The body has a lot to manage during pregnancy and often needs a little extra help coping with the countless needs of growing a baby. One of which, is thyroid hormones and the health of this very important organ.
Here we’ll delve into the role of thyroid hormones, maintaining thyroid health during pregnancy and managing ever-changing pregnancy hormones to help you navigate your journey armed with confidence.
Understanding Thyroid Hormones
Let’s start by understanding the thyroid. A butterfly-shaped organ in your neck, the thyroid is an essential part of the endocrine system. Through the production of the thyroxine (T4) and triiodothyronine (T3) hormones, it controls metabolism, growth, development and body temperature. Essentially, it impacts nearly every part of your body, from heart rate to energy levels. Disorders related to thyroid hormone levels, such as hypothyroidism or hyperthyroidism, can significantly impact your wellbeing.
TSH and Thyroid Regulation
To keep tabs on your thyroid's activity, your body has a built-in alarm system, called TSH (Thyroid-Stimulating Hormone). Normal TSH levels are from 0.4 to 4.0 mlU/L with low TSH levels considered as anything below 0.4 mIU/L and high TSH higher than 4.0 mlU/L.
When your thyroid hormone levels drop, TSH rises to tell your thyroid to kick into gear and produce more T4 and T3. Conversely, when your thyroid hormones are too high, TSH levels drop. This balancing act is essential to maintaining a healthy thyroid.
Thyroid Hormones and Pregnancy
When you're expecting, your body undergoes some pretty remarkable changes. And your thyroid is no exception. The demand for thyroid hormones increases because they play a vital role in your baby's brain development and overall growth. As a result, your thyroid become extra active during pregnancy risking imbalances that lead to other health complications.
Tackling Thyroid Hormone Imbalances
It’s not uncommon to experience imbalances in thyroid hormones during pregnancy. Some mums-to-be experience hyperthyroidism (excessive thyroid hormones), while others face hypothyroidism (inadequate thyroid hormones). For this reason, your doctor will generally monitor your thyroid health and TSH hormone levels closely throughout pregnancy to ensure any significant changes can be treated swiftly.
Nutrition and vitamin intake have a significant impact on thyroid hormones making specifically formulated supplements a worthy option for the day-to-day management of imbalances. Vida Glow’s Prenatal+ is an advanced supplement that helps to provide the increased nutrients needed during preconception and crucial development stages. It contains 21 key ingredients at therapeutic doses including many that help with thyroid hormones including iodine, iron and vitamin D.
Dietary Support for Thyroid Health
Maintaining thyroid health during pregnancy is crucial for giving your baby a healthy start. Adequate nutritional support can help to maintain balance and ensure you’re feeling your best throughout both pregnancy and breastfeeding. While prenatal supplements or thyroid vitamins are an effective and convenient option, it’s always best to pair them with a considered diet rich.
Key nutrients that play a vital role in supporting the thyroid gland include iodine, selenium, iron, zinc, and Vitamin D. Iodine is particularly important as it forms the backbone of thyroid hormones. Sea vegetables like seaweed and seafood such as fish are excellent sources of iodine.
Selenium aids in proper functioning of the thyroid and can be found in Brazil nuts and organ meats while iron-rich foods such as lean meat, spinach, and legumes help transport thyroid hormones throughout the body effectively. Zinc supports thyroid hormone production and conversion with good dietary sources including oysters, beef, and pumpkin seeds. Lastly, adequate intake of Vitamin D from sunlight or supplementation is essential for regulating immune function and preventing autoimmune conditions that may affect thyroid health during pregnancy.
Pregnancy brings a lot of changes and managing the countless symptoms and side effects can feel overwhelming. So, having simple yet effective routines in place to maintain thyroid hormone imbalances helps to put your health on autopilot. Adding key nutrients into your diet is the first place to start and consider supplementing intake with a high-quality prenatal vitamin.