Just before getting pregnant with Ellie in 2009, my psychiatrist suggested I have my thyroid levels checked. She said that some times abnormal thyroid levels can cause psychiatric symptoms such as depression and fatigue, so it was worth a look. No one had ever suggested checking my thyroid before, so I went ahead and got tested.
My results were normal.
BUT it turned out eventually that I was oh-so-glad I was tested. A mere 3 weeks later, I was pregnant with Ellie. We had infertility the first time around so had gone back to the reproductive endocrinologist for an IUI, which worked on the 2nd try. The RE tested my thryoid as part of his typical tests post-positive-pregnancy.
And what do you know … my thyroid was level was NOT normal. I had hypothyroidism.
I had no idea this even existed. With my first pregnancy, no one suggested I have my thyroid checked or monitored. It was not a part of the typical tests. And I didn’t know my pre-pregnancy levels anyway.
What I CAN tell you is that with my first pregnancy I gained over 70 lbs. I felt horrible. I was M I S E R A B L E. The only thing that helped my nausia was eating. Yes, I know counterintuitive. But it really did make sense at the time.
Flash forward a few couple of years and I’d lost 50 lbs of my baby weight. A few months later and I’m pregnant for a second time, this time on meds for hypothyroid.
I gained 12 pounds. T W E L V E. (Since I was overweight when I got pregnant this small number was healthy for me and Ellie.)
I felt so much better. I still don’t love the way my body feels when pregnant, but gone was the terrible back and sciatic pain, the need to eat constantly, and I’d say my mood was a lot better. (Although John might have a thing or two to say about that. In general, I am not a happy glowing pregnant person.) But it WAS better.
The New York Times recently reported that for some, psychiatric trouble my start with the thyroid. Its a somewhat controversial link between mental and physical. But I say its very much worth a check. And its definitely worth checking if you are actively trying to become pregnant, are pregnant, or have had a baby and show symptoms of postpartum mood disorder.
Treating a thyroid condition, even if its not the cause of psychiatric trouble, could still potentially lessen your symptoms. And THAT is worth its weight in gold.