for both you and your baby in terms of fetal development problems and maternal complications. Additionally, treatment of certain diseases, including Graves’ hypothyroidism, differs when dealing with pregnant women versus the rest of the population. For example, radioactive iodine is contraindicated, and surgery should be avoided if at all possible. If required, anti-thyroid drugs must be administered in lower doses due to immune suppression.
Women with either hyper or hypothyroidism may face struggles with infertility, although getting pregnant is certainly not impossible. Other factors include an increased risk of miscarriage and a decreased libido.
With hypothyroidism, menstruation is typically increased while the opposite is true for hyperthyroidism. Thyroid hormones greatly affect ovarian function as well as the entire endocrine system. Too much or too little thyroid hormone produces a range of complications within the reproductive system.
Ideally, thyroid treatments, such as radioactive iodine, surgery and anti-thyroid medications, should commence prior to attempting to conceive a child in order that the disease might be dealt with efficaciously. It is then recommended that you wait at least six months before trying to get pregnant.
This waiting period might seem excruciating for couples that are eager to expand their family. However, remember that these proactive steps are far better for both you and your baby.