You take so many tests when you are pregnant -- the nuchal fold scan, the 20-week sonogram, genetic testing. We all have to do that glucose test. We pee in so many cups, we could have a tea service for 50 at the end of it.
But one thing that isn't often talked about is your thyroid. That gland in the body that regulates a whole mess of things, including how the body handles hormones -- by producing the thyroid hormone that regulates metabolism and a bunch of other stuff. Okay, right, as you can tell I am not doctor, but I know the thyroid is a biggie and if it gets knocked off, that can mean trouble.
There's a new study out saying even before you get pregnant, you should have that thyroid checked out, as 1 in 20 women who give birth go onto have thyroid problems. But, oddly enough, not everyone is sold on this idea...
Researchers in Prague followed 200 women during and after their pregnancy -- half of them had no signs of thyroid problems but, through a blood screening, tested positive that they could be at future risk. Of that group, one-third went onto have thyroid problems within two years of popping that baby out.
What does this mean? That women could get earlier treatment for disease if they are screened ahead of time and are made aware of their potential future problems. That sounds good right? But many countries, the U.S. included, have rejected universal screening for this. Hmmm ... I know many moms who, after having their kids, had their thyroids totally get out of whack. They thought they were depressed, thought were just really tired but, as it turns out, they were really having serious health woes because if that dang thyroid. Perhaps if they had been screened, they would have been more aware of the symptoms and the impact of pregnancy on your thyroid -- and they wouldn't have suffered as long.
The bottom line: make friends with your thyroid. Even before getting pregnant, make sure yours is working as it should, that it is happy and healthy. Tuck this info away and ask your doctor about it after you give birth -- especially if you have a family history of thyroid disease. As GI Joe said, knowing is half the battle, folks.
Did you have thyroid problems during pregnancy or after?
Image via Hafdis H/Flickr