Tanya Enberg: Unexpected Mother


Did You Know Your Thyroid Can Be Dangerous to Your Baby?


The recent post I wrote about my thyroid issues, well that wasn’t the whole story. Of course it wasn’t. Is it ever really the full story? 

My thyroid went out of whack — the levels plummeted — as some of you might recall and I was prescribed stronger pills. For a couple of months I was feeling horrible, but within a day of taking my higher dosage, I was already on the upswing. 

But my thyroid was just part of the issue. Maybe I shouldn’t call it an issue. It is more of a body-health-life change. Yes, let's call it that. 

Here's the rest of it — I am pregnant. 

So while I’ve been sluggish and hormonal and not quite myself lately due to that finicky little gland in the throat called the thyroid, the bigger story is that it didn’t just randomly dip one day; it did so because my husband and I are expecting baby No. two and thyroid changes are extremely common in pregnancy. 

While testing thyroid levels is not part a regular part of the pregnancy blood work women undergo, I believe it should be as two out of every 100 women develop thyroid disorders during this time.  

My levels were impacted with our first baby so I can understand why you might be wondering why I didn't recognize the signs a little more quickly this time around. I am wondering, too. But in my defence, I mistakenly thought my fatigue was linked to typical first trimester woes. 

As the safety gate of when a woman can reveal her pregnancy has lifted (I am now more than three months along), I am finally able to give you a more complete view of my recent health issues. 

So I am here to stress the point that if you’re pregnant and something doesn’t feel right (yes, I know, very few things feel ‘right’ when you’re growing a small human inside your belly) get your thyroid checked. Better still, ask your doctor to check your levels even if you’re the poster girl for the perfect pregnancy. The test is quick and easy yet important and here’s why:

According to the What to Expect When You’re Expecting website, “Untreated or uncontrolled thyroid conditions have been linked to an increased risk of preeclampsia, placental abruption, premature labour and stillbirth." 

Meanwhile, hypothyroidism, which is what I have, has also been linked to miscarriage, low birth weight, anemia (too few blood cells in the body) and, though rarely, congestive heart failure. 

"Because thyroid hormones are crucial to fetal brain and nervous system development, uncontrolled hypothyroidism — especially during the first trimester — can affect the baby’s growth and brain development," the site continues.

Well, there you have it folks — the bigger picture (or, as is this case here, the bigger belly) and a reminder from the frontlines about the importance of listening to your body, acting on what it's trying to tell you and booking those extra doctor's appointments even if it's the last thing you feel like doing. 


Read more posts by Tanya Enberg: 10 Signs You Need to Get Your Thyroid Checked, Motherhood Changes the Core of Who You Are and Is It Ever OK To Discipline Somebody Else's Child?