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The following "Questions and Answers" will help you better understand hypothyroidism and pregnancy. The key in dealing with your thyroid condition during pregnancy is close monitoring of your TSH and T3 and T4 levels and compliance with your treatment regimen. Interestingly, if you call to schedule a first visit with an obstetrician, they often aren't that concerned about getting you in that early in the pregnancy, because they may not be particularly knowledgeable about hypothyroidism in pregnancy. My suggestion is that you try to make sure that you find out you are pregnant as early as possible, and get in for thyroid testing as soon as possible after finding out you are pregnant.
I tested positive in a home pregnancy test 10 days post conception, had a blood test to confirm pregnancy at 3 weeks post conception, and was seen by a ob-gyn at a little less than 5 weeks. If you don't have sufficient thyroid hormones, you are at an increased risk of miscarriage, and your baby is at increased risk of developmental problems.
I've just been surfing the Web reading about thyroid disease and pregnancy, and what I've read can be frightening -- fetal abnormalities, risk of low IQ, possible developmental problems, recurrent miscarriages, risk of stillbirth and premature labor. Chances are since you are reading this article, you know you are hypothyroid and thereby know to take the proper precautions. The study concluded that women with a low normal FT4 -- in the lowest 10th percentile at 12 weeks' gestation -- are at risk for children with developmental delay.
So, you may wish to consult with a cutting-edge endocrinologist or thyroid expert who is willing to monitor not only your TSH but your FT4 levels throughout your pregnancy.
In terms of whether being pregnant is harder when you're hypothyroid, most people I've talked to who have autoimmune hypothyroidism say they've actually felt better while pregnant. In my case, when I called to schedule that first appointment, the nurse told me to start taking an over-the-counter prenatal vitamin with iron right away. This is a problem anytime, but particularly of concern during pregnancy, when you want to make extra sure you get enough thyroid hormone at all times. While we're on the subject of the iron in vitamins, it's worth looking at a few other things that can interfere with proper absorption of thyroid hormone.
I really want to have a drug-free pregnancy, and I'm suspicious of anything that might hurt the baby.
I plan to breast-feed my baby, and I'm wondering if I'll be able to, since I'm hypothyroid. Because only trace amounts of thyroid hormone medication -- when taken in proper doses -- are excreted in breast milk, yes, you can safely nurse your child. Fertility Awareness Method (FAM) is a collection of practices that help a woman know which part of the month she is most likely to get pregnant.
If you are want to use Fertility Awareness, please seek additional information from the resources listed at the end. Since the exact time of ovulation cannot be predicted, we add 2 to 3 days to the beginning and end. A woman’s fertile time (“unsafe days” if she wants to prevent pregnancy) is thus about one-third of her cycle. Pregnancy is prevented by not having sexual intercourse during the unsafe fertile time, or by using a barrier method such as male or female condom, cervical cap, diaphragm or withdrawal during the fertile time. To chart your cervical mucus, observe and record your cervical secretions every day on a calendar or chart. Using a plastic speculum for vaginal and cervical self examination, a woman can learn to see the changes in the os (opening to the cervix) and watch it open as ovulation approaches. Alternatively, to collect the mucus, wipe yourself front to back with your fingers collecting the secretions from your vaginal opening. In Calendar Charting a woman charts her menstrual periods and uses the length of her past menstrual cycles to estimate the fertile time.
Example: Count the number of days between Day 1 of one period and Day 1 of the next period. Once you have a record of your cycles, the following table will help you determine your fertile unsafe days. Keeping Your Chart Up to Date: Each month add the number of days between periods to the chart and re-calculate your predictions of fertile times.
When a woman monitors her Basal Body Temperature (BBT) she can see when ovulation happened after it has occurred.
Using an easy-to-read thermometer, take your temperature every morning immediately upon waking and before any activity. The main drawback of using the BBT method by itself, is that several factors can influence your BBT, including illness, lack of sleep, alcohol or drug use. Record your temperatures on a chart similar to the one above, along with your cervical fluid and the next technique, cervical observation. To observe the changes in cervical position, wash your hands, insert your middle finger, and feel your cervix for softness, height, opening, and wetness.
To prevent pregnancy, a woman should abstain from intercourse, or use a barrier method of birth control during her fertile days: 5 days before ovulation through 3 days after ovulation, about one-third of her cycle. The effectiveness of FAM for birth control varies, depending on the dedication and motivation of the woman and her partner, the length of time she has been using it and the regularity of her menstrual cycle. It is helpful to learn these techniques directly from a qualified instructor if you can find one. New technologies such as calculators, computer programs, saliva tests and urine tests can also help determine fertile time. Effective if used correctly and consistently, especially for women who have regular menstrual periods. For couples who choose not to abstain during the fertile time, barrier methods at that time offer considerable protection against pregnancy.
Requires considerable commitment, calculation and self-control, both by the woman and her partner. The symptom of pseudocyesis are similar to the symptoms of true pregnancy and are often hard to distinguish from it.
The hallmark sign of pseudocyesis that is common to all cases is that the affected patient is convinced that she is pregnant.
To be diagnosed as true pseudocyesis, the woman must actually believe that she is pregnant. There are various explanations, none of which is universally accepted because of the complex involvement of cortical, hypothalamic, endocrine, and psychogenic factors.[1] Proposed mechanisms include the effect of stress on the hypothalamo-pituitary-adrenal axis, constipation, weight gain, and the movement of intestinal gas. The rate of pseudocyesis in the United States has declined significantly in the past century. Pseudocyesis is not known to have a direct underlying physical cause and there are no general recommendations regarding treatment with medications. The corpus luteum (the remains of an ovulated ovarian follicle) is responsible for the development of maternal behavior and lactation, which are mediated by the continued production of progesterone by the corpus luteum through some or all of pregnancy. Dogs become pseudopregnant following an estrus phase in which the female dog is not bred, or in which she is bred by an infertile male. Cats become pseudopregnant following an estrus in which the queen is bred by an infertile male. Mice become pseudopregnant following an estrus in which the female is bred by an infertile male, resulting in "sterile mating".[7] Like dogs, mice are spontaneous ovulators.

Mycotoxins have been shown to be detrimental to sows and gilts by causing the female to retain a corpora lutea inhibiting cyclicity and causing a pseudopregnancy; as well as constant exhibition of estrus, and infertility. Esponda P.SourceCentro de Investigaciones Biologicas, CSIC, Ramiro de Maeztu 9 (Lab 008), 28040 Madrid, Spain.
SummaryThis review summarizes the results of research on gene transfer to the mammalian genital tract. Sirzen-Zelenskaya A, Gonzalez-Iglesias AE, Boutet de Monvel J, Bertram R, Freeman ME, Gerber U, Egli M.SourceSpace Biology Group, ETH Zurich, Zurich, Switzerland. Prolactin and oxytocin are important reproductive hormones implicated in several common adaptive functions during pregnancy, pseudopregnancy and lactation.
Whether this is your first child or fifth, whether conception took you many years or a few months, pregnancy is a marvelous, awe-inspiring time in a woman's life.
If you have the autoimmune disease Hashimoto's Thyroiditis, and have been diagnosed as having related "hypothyroidism" -- an underactive thyroid -- you are considered hypothyroid. I'm thrilled, but a little nervous, since I was just diagnosed with hypothyroidism last year. You are your baby's only source of source of thyroid hormones at this point - your baby's thyroid gland isn't fully functional until after 12 weeks of pregnancy. According to research presented at the June 2000 Endocrine Society conference ("Maternal Thyroid Function During Early Pregnancy and Neurodevelopment of the Offspring," June 21, 2000, Clinical Symposium: Impact of Maternal Thyroid Function on the Fetus and Neonate) there is increasing evidence that even normal FT4 levels that fall into the lowest tenth percentile during the early stages of pregnancy can be associated with poor infant development.
More weight gain that I'd have liked, and a borderline blood sugar problem that the doctor said wasn't gestational diabetes, but was close to it, late in the pregnancy. Should I take them at the same time, with a meal, or separately, or on an empty stomach, or what?
What the nurse didn't tell me then, or the doctor didn't mention at any point during my pregnancy, is something few obstetricians or even endocrinologists will tell you about prenatal vitamins. Eating a high-fiber diet and taking antacids are two activities more common during pregnancy. If for some reason, you can't take your pill on an empty stomach, it's better to decide to take your thyroid pill every day with food, than miss taking it or take it erratically - some days with food, some days without. Your instincts are good, as most drugs -- prescription or over-the-counter -- are not recommended during pregnancy. Thyroid disorders can pose special challenges to breast-feeding, but in most cases, women with thyroid problems can nurse. In fact, you have to have proper thyroid hormone levels to ensure enough breast milk for your baby. However, since Hashimoto's typically doesn't appear until the second decade of life, it's not likely to be seen in infants.
A woman can learn when ovulation (ovary releasing an egg) is coming by observing her own body and and charting physical changes.
To be effective as birth control, it requires her to abstain from intercourse or use a barrier method or withdrawal for birth control during her fertile time, approximately one-third of the month. However, in calculating the fertile time we use 48 hours in case more than one egg is released.
Pregnancy is most likely if intercourse occurs anywhere from 3 days before ovulation until 2-3 days after ovulation. Alternatively, if a woman wants to get pregnant, she can know when is the best time to have intercourse that is most likely to result in a pregnancy.
As a woman becomes more familiar with the signs of ovulation and the pattern of her menstrual cycle, Fertility Awareness Method becomes more effective for her.
Do not use spermicidal gel, foam, cream or suppositories as they can mask or affect your mucus, making it difficult to identify the changes. When she knows the shortest and longest cycles over several months, she can use a formula to estimate the fertile time. Within 12 hours of ovulation the BBT rises several tenths of a degree and remains up until the next menstrual period.
Keep a chart of your BBT over a period of 8-12 consecutive months to learn the approximate time in your cycle when you usually ovulate. Typically, during and in the first few days after menstruation, the cervix is fairly low and firm like the tip of your nose. A plastic speculum can be helpful in the beginning while you are getting used to finding and feeling your cervix. These high tech methods may be especially valuable to women who have had trouble getting pregnant. Clinically, false pregnancy is most common in veterinary medicine (particularly in dogs and mice). Such natural signs as amenorrhoea, morning sickness, tender breasts, and weight gain may all be present.
Women are also reported to experience the sensation of fetal movements known as quickening, even though there is no fetus present (50–75%).
When a woman intentionally and consciously feigns pregnancy, it is termed a simulated pregnancy.
In some cases, however, the patient may be given medications for such symptoms as the cessation of menstruation.
Most species require signals from an embryo (such as IFN-? in ruminants) to alert the female's body of a pregnancy.
Queens are induced ovulators, meaning that they will only ovulate and produce a corpus luteum if they are bred.
However, they will not become pseudopregnant following an estrus in which the female is not bred because the corpus luteum will degrade rapidly in the absence of coitus. Pregnant females produce litters that result in a higher number of stillborns, mummified fetuses, and abortions. Gene transfer experiments have been developed during the last 2 decades and have been applied using in vitro, ex vivo and in vivo procedures. Your hypothyroidism -- an underactive thyroid -- doesn't change that, although it may make your pregnancy slightly more complicated than someone without a thyroid disorder.
If you have thyroid nodules or goiter, and have been told you have an elevated TSH level and are taking thyroid hormone replacement, then you are considered hypothyroid. Yes, it's true, for example, that babies born to mothers with untreated hypothyroidism are almost four times more likely to have lower IQs and learning difficulties, according to a study reported on in the New England Journal of Medicine in 1999. Naturally, I had the typical tiredness most pregnant women experience, but it was a different feeling, not the bone-numbing fatigue and brain fog I'd had with untreated hypothyroidism, but more of a sleepiness that was relieved by naps and nighttime sleep. I ate very healthily -- I thought -- but looking back, I realize my diet was very heavy in carbohydrates and fruits. Iron, whether in prenatal vitamins, or as separate supplements, can interfere with proper absorption of thyroid hormone, causing you to get less thyroid hormone than you need.
You need to take the thyroid hormone at least two to three hours apart from the prenatal vitamin or iron-containing supplement.
Both activities, however, can have an impact on absorption of thyroid medication, and thus, affect thyroid function and levels during pregnancy. You may stabilize at a slightly higher dosage than if you weren't taking your pill with food, but you'll get to the right dosage.

Note the color (yellow, white, clear or cloudy) and consistency (thick, sticky, stretchy) as well as how it feels (dry, wet, sticky, slippery, stretchy).
Some practitioners warn that during menstruation and the first dry days after menstruation, you should only have intercourse every other day to ensure you do not miss the first signs of increased secretions. When your temperature stays high for 3 days in a row, the fertile period is over and the safe infertile time begins. When the wet cervical fluid begins to show, the cervix begins to move up, become more soft, wet, and open. Check your cervix about the same time of day and in the same position (squatting, sitting on the toilet, or with one leg raised). Of 100 women who have no vaginal intercourse during their fertile time, between 2 to 20 will become pregnant during the first year. Many health care professionals can be deceived by the symptoms associated with pseudocyesis. The abdomen expands in the same manner as it does during pregnancy, so that the affected woman looks pregnant. Other common signs and symptoms include gastrointestinal symptoms, breast changes or secretions, labor pains, uterine enlargement, and softening of the cervix.
This rate has since dropped to between one and six occurrences for every 22,000 births.[2] The average age of the affected woman is 33, though cases have been reported for women as young as 6 and as old as 79.
When some patients with pseudocyesis have underlying psychological problems, they should be referred to a psychotherapist for the treatment of these problems.
This maternal recognition of pregnancy will cause persistence of the corpus luteum and the development of characteristics and behaviors necessary to care for offspring. As in dogs, the corpus luteum persists as if the queen were pregnant, because the queen's body cannot distinguish between the pregnant and non-pregnant state (aside from the initial mechanical trigger of coitus).
When the female is bred by an infertile male, the corpus luteum persists without an embryo, leading to pseudopregnancy. It's heartening to note, however, that most women with thyroid disease are able to have an uneventful pregnancy and healthy baby. If you have had Graves' disease or hyperthyroidism, and have had radioactive iodine (RAI) or surgery of the thyroid, and are now taking thyroid hormone replacement, then you are considered hypothyroid. I was tested again a second time at around 9 weeks, and again, my TSH had risen, and a dosage adjustment was required.
The study went on to note, however, that children whose mothers were undergoing treatment for an underactive thyroid scored almost the same as children born to mothers with normal thyroid function. Pre-existing nodules and goiters, for example, don't tend to create any additional concern, and treated hypothyroidism adds only a slight risk during pregnancy. I think that hypothyroidism's tendency to give some people an exaggerated insulin response and near diabetic blood sugar levels may make some pregnant women with hypothyroidism more susceptible to borderline or full-blown gestational diabetes. This allows you to get full absorption of the thyroid hormone without interference from the iron.
To maximize absorption and make sure the proper amount of thyroid hormone is processed, doctors recommend that you take thyroid hormone without food, on an empty stomach, at least two hours after or one hour before eating, and do not take a prenatal vitamin with iron within two to three hours of taking your thyroid hormone.
Fertilization occurs if egg and sperm meet during the next few hours and days right after ovulation. You can use male or female condoms to keep semen out of the vagina and to protect yourself from sexually transmitted infections and HIV. It is generally estimated that false pregnancy is caused due to changes in the endocrine system of the body, leading to the secretion of hormones which translate into physical changes similar to those during pregnancy. More than two-thirds of women who experience pseudocyesis are married, and about one-third have been pregnant at least once. It is important at the same time, however, for the treating professional not to minimize the reality of the patient's physical symptoms. Mary I (1516–1558), Queen of England, was suspected to have had two phantom pregnancies, but this is strongly disputed; some historians believe that the queen's physicians mistook fibroid tumors in her uterus for a pregnancy, while others suspect either a molar pregnancy (proceeding to choriocarcinoma) or ovarian cancer was to blame. Limited research suggests that progesterone secretion is similar in pregnant and non-pregnant female dog, so veterinary researchers hypothesize that they may not require molecular factors from the embryo for maternal recognition of pregnancy, and instead the corpus luteum persists regardless of pregnancy. Pseudopregnant queens rarely show any mammary enlargement or behavioural signs and therefore rarely require treatment.
The female will develop mammary glands, lactate, and build nests in the pseudopregnant state. Specifically, Zearonol is able to bind to tissues that contain estrogenic receptors that would normally bind to estrogen causing the female to exhibit constant estrus. And if you have had any or all of your thyroid surgically removed, due to thyroid cancer, nodules, or goiter, and are taking thyroid hormone replacement, then you are considered hypothyroid. I've heard doctors speculate that some women with autoimmune diseases have immune systems that function almost perfectly during pregnancy, and I seemed to be one of them. If I have another baby, I will definitely follow a low-glycemic diet suitable for more strictly controlling blood sugar. Thyroid hormone, in proper doses, is replacing something your body needs in order to maintain a healthy pregnancy. The most effective way to discover YOUR fertile time is to practice all of the techniques described here. It explains how to identify, by your fertility charts, whether you’re ovulating, indicating a propensity for thyroid problems, poly-cystic ovarian syndrome, or miscarriage. Some men experience the same illnesses as a woman would experience while pregnant when their partner is pregnant (see Couvade syndrome), possibly caused by pheromones which cause heightened estrogen, prolactin and cortisol levels.
The treatment that has had the most success is demonstrating to the patient that she is not really pregnant by the use of ultrasound or other imaging techniques. John Mason Good coined the term pseudocyesis from the Greek words pseudes (false) and kyesis (pregnancy) in 1923.
Since the corpus luteum is not degraded, it will cause the development of maternal characteristics in the absence of pregnancy. After several fluctuations and dosage adjustments the first trimester, I had my thyroid tested every two months or so, and it varied no more than a few tenths of a point, requiring no adjustment in my medication throughout the entire pregnancy. The greatest danger is to think that taking thyroid hormone is bad for your baby, and discontinuing your thyroid hormone replacement. It tells how to establish and identify unambiguous infertility while breastfeeding, and how to identify when ovulatory cycles are resuming. Pseudopregnant dogs will develop their mammary glands, lactate, and build nests to varying degrees depending on breed.
Thyroid hormone is one of the few drugs in pharmaceutical category "A" (Low Risk) for pregnant women. Studies in pregnant women show that when taken in the proper dosage, there are no adverse effects on the fetus.

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