It is said that pregnancy is the ultimate stress test for the thyroid, which makes a lot of sense given your thyroid controls the energy of every single cell in your body. Kind of important when you’re trying to grow a whole new human from scratch right?
Something that is commonly spoken about but in my experience rarely put into practise is adequately screening mums-to-be or those wishing to get pregnant for their thyroid function.
Why does this matter?
Well the chances of having a miscarriage doubles when your TSH (a marker of your thyroid function) is greater than 2.5 mIU/L, and they double again when TPO Antibodies (a type of thyroid antibody) is present.
The bad news as mentioned above is this is not commonly screened for unless someone has already been diagnosed with a thyroid condition (or they have a thorough practitioner on their team, ah-hem!).
Unfortunately the reality of this is that the primary cause of someone’s miscarriages or difficulty falling pregnant could be an undiagnosed thyroid condition (as antibodies can be elevated for YEARS before TSH goes out of range) and TSH is usually the only test ordered by your GP as a first line of investigation for lack of a better phrase. This means someone may have HIGH antibodies which increase the risk for miscarriage but NORMAL TSH and if TSH is all that is being tested, then this whole situation is missed!
In fact I have a colleague who’s friend went through 3 rounds of IVF before her Hashimoto’s was picked up. That is just not acceptable. Not only is IVF incredibly expensive, it is emotionally and physically exhausting. Of course it has its wonderful elements about it and I certainly do not want to take away from that but in my opinion all other natural options should be exhausted first.
So what’s the good news?
The good news is that you can request that these tests are done AND there are dietary, supplement, lifestyle and medical (when required) interventions that can absolutely help address this.
Is an undiagnosed thyroid condition the cause of everyone’s infertility or miscarriages? Absolutely not.
Is everyone who has thyroid antibodies going to have a miscarriage or be infertile? Again, no, definitely not.
BUT Is it worth screening for? In my opinion, hell yes.