I see a lot of questions floating around about how Hashimoto’s disease affects pregnancy. Today, I have the answers thanks to Jennifer Roelands, MD.
Jennifer Roelands is an Obstetrician and Gynecologist, and founder of Well Woman MD.
What are the best ways to increase chances of conceiving and a healthy pregnancy?
If you have a thyroid condition, your ability to conceive will be improved if the thyroid function is optimal. Make sure you get your levels checked and be on the right medication. Once you are optimal then it is easier to conceive. You have to have adequate levels during pregnancy. You will need to have enough supplementation for both you and the baby. Thyroid hormone is essential for brain development and fetal growth so a woman needs to have adequate levels to support both. Women with HT also tend to have vitamin deficiencies such as Vitamin D so they need to be proactive about their diet as well.
Are there any risks not clearly understood?
There may be a higher chance of miscarriage in women who are not properly treated. This is still hard to know for sure. It is likely more common in women with Hashimoto’s due to the attacking of the patient’s body by itself, but the link is not clear
Is it more difficult to conceive? If so, what are the reasons why?
It can be more difficult to conceive. If your thyroid is not functioning properly then it will cause irregular periods due to not ovulating. You need to ovulate each month to have a chance to conceive.
How is Hashimoto’s affected during pregnancy and how does pregnancy affect Hashimoto’s?
Hashimoto’s is affected by pregnancy because the fetus will need thyroid supplementation from the mother so the mother can get less hormone for herself. The fetus does not make its own thyroid hormone initially so it needs to be provided for by the mother. Pregnancy generally is beneficial for women with autoimmune disorders because the immune system is suppressed and therefore women generally have less symptoms. For example, women with IBS, lupus, RA have less symptoms during pregnancy because their immune system is suppressed.
Are there health issues you could pass on to your infant? Is there a higher risk of birth defects?
HT is an auto-immune disorder so it tends to run in families. So the fetus has a chance just because of genetics. The risks to the fetus are low IQ and impaired motor development if under treated. And pre-term birth and/or low birth weight if over treated.
A big thank you to Jennifer for taking the time to answer some of the most common questions about Hashimoto’s disease and pregnancy! Have any other questions? Drop them in the comments!
*Disclaimer: I am not a medical professional. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your health care provider