The Thyroid in Pregnancy

The Thyroid in Pregnancy

Hypothyroidism, also known as an underactive thyroid gland, effects as many as 10% of women and about 20-25% of these cases happen in and around pregnancy.   Furthermore as many as 60% have sub-clinical hypothyroidism which can go undetected.  At times this is reflected as a normal TSH levels are normal but thyroid hormone levels (T4 and T3) are sub optimal.  In other cases,  women are not tested hypothyroidism and it goes undetected as woman will confused the symptoms of hypothyroidism with the symptoms of pregnancy. 

Support the thyroid during pregnancy in important as it effects weight gain and can even effect the fetal thyroid glad in severe cases.  

 What most people may not realize is that there are specific nutrients, vitamins and minerals that have been studied to support thyroid function so a prenatal vitamin that is formulated with thyroid in mind is a great for anyone, but especially those with hypothyroid, hashimotos and clinical hypothyroid.

When it comes to thyroid, there are many things that affect its function. The thyroid gland and the adrenal glands are sister glands. 

When someone is under stress (who isn't?) our adrenal glands (which are the glands that deal with stress) often overproduce cortisol. Too much cortisol can affect our digestion, immunity, metabolism and how the thyroid is stimulated. Supporting the adrenals with the proper ratio of vitamin C, B5, B6 and B12 is a great way to balance the gland and in turn then help the thyroid.

 For the thyroid itself, it is stimulated by the pituitary gland via the hormone TSH to produce a pro hormone called T4. T4 is then converted to T3 in the liver and gut and T3 is the active hormone and gives us most of the benefits that we know our thyroid to do (energy, metabolism, temperature control, hormone balance, digestion just to name a few). This conversion from T4 to T3 is essential because without it, the body doesn't get the T3 that it needs and T3 is arguably the most important thyroid hormone because its the active one. Nutrients such as Zinc and Selenium are imperative for that conversion and it is very important that your prenatal vitamin has the right amounts of these nutrients to properly support your thyroid.

Iodine is another important nutrient for the thyroid gland because it is a building block of the thyroid hormones. Iodine is known to be essential for brain development in the fetal brain. In addition, pregnant and breastfeeding mothers are at risk for iodine deficiency. 

 It is important to have just the right amount of iodine to support the thyroid but not too much where it can be aggravating to those with Hashimotos.

 An adequate amount of vitamin D is also essential for the thyroid gland and most people don't get nearly enough, especially in the winter time.

Laboratory values for thyroid functioning can be skewed in pregnancy. Because of the effects of HgG (human gonadotropin) which is found in high amounts in pregnancy along with estrogen, laboratory findings indicating a low TSH and a low Free T4 and T3 are normal in  pregnancy.  It is quite common to have thyroid levels further decline in pregnancy throughout each trimester and TSH levels increase as we get further into the pregnancy. Having the right nutrients can help prevent this as they support your thyroid.

As women with hypothyroidism ourselves, we formulated Prenatal Brilliance with thyroid in mind. If you have hypothyroidism, you can be assured you are getting all the needed nutrients in your prenatal to support your pregnancy and also your thyroid.

*Please note that vitamins do not replace the need for thyroid medication and you have to continue taking your medication as prescribed by your doctor*