If you have been trying to conceive for 6 months or longer it is worth getting your thyroid checked. For such a small gland the thyroid has a big job to perform. It is essential for regulating metabolism, blood calcium levels, energy production, fat metabolism, oxygen utilisation, the balance of other hormones and weight maintenance.
I find my clients’ sub-optimal thyroid health is often overlooked by their doctor and full thyroid blood tests are never performed as part of a standard pre–conception blood panel. Generally, only TSH is tested, it may appear as normal and this may give a false sense of security.
Recent research has shown in “normal” or euthyroid test there may be positive thyroid antibodies present, which increases the risk of miscarriage. Overall 6% of miscarriages are associated with thyroid deficiency.
So, it is particularly important to get your thyroid checked if:
- You have a family history of thyroid dysfunction
- You have experienced previous miscarriages
- You have an irregular menstrual cycle
- It has taken six months or more to conceive
Thyroid health for conception
During pregnancy, initially, foetal growth and development is controlled by the mother‘s thyroid hormone, with help from the foetal thyroid hormone later in pregnancy. Growth and development continues to be regulated by the thyroid postpartum.
Poor thyroid function leads to:
- An unusual rhythm of your menstrual cycle, reducing the chances of successful conception
- Amenorrhea, which is an absence of menstruation
- An anovulatory cycle (ovulation may be absent), with a reduction in Luteinising hormone, which is the hormone that stimulates the release of the egg
- A short second half of your menstrual cycle (Luteal phase) due to poor LH response which impacts progesterone levels (active T3 is required for progesterone release from the luteal cells) and a fertilised egg can’t implant into the endometrium – you may be unaware that this is happening.
- Lower thyroid function results in lower basal body temperature, a specific temperature is required for the embryo to grow, this may result in early miscarriage.
Low thyroid functioning isn’t something just affecting women, it can also affect men as well. Studies show that low thyroid health in a man’s case can affect semen quality, reduce sperm count, cause erectile dysfunction and low libido. I urge both partners to check for preconception care to get their thyroid health checked thoroughly.
Do you think you need to get your thyroid checked or you would like more information?
Contact me at NatMed on 9339 1999, email [email protected] or book online and I would be happy to discuss your options.
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