There was an article that caught my eye in a recent edition of Fit Pregnancy called “Doctors Debate Thyroid Testing”. The author pointed out that while newly pregnant women often go through a lot of screening, that few of them ever got tested for thyroid dysfunction.
The thyroid gland, located at the base of the neck, produces hormones that help to regulate metabolism which can effect energy levels, weight, mood, and body temperature. Both hyperthyroidism (making too much of the thyroid hormones) and hypothyroidism (not making enough hormones) can play a role in pregnancy-related situations like optimal fetal development, miscarriage, preeclampsia, and premature birth.
The author of this article also mentioned a study that was done at the Warren Albert Medical School of Brown University in Rhode Island. Their findings were that children whose mothers had undetected hypothyroidism during pregnancy had IQs that averaged lower than the children of women with healthy thyroids.
My intention for sharing this information is not to scare anyone, but to merely pose the questions, “Why don’t pregnant women have their thyroids tested more frequently, but why wouldn’t women who are planning to get pregnant be encouraged to assess these health factors prior to conception?”
I am a firm believer in the benefits of preconception health care! Ideally both prospective parents would assess their present health, work to resolve chronic health issues and nutrient deficiencies, and reflect on diet and lifestyle practices that could have an effect on the health of their child prior to conceiving a child.
This conscious approach to child rearing can not only strengthen a couple’s bond prior to becoming parents, but it can also increase their chances of having
- A healthy, happy, comfortable pregnancy
- A positive, safe birth with little to no medical intervention
- A shorter recovery period postpartum, and
- A baby who is truly healthy
So what can we do to optimize thyroid heath during pregnancy?
The first step is to advocate for thyroid testing prior to preganacy and at least once during each trimester during pregnancy. Tests should ideally not only include TSH, but Free T4, Free T3, Reverse T3, and the thyroid antibodies as well.
When it comes to treatment, prescription thyroid medications are not always the ideal first stop, especially prior to pregnancy. As a functional nutritional therapist and herbalist I would initally look for holistic ways to support a woman’s whole endocrine system, as well as her thyroid gland specifically, to allow for her body to be more capable of producing enough of her own thyroid hormones.
As always there is so much more I could say on the topic! Please reach out
if you have any questions or would like more information.
China Rose Zamora is a functional nutritional therapist, clinical herbalist, and yoga teacher who has worked in the holistic health field since 1998 and has proudly served her community as China Rose Wellness since 2009. When she’s not coaching women to rise to their health potential, practicing herbal alchemy, traveling the country via mobile tiny house teaching inspirational workshops to demystify wellness, or co-facilitating transformational retreats with AJ, her-eco warrior partner in adventure, you can find her meandering on the nearest hiking trail or jammin’ at a local, live music venue. China Rose is a firm believer that wellness encompasses everything that nourishes us, body & soul!