My Hashimoto's Pregnancy | Managing my thyroid during pregnancy
I'm in my third trimester with my first child, and I've been sharing my health and fitness journey along the way. Another interesting aspect of my pregnancy is the fact that I have Hashimoto's disease, and was diagnosed the summer before I got pregnant.
We are due the week of Thanksgiving with a baby girl, and cannot wait to become first-time parents!
BACKSTORY ON MY DIAGNOSIS
Hashimoto's disease is a condition when your immune system attacks your thyroid. And to be honest, I hadn't heard of it before my endocrinologist told me that I had it in July of 2019.
I stumbled upon the diagnosis of my thyroid in January 2019. I made an appointment with my OBGYN because of a very late period, and I wanted to confirm if I was pregnant or not. I wasn't pregnant (I think my cycle was late because of the stress of wedding planning!) but the doctor did find some abnormal results with my T3 and T4 from my bloodwork.
My OBGYN recommended that I make an appointment with an endocrinologist to investigate it further. By the time I was able to get a referral and get into a doctor, it was the early summer.
Hindsight is always 20/20, and it's now that I realize that there were underlying symptoms leading up to the bloodwork that could have pointed to the fact that something was different. For years I was always go go go with work, running a side hustle, working out and having a social life.
And I noticed that the beginning of 2019 I was seriously dragging energy. I was having aversions to foods. And having serious dips in energy that made it hard to get out of bed.
The next 6 months was a lot of trial and error.
Some days feeling great. Other days I had to call out of work because I literally couldn’t get out of bed. Food aversions to dairy and gluten became a lot stronger. Depression so deep I felt like a shell of myself.
Despite all the challenges, I ended 2019 managing my thyroid and the Hashimoto's disease. I cut back on dairy, gluten and found that the less processed foods I ate, the better I felt. I also worked with my doctor on my medication dosage and ended the year taking 50 mcg of Synthroid daily.
PLANNING TO START A FAMILY
At the end of 2019, my husband and I talked about starting to plan a family. I had read online and heard that women who have Hashimoto's disease may have trouble getting pregnant. So with my thyroid diagnosis, age (34) plus the fact I had been on the pill for the past 3 years, we had expectations that it could take time for us to conceive. I stopped taking the pill in November 2019.
To our surprise, we got pregnant very quickly... in January 2020. Unfortunately, it ended in a miscarriage around 7-8 weeks.
Shortly after that, we found out in April that we were expecting again. And this one stuck! We honestly weren't trying and wanted to just see what would happen...and are super excited to bring our baby girl into this world later this year.
MY FOOD AVERSIONS DISAPPEARED
First off, I was sick as a dog during my first trimester. I went from eating a healthy balanced diet to only eating carbs and friend chicken. My favorite food is pizza, and during 2019 I had started to turn to gluten free crusts and ditching cheese on my pizza.
I decided to put caution into the wind one day that I was feeling crappy, and ordered a regular pizza from a local shop. I ate it, and didn't have any aversions. I was astonished and excited....and found over the months that I was able to go back to eating the foods that I had given up in 2019 (queso, breaded appetizers, etc.).
Throughout the first and second trimester I definitely indulged in those foods again, it was exciting to have them back in my life! But now that I'm in my final trimester, I'm working to limit these types of foods again.
Once I have the baby, I plan to go back to being gluten and dairy free to manage my thyroid.
MANAGING MY MEDICATION LEVELS
As I mentioned earlier, prior to getting pregnant I was put on a daily medication to manage my Hashimoto's disease (50 mcg).
Once I had the miscarriage the end of January 2020, my thyroid levels were all out of wack. My doctor monitored my levels and increased my dosage from 50 to 75 mcg. She also told me that increasing your dosage in preparation to get pregnant was normal practice.
In early May 2020 I notified my endocrinologist that we were pregnant again, and she let me know that we had to make a plan to increase my dosage and monitor my levels. This meant a bit of trial and error over the coming months. She first tested my blood levels at 75 mcg and then increased my dosage to 100 mcg. I took that new dosage for 30 days, and then took another blood test.
In the end, I ended at 112 mcg and she said my levels were excellent. I stayed at that dosage for the second half of my pregnancy and will go down to 88 mcg as soon as I give birth.
In all honesty - I hate the idea of having to take a pill everyday for the rest of my life. Once we got pregnant again I was worried about changing any medications. But post-baby I plan to do research about how to heal my thyroid with food.
ENERGY LEVELS WHILE PREGNANT
First trimester sucked, second trimester I was totally normal, third trimester has been a mixed bag.
Throughout 2019 once I knew I was diagnosed with Hashimoto's disease I realized a correlation of feeling VERY tired the next day after I ate certain foods. Mainly, gluten. I would feel sluggish and tired and it would be nearly impossible to get out of bed.
My first trimester felt exactly like that, from week 6-11. I was a slug on the couch, stopped all exercise and went into survival mode of what to eat and keep down.
And suddenly during week 12, a flip just switched for me. I had less morning sickness, I was waking up early in the morning to workout 6x per week, and felt like a NORMAL HUMAN again.
I've realized that while growing a human my body is working overtime. And that means some days I feel great, and others I didn't. So I tried to actively move my body the best I could, and monitor when I felt crappy if it could have been caused by food (and to try to avoid that food moving forward).
SUGGESTIONS ON HOW TO GET PREGNANT WITH HASHIMOTO'S
I've gotten dozens of questions from women with Hashimoto's or thyroid issues about how we got pregnant. I'm not a doctor or a nutritionist, but I did want to share the lifestyle I was living leading up to getting pregnant:
I limited the processed foods and junk foods that I ate on a weekly basis
No gluten or dairy
Only 3-4 alcoholic drinks per week
Regular exercise (usually 5x per week, 30 minutes a day, a mix of cardio and weights)
Lots of WATER! About half my body weight in ounces daily
No soda or coffee
Lots of veggies daily (about 3-4 cups daily)
Worked with my endocrinologist on a quarterly basis to have my blood taken and T3 / T4 levels monitored with my medication
I practiced gratitude very often in a journal, and tried to keep a positive mindset
Obsessing over your thyroid levels and creating stress, is just as bad as poor thyroid levels. Blood work is useful but also a snapshot in time when the blood is drawn. Your body WANTS a SAFE, LOW-STRESS environment to keep your baby safe… give it the chance to by managing that. You do have control over the stress. Give your body nourishment and peace through this and TRUST.
I'll continue to share my Hashimoto's experience post baby. Do you have Hashimoto's? I'd love to connect and hear your experience.
My endocrinologist: Dr. Viven Yoon in McKinney, TX
Maternity photos: Jamie Denholm Photography in Flour Mound, TX