Screening for Thyroid Disorders Before Pregnancy
The Thyroid Foundation of Canada recommends all women get screened for thyroid disorders BEFORE pregnancy. I agree for a whole lot of reasons besides just overall health and symptom relief – here are some of the pregnancy-specific reasons I would INSIST on proper thyroid screening before pregnancy:
1) thyroid disorders can become exacerbated during pregnancy
2) miscarriage and infertility have been linked to thyroid disorders
3) the developing baby relies solely on the mother’s thyroid function for the first 10 – 12 weeks when it begins to produce it’s own thyroid hormone
3) thyroid-autism connection – yes I’ve been reading a lot lately about this possible connection. The rates of autism are sky-rocketing and some researchers are questioning whether maternal thyroid disorders could be playing a role. Dr. Raphael Kellman’s article is a good place to start if you want to learn more.
4) pregnancy-induced hypertension
5) preterm delivery
6) placental abruption
In North America there is no such thing as universal screening for pregnant mothers – in fact it’s controversial partially due to whether it’s cost effective, also a suggestion that concern over malpractice could also be at play, and some say that there’s not enough research to support universal screening.
This NEEDS to change!
In the meantime – ADVOCATE for yourself & INSIST on screening. If your doctor says no then be prepared to tell him/her about your research:
- Take a list of the possible outcomes of not treating thyroid disorders in pregnancy that I mentioned above to your doctor’s appointment
- Learn about the 300+ symptoms.
- Tell your doctor that American Academy of Clinical Endocrinologists and National Academy of Clinical Biochemistry (NACB) endorsed universal screening of pregnant women for thyroid dysfunction.
- Ask your doctor if he or she is aware of the Endocrine Society’s new guidelines as of August, 2012. There’s a good chance that your doctor isn’t aware of this. The Endocrine Society admits that they can’t come to a consensus about pre-pregnancy or prenatal screening for thyroid disorders and came out with this written release:
“The committee did not reach a consensus on screening recommendations for all newly pregnant women. “Some members recommend screening of all pregnant women for serum TSH abnormalities by the ninth week or at the time of their first visit. Other members recommend neither for nor against universal screening of pregnant women at the time of their first visit and support aggressive case finding to identify and test high-risk women. In some situations, ascertainment of an individual’s risk status may not be feasible and in such cases, testing of all women by 9 weeks of pregnancy or at the first prenatal visit is reasonable.”
It’s your body – It’s your baby!
Both Dr. Norman Wong from University of Calgary and Dr. Richard Lewanczuk, an Endocrinologist from the University of Alberta were interviewed and stated that they believe ALL women should be screened before pregnancy.