by Stacey Thureen | @StaceyThureen
A year ago it was confirmed through post partial thyroidectomy pathology and blood work that I have Hashimoto’s Thyroidisits. According to the American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists, Hashimoto’s thyroiditis is the most common thyroid disease in the United States. It is an inherited condition that affects over 10 million Americans and is about seven times more common in women than in men.
Hashimoto’s is an autoimmune disease where the immune system attacks the thyroid tissue thus causing the thyroid gland to not produce enough thyroid hormones; inflicting the condition most commonly known as hypothyroidism.
Since my diagnosis I’ve been taking the synthetic thyroid hormone, Levoxyl, daily to supplement the lack of hormones not being produced by my thyroid.
Hashimoto’s and Pregnancy
I’m now nine months pregnant, and thankfully my thyroid levels have been stable for the past 18 weeks.
The first 18 weeks my thyroid levels were extremely volatile. According to the American Thyroid Association, the normal range for non-pregnant women is .5 to 4.5, and prior to pregnancy I was at a .83 with the assistance of the daily medication. But by week eight gestation my TSH was at a 9.34. The American Thyroid Association guidelines recommend pregnant women to be between 2.5 to 3.0. So this required a significant increase in my medication and put me on a strict bi-weekly blood work regimen.
By March my TSH went from a 4.68 to 2.1. It then picked back up to a 3.0 by early April. And once again my thyroid medication was adjusted for the third time in a two and a half month period.
So why did my thyroid levels sea-saw so much? For one, my nurse practitioner mentioned this is not uncommon for patients who have Hashimoto’s.
During the first trimester a women’s body is going through major hormonal shifts because her body is laying down a foundation for the placenta, as well as the baby’s organs and other vital body parts that we get to start hearing and seeing by 12 to 18 weeks gestation. The thyroid hormone is one of the many hormones that help aid in this process.
A lot of the same symptoms of hypothyroidism are also experienced during the first trimester of pregnancy, regardless of whether a woman had a thyroid problem prior to pregnancy. As a matter of fact, pregnancy is when a lot of women discover they actually have thyroid problems. (Click here to read a great article about this courtesy of the American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists.)
As I continue this pregnancy journey, I will soon enter the postpartum phase. That is when I’ll begin working with my Endocrinologist to figure out the best daily dose of Levoxyl I’ll need to take. It will require some doctor visits and routine blood work again. Most of all it is important for me to be on the correct dose since the thyroid plays a huge role in the lactation process.
Did you know that the thyroid plays a huge role in women’s health? As I’ve shared my story with other women, I’m surprised that many of them didn’t know the important role the thyroid plays especially during seasons of pregnancy, postpartum, and menopause. If you’re comfortable, please feel free to share your thyroid related health story here and what you’ve learned a long the way.
Blogger note: In case you missed it, two months I had the privilege of sharing about my thyroid journey through I am Second. Please read ‘A New Voice’ and feel free to share it with those you know who need encouragement for what they are walking through.