Health news. One in six British couples have difficulty conceiving. (1)
The HFEA collects data and statistics about the 60,000+ fertility treatments performed each year in the UK. (2)
Infertility is a painful subject to talk about. Most woman feel embarrassed and ashamed to talk about it loudly because it is one thing they feel as a duty of their marriage – to give birth to a child. And when they face with problems getting pregnant, they feel incomplete.
But why is it happening so much these days? When did it change and what’s going wrong with our bodies?
Ovulation problems can occur as a result of a number of conditions. Thyroid problems, both an overactive thyroid gland (hyperthyroidism) and an underactive thyroid gland (hypothyroidism) can prevent ovulation.
But there is a gap in diagnosing and treating thyroid disease. How many women aged 25-40 have feelings of fatigue, weight fluctuations, dry skin and fizzy hair, depressed and anxious at the same time, difficulty sleeping, foggy brain and other symptoms?
We learn to ignore them and accept them as normal, as part of being “a busy young professional”. We are almost proud to carry this image of “The 21st Century Super Woman”.
It also doesn’t help that in the UK there are no yearly physical exams with the doctor, who could check the state of our wellbeing and help identify the problem.
Because of that, thyroid disease goes undetected until a woman really gets sick or tries to get pregnant and faces an infertility problem. Being proactive for your own health is very important in diagnosing and treating this condition.
If you have hypothyroidism and hope to become pregnant, work with your doctor to make sure your hypothyroidism is under control. Low levels of thyroid hormone can interfere with the release of an egg from your ovary (ovulation), which impairs fertility.
In addition, some of the underlying causes of hypothyroidism, such as certain autoimmune disorders (Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis, Grave’s Disease) or pituitary disorders, may impair fertility.
A study presented June 2012 at The Endocrine Society’s 94th Annual Meeting in Houston recommended that all pregnant women should undergo thyroid screening in the first trimester of pregnancy. The study was conducted on 1,000 pregnant women in their first trimester in Ludhiana in Punjab, India. According to the study’s lead author Jubbin Jagan Jacob, M.D.:
If you have hypothyroidism and become pregnant, tell your doctor promptly. Close monitoring of your thyroid hormone level during pregnancy can promote normal fetal development and reduce the risk of miscarriage.
If your thyroid levels are too low then your doctor might recommend that you have treatment to replace the hormone you’re lacking. In that case, your doctor will prescribe the right level of treatment before you start trying to conceive.
In my experience and in the research I did, I found that the lower the TSH, the better the chance for you to get pregnant. Optimal blood level for TSH is below 2 (3). In addition to checking TSH blood level, it is important that your doctor runs a full thyroid panel including Free T4, Free T3, and Reverse T3, plus thyroid peroxidase (TPO) and thyroglobulin (Tg) antibody.
In addition, to feel better and get a person ready for pregnancy, a balanced diet and lifestyle will be extremely important. The right nutrition is a key to balance woman’s hormones and bringing the thyroid to optimal function.
Once you’ve conceived, you’ll need enough thyroid medication to help your body to adapt to all the changes that pregnancy brings. Your baby’s developing brain also needs the hormone, so it’s vital that your levels are right. I suggest checking thyroid levels via a blood test at least every 3 months. Women with higher TSH levels have a greater than three-fold increase in the risk of very preterm delivery (4).
According to the “Guidelines of the American Thyroid Association for the Diagnosis and Management of Thyroid Disease During Pregnancy and Postpartum.”, if a laboratory has not established its own trimester-specific reference ranges for TSH, the following reference ranges should be used:
So if you are ready to start family, please check with your doctor regarding your thyroid health.
Take care of your body, it’s the only place you have to live in.
I would love to hear about your experiences. You can find more suggestions on:
My website www.vilmaswellness.com,
or by joining my thyroid group ThyroidCureUK@groups.facebook.com .
Or you are welcome to contact me personally via email@example.com
To your health,
~ Vilma B
- Mary Shomon www.thyroid.about.com