Hypothyroid, Underactive Thyroid And Pregnancy – My Experiences
Here’s My Experiences Of Being Hypothyroid And Underactive Thyroid And Pregnancy, Including My Hypothyroidism Symptoms
During routine blood tests when we were trying, and failing, to get pregnant, it was discovered that I was hypothyroid, which meant I have hypothyroidism – otherwise known as an underactive thyroid.
Here is how I was diagnosed, are all my underactive thyroid symptoms and what this meant for my two pregnancies.
I spent a lot of time googling about hypothyroid pregnancies, both before and during pregnancy. There is a lot of certified medical advice – make sure you always use trusted, official sources like the NHS website – but I thought it would be helpful l to read about other people’s personal experiences of having an underactive thyroid.
This post is not intended as medical advice or any kind of detailed, technical knowledge, it’s just my experience. For this reason I haven’t included anything around blood test levels or medication. If you have ANY questions or concerns please speak to a doctor.
What In An Underactive Thyroid?
Firstly, what is an underactive thyroid? Hypothyroidism is defined by the NHS as ‘an underactive thyroid gland (hypothyroidism) is where your thyroid gland does not produce enough hormones.’
It is usually diagnosed with a blood test, and can be treated by daily medication.
How Was My Underactive Thyroid Discovered?
Mine was discovered via a routine blood test when I was having fertility investigations. I would imagine lots of people think they have underactive thyroid symptoms, or have ongoing symptoms they want to get checked out, but this wasn’t the case with me – I didn’t have a clue until it was diagnosed.
In hindsight, I did have hypothyroid symptoms – but I had no clue that my thyroid was playing a factor in not getting pregnant.
However, when I wasn’t pregnant after a long time of trying, our doctor offered to do routine blood tests. One of these involved checking thyroid levels, and mine came back as showing that I had an underactive thyroid – or hypothyroidism.
Needless to say, I was surprised!
My Underactive Thyroid Symptoms
With hindsight, and observing myself during and after pregnancy, I would say these are my underactive thyroid symptoms. I think these are pretty common hypothyroidism symptoms in females:
Feeling cold all the time
I’ve always felt cold, most of the time – apparently this is a key symptom of having an underactive thyroid.
Again, I’ve always felt more tired than everyone else – although everyone I know is always tired though so it would be hard to pin this down.
Depression is listed as a symptom of having an underactive thyroid, and while I wouldn’t say I’ve ever had full-blown depression I definitely have a lower mood occasionally, despite being a pretty upbeat person.
Hypothyroid Symptoms I Don’t Have
In terms of underactive thyroid symptoms I don’t have, the big one was weight gain. I’ve always been slightly underweight, so this wasn’t one of my symptoms – even after I’d given birth.
This does seem to be a common symptom and it’s the one people are most surprised I don’t have.
Unusual Underactive Thyroid Symptoms
In terms of unusual underactive thyroid symptoms, the strangest one I have is itchy palms (weird, right?) I know if I’ve forgotten to take my thyroid medication – or forgotten to take it properly – because the skin on the palms on my hands itch. It’s not like a surface itch either, it feels like a deep itch, like the actual palm is itchy.
Underactive Thyroid And Infertility
The biggest hypothyroid symptom for me was not getting pregnant. We had been determinedly trying for a long while – tracking ovulation symptoms, charting, making drastic lifestyle changes – all the things you are ‘supposed’ to do, as well as all of the tricks and tips I could read online – read my post on what no-one tells you when you don’t get pregnant.
Eventually we saw our GP, who agreed to do tests which is when my underactive thyroid was discovered. He told me that I was unlikely to get pregnant unless it was under control. He immediately put me on medication, and then a few months after this I was actually pregnant (and very happily surprised).
I did have a conversation with a consultant who thought having an underactive thyroid wouldn’t have caused fertility problems – however, taking the medication was the only change I made and I was pregnant pretty soon after, which was after a long time of trying.
Having A Hypothyroid Pregnancy
When I finally did get pregnant, having an underactive thyroid was a big factor in my antenatal care (again, this is very relevant to me – speak to your doctor if you have any questions).
- Regular blood tests to check my thyroid levels
- Changes in medication after blood tests – mine was increased a couple of times during pregnancy
- Being under consultant care – having a hypothyroid pregnancy was considered a high risk pregnancy, which meant I saw a consultant as well as regular midwife appointments
- Additional antenatal scans – I was told that the main worry is being hypothyroid is that it will restrict the growth of the baby, which means extra growth scans towards the end of the pregnancy
However, I had a healthy pregnancy and a baby born at term at what’s considered a normal weight – so in my experience, if you are being closely monitored with regular appointments, it’s possibly to have a healthy pregnancy if you have an underactive thyroid.
Underactive Thyroid Once You’ve Given Birth
Once I’d given birth, the only difference in post-natal care was that I was given a blood test to check my post-pregnancy thyroid levels. My medication was then adjusted accordingly.
I found the first few weeks of being a new mum was when it was most difficult to take my medication regularly, as at the point you’re so sleep deprived and everything is a struggle – including remembering to take your medication at a certain time, remembering to collect prescriptions and so on.
Hypothyroid And Second Pregnancies
In terms of my second pregnancy, the process was pretty much the same as my first. I had a blood test as soon as I found out I was pregnant. And again, with monitoring and consultant-led care, I was able to have a healthy pregnancy.
This post is not intended as medical advice, it’s just my experience. If you have any questions or concerns please speak to a doctor.