Fertility, Miscarriages and Your Thyroid

The Thyroid Summit 2017

Motherhood Interrupted – Fertility, Miscarriages and the Thyroid

The following are my notes from the interviews in this summit. For more information on any of these topics please visit the doctors web pages, links included.

Bridgit Danner LAc, FDNP
web page bridgitdanner.com

You want to invest in your babies health and should be something we all think about. If you have fertility troubles it’s much better to prepare yourself and get all your ducks in a row so you can move into fertility confidently. Women just get off the pill and get a prenatal vitamin and they miscarry, that may be thyroid, and then they miscarry again, and nobody diagnosed the thyroid and that takes a huge emotional toll on your relationship and yourself. There are ways to prevent that and understanding your risk factors, are you MTHFR, do you have a thyroid condition, how is your gut, how is your progesterone. Some of these basic things to know ahead of time, spend six months, spend a year working on that because if you have a leaky gut or Hashimoto’s it’s not like it’s overnight that you can change that. Better to spend that time to prepare before trying rather than just trying and be devastated. We all should be doing the research into our own bodies and it feels more proactive.

You have a twenty five percent chance with IVF, in vitro fertilization, of having a healthy baby if you nourish the soil so the baby can grow. I had a client who came to me who had IVF six times with no success because she had thyroid problems and said this is my last try can you help me, she was 42 years old. We balanced her thyroid and corrected her other problems of toxicity and candida and she was able to have her first baby at 43, then had a second one at 46.

Mary Shomon
web page thyroid-info.com

Fertility treatments are absolutely appalling to me and frankly I wonder if it borders into the malpractice area. We have fertility clinics and fertility doctors that are willing to charge women 8-10-12 thousand dollars a month unreimbursed from any insurance because fertility treatments are almost never covered to do stimulated cycles which have a lot of impact on your body. Egg retrievals, in vitro or intrauterine insemination treatments, I cannot tell you how many women that I have talked to that have gone into that process. That have tried to get pregnant and have said I have every piece of blood work that they did in front of me and they never checked anything related to my thyroid ever. Their fertility treatments were failing and they were spending month after month going through these treatments. Shooting hormones into themselves, experiencing all the ups and downs of stress and unhappiness of this process. Some of the women really listened, stopped and got quiet with themselves and they said, I think there’s something more and they started to read or research. They came upon the fact that there was a connection with their thyroid and they had not been diagnosed and said I want to the bottom of it. I have had coaching with probably two dozen women who fall into this exact story.

A substantial percentage of the women that I talk to who could not get pregnant, who had an inkling, intuition or a gut feeling that their thyroid might be involved. I coached with them, mapped out what the optimal numbers are and what the control points should be for thyroid levels. It’s very special during pregnancy that the thyroid has to be really contained and strong and stable. Those women were able to go on and get pregnant without assisted reproduction all on their own once they got the right thyroid treatment with the right practitioner. Gave their body a little time to get back in balance they conceived naturally. I don’t want to go so far as to say it’s a scam but it’s a scam. If you walk into a fertility clinic one of the first things they should do is a comprehensive thyroid panel. They are doing every other hormone  and they are doing procedures, imaging tests. They are starting people on Lupron shots and hormone shots with severe side effects and no one has done a TSH, a Free T3, Free T4, a thyroid antibody panel and a reverse T3. To discover that maybe a thirty dollar a month prescription might resolve this problem and put you back in balance, make your body hospitable to pregnancy and resolve your infertility. It’s not the smoking gun for every woman, there are women who have structural issues and other health challenges. I am not saying this is the miracle answer for every woman with infertility, but it is an answer for some. It’s being overlooked and ignored and some cases deliberately seems to me and that to me is a crime.

I have talked with women and my co-author Dana Trentini in our book Your Healthy Pregnancy with Thyroid Disease. Together we have talked with women who are 55, 60, and 70, who are still advocates and educated for themselves and said they left my TSH at 8 and 10 all through my 20s, 30s and 40s and I couldn’t have a baby, I could never have a child. These women are in tears. I have also talked to women who have said I had seven miscarriages and maybe they had a child eventually and maybe they didn’t. This is tragic, this is such a heartache to be denied this opportunity. Older women have said that no one ever told me that my thyroid could have an effect on my ability to conceive. Back in the 50s and 60s maybe they didn’t know but we know it now, it’s in the guidelines. The obstetricians and the endocrinologists and the gynecologists they know, but yet they’re still not following the guidelines. They are still not staying on this issue and we still don’t have universal thyroid screening for women who are conceiving, getting pregnant, thinking about getting pregnant, or women who have just gotten pregnant. To me this is a travesty and I think any fertility clinic it should be part of the guidelines for fertility treatment. A woman should have a comprehensive detailed thyroid panel before you start going to these much higher side effect laden interventions like hormone shots, egg retrieval and things like that.

We are also starting to understand that untreated hypothyroid during that fist trimester of pregnancy in women is associated with higher risk of your child being on the Autism spectrum or having varying degrees of ADHD. Again this is not a smoking gun that answers the question of why we see more ADHD and more Autism diagnosis than ever before. It’s not the answer to every condition that shows up in the child but it is associated with an increased risk of these conditions. It’s enough of an increased risk that to me it’s so absurd when we know the emotional toll of being on the Autism spectrum or the involvement and medication and issues around ADHD. Why are we not making this a routine part of testing pregnant women because again thirty dollars a month prescription could potentially help insure the health of these children, not all of them again. But some of those children might not develop Autism spectrum disorders or ADHD if their mother were properly treated during pregnancy.

Dr. Jolene Brighten ND
web page drbrighten.com

My hair was starting to fall out and I couldn’t get out of bed in the morning without feeling pain, my whole body was in pain, my mood was declining as well, and tired.

You want to be supplementing vitamin D, get a test for the amount for you. Another is selenium, 200 mcg beginning pre-conception, but if I see TPO antibodies pre-conception or in the first trimester we are continuing selenium throughout, you can use it in the postpartum as well. Selenium has been shown in studies to prevent postpartum thyroiditis in women who have thyroid antibodies. Women can help themselves by taking selenium during pregnancy and the postpartum period as a preventative. Also Omega 3 fatty acids are so great, you’re feeding the mothers brain, you’re feeding the babies brain, and you’re modulating the inflammation. I like to see women on EPA and DHA, the DHA is going to feed the brain really well but that EPA is going to be dropping that inflammation. Feeding DHA is actually a way to nourish your brain and it’s what I call preventing momma brain.

T4 is for baby and T3 is for momma, the T4 is what’s going to cross the placenta and fuel baby until around the second trimester when the babies thyroid comes online. What the American Thyroid Association says is if you have a pregnant woman and she has a TSH of 2.5, I just read a report from India that said TSH doesn’t matter if there is TPO antibodies. Give thyroid hormone so the treatment is Levothyroxine, usually 50mcg and synthetic T4 because we are worried about the baby and that I agree with. If you just became pregnant we should definitely get the T4 in, we have to get that T4 going. I have women come to me and they failed Levothyroxine and they say their head felt separated from their body in such a fog. If you have tried it and it doesn’t work pregnancy is not the time to go back to that. You have been on thyroid hormone, you have been on natural desiccated thyroid hormone, and you have been doing well we can continue to monitor you on that.

For postpartum thyroiditis the first thing is that whole foods diet, bring in quality whole foods and we have to look at what’s coming into the environment. We want to support mom and nourish her, we know nutrient demands are up, we need to mange her symptoms. This is something I like to be clear about with patients is when I’m treating an underlying cause and when I’m treating symptoms. When you are flatline fatigue I can’t ask you to go and cook when you’re barely getting through your day to take care of your baby. I can’t ask you to take care of yourself so we have to manage those symptoms. Maybe we have to use thyroid hormone, it’s important to understand just because you use thyroid hormone during postpartum it doesn’t mean it’s going to be lifelong. It can actually preserve and save your thyroid in some instances as well. So we definitely have to address those symptoms and we have to look at things like what can we do to really balance things. Anxiety is huge in new moms and Hashimoto women because of that progesterone, we need progesterone to stimulate GABA receptors in our brain and make us feel really chill. If you don’t get that then you feel like you maybe want to kill someone or you want to run away to the woods.

I talk a lot about herbal recipes in my book but something as simple as a passionfruit flower tincture  getting this has the same effect as stimulating GABA on the brain. If momma is feeling really anxious she can take a drop or two of that and that will help her calm down. Looking at ways that we can modulate that inflammation, we talked about getting the Omega 3s, getting the turmeric going, using probiotics and prebiotic rich foods is really key. They are great at telling the gut and the immune system all is well let’s just calm down. We know that if we can support the microbiome we’re going to support the mood as well. Then the adrenal glands are huge, in pregnancy I like to use safe plant extracts. We sometimes continue that postpartum but generally I’m bringing on herbs so during that time I might use something that gives you stamina, helps with stressors and mood modulation.

Christa Oreccio CN, HHC
web page thewholejourney.com

To prevent all of these catastrophic things that can happen with a pregnancy, if you have Hashimoto’s you must get yourself checked for the MTHFR genetic mutation. You must run your nutrient panel, you must look at your vitamin D before. You need to know if you are absorbing your fat soluble vitamins, how your using vitamin A, it’s of crucial importance. With someone who has Hashimoto’s I run a metals panel, I just want to see what’s actually happening so that way you can offset and you know you did everything possible.

I’ve had women come to me and say I had a baby eight years ago and I don’t know what happened since. I can’t lose weight, I can’t sleep, they feel like they’re steamrolling through life. You have to take care of yourself and replenish the hormones. I am a big fan of placenta encapsulation especially above age thirty five, we are the only mammals that don’t eat the placenta. It sounds so crazy and barbaric, you just have to take the mind out and let instinct take over. It doesn’t have to be barbaric, you can get it in pill form and take it like a supplement. It’s less than two hundred dollars, the average is two hundred, you just search online. You can take the placenta and follow OSHA standards that she encapsulates in a cleanly good way and hand you back your placenta, now your hormones can balance themselves double time. I have had clients say this is night and day, I can’t believe I didn’t do this with my first baby. I’m not depressed, I’m sleeping better, I’m enjoying this whole period, I can handle having two kids, it’s not that overwhelming. When you are strong you can handle it, you’re more resilient and the placenta has all the wonderful nutrients that become depleted during pregnancy and breastfeeding so it’s like a natural vitamin. It’s like your exact hormonal code, It’s a gift that you get to take. It’s almost as if you could create a multivitamin genetically for you.

Dana Trentini MA, Ed M
web page hypothyroidmom.com

Placental encapsulation had I known about it I would have done it without a doubt. They say Doula’s and midwives have been preparing placenta for centuries, the Chinese have been doing it for thousands of years. It’s supposed to help with the recovery postpartum, help with the balance of your hormones, with postpartum depression. There isn’t enough research yet, but by that time a lot of women could have been benefiting from it.

I lost a child needlessly so I went and got thyroid healthy and had my son, It’s was like a miracle because doctors told me don’t get pregnant again you’re going to loose another baby, you’re not healthy but I proved them wrong. I went on to get thyroid health and had my second son and that’s when I started my web page hypothyroid mom. Miracle babies do happen.

Dr. Izabella Wentz Pharm D
web page thyroidpharmacist.com 

For some women thyroid disease strikes after they have had their baby, these women don’t feel like themselves and go on to struggle for many years but the diagnosis of postpartum thyroiditis is often missed.

How many times have you given over your body’s responsibility to someone else. Have you ever been let down when you trusted someone else rather than your gut instinct. The truth is you have a wisdom as your body is communicating to you what is hurting you and what you need. Trusting those instincts are some of the most valuable steps in finding your true path to healing. So how do you know what to listen to, what’s the fear and superstition talking and what’s the true message your body is speaking to you. Don’t let somebody tell you there is nothing wrong with you when you feel there is something wrong.

A 2015 study in the Journal Progress and Neuropsychopharmacology and Biological psychiatry stated “The odds of Autism were increased by nearly 80% among offspring of mothers who were thyroid antibody positive during pregnancy. Thyroid antibodies have also been correlated with infertility and miscarriages”. This is why it’s important for women to not just optimize their thyroid hormones but to also get to the root cause of their thyroid condition and to address the autoimmune component of their condition before becoming pregnant.

If you are planning a pregnancy it’s so important to optimize your thyroid pre-pregnancy. Be sure to request a TSH, Free T3, Free T4, as well as thyroid antibodies from your doctors. Be sure to take a copy of your test results home and cross check them, don’t outsource knowing your own body to another person. Their mistakes could cost you dearly. You want that TSH under 2.5 and you want those thyroid antibodies as low as possible to have the best potential pregnancy outcomes.

All diseases begin in the gut because a compromised gut leads to a compromised immune response and this response often shows up in the thyroid first. Then it moves onto the rest of the body that could progress to other types of autoimmune illnesses if you don’t fix your gut. As you find all these diseases have a central root cause and can all be prevented first and also reversed. In order to reverse your condition it’s essential that you have a healthy gut and thankfully we know exactly what to do to get you there.


The information contained on this site is for educational purposes only and should not be used as a substitute for diagnosis or treatment from a licensed physician. It is essential that you discuss with your doctor any symptoms or medical problems you may be experiencing.

M. Scherker medical researcher.