The thyroid plays a critical role in regulating various bodily functions including your fertility and the ability to conceive. It specifically impacts:
The thyroid hormones influence the menstrual cycle by regulating the production of other hormones, such as estrogen and progesterone. Thyroid imbalances can lead to irregular or absent menstrual periods, which can make it more challenging to conceive.
Proper thyroid function is necessary for normal ovulation. Thyroid disorders can disrupt the hormonal balance and impair ovulation, resulting in reduced fertility.
Thyroid hormones have a direct effect on the production of other reproductive hormones, including follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH) and luteinizing hormone (LH). Imbalances in thyroid hormone levels can interfere with the normal hormonal signaling required for ovulation and fertility.
Thyroid dysfunction can affect the quality of eggs produced by the ovaries. Poor egg quality can reduce the chances of successful fertilization and implantation.
Thyroid hormones are essential for the development of the uterine lining and implantation of the fertilized egg. Thyroid disorders may disrupt the implantation process, increasing the risk of early pregnancy loss or miscarriage.
Thyroid disorders can contribute to imbalances in other hormones involved in fertility, such as prolactin. Elevated levels of prolactin, often seen in certain thyroid conditions, can interfere with ovulation and fertility.
This is because both the sperm and egg are susceptible to damage and oxidation while they are maturing. Treatment of hormone imbalances needs to be done prior to conception so that the egg and sperm of any successful pregnancy are fully developed and in the healthiest state possible. A qualified practitioner can help build a personalised preconception program for you and your partner to guide you along. This may include:
A woman’s eggs take about 100 days to mature for release and the formation of sperm takes approximately 116 days.
Some women have a thyroid disorder that may begin before or during pregnancy or soon after delivery. Thyroid disorders during pregnancy may affect both mother and baby, but with proper treatment, most women with thyroid disorders can have a healthy baby. Increasing demands from a developing baby can cause new-onset or worsening hypothyroidism for the pregnant woman.
Unfortunately, the thyroid hormone is essential for the normal development of the fetal brain and nervous system. During the first trimester of pregnancy, the fetus is completely dependent on the mother for the supply of thyroid hormone. At 10 to 12 weeks, the baby’s thyroid gland begins to produce thyroid hormone on its own. The baby, however, remains dependent on the mother for the supply of iodine, which is an essential nutrient that makes thyroid hormones plus is responsible for optimal brain development, and studies have proven iodine taken by the pregnant mother improves the child’s IQ score later in life.
5 – 10 % of women will develop inflammation of the thyroid gland – called postpartum thyroiditis – within the first year of childbirth which can cause hypothyroidism, hyperthyroidism, or hyperthyroidism followed by hypothyroidism. This may last for a year, but some women report never going back to their pre-pregnancy self.
From a Functional Health perspective, we are not trying to diagnose a disease but to understand how to best support the health of the mother before, during, and after birth, which will offer the best start possible for the baby. Therefore, further testing is used to find the complete picture behind the symptoms. We aim to treat the cause, not just the symptoms.
Good thyroid function is essential to a healthy reproductive system, and your ability to successfully conceive, have a healthy pregnancy and deliver a healthy baby. All 8 thyroid markers help identify any issues in the production and conversion of these vital hormones.
Nearly half of women have at least a mild deficiency in iodine, and research suggests it could impair their fertility. Iodine status impacts fertility success and the future IQ of the baby. It is ideal to optimise iodine before planning to fall pregnant.
Whilst cortisol does not have a direct impact on fertility, there is an association between infertility and long-term stress. Too much cortisol affects blood sugars, which impacts ovulation and egg quality and can even result in “idiopathic” infertility
Insulin and blood sugar affect the entire hormonal system when out of whack. High sugar diets, diabetes, and chronic stress are all factors that can affect fertility and pregnancy by disrupting your blood sugar system. Testing is a part of every natal testing plan.
All pregnancies increase women’s risk of cardiovascular disease. Women who have fertility treatment are more likely to be older, have diabetes, or have high blood pressure than women who conceive naturally. Screening can pick up milder imbalances that can be a part of the complete picture.
This panel is essential – it includes an important test called 5MTHF (the active form of folate). With up to 75% of the population having some level of genetic factor affecting genes responsible for methylation, knowing your metabolic markers will help ensure your nutritional needs are being correctly met.
Your liver is a big player in hormonal regulation, as well as the elimination of toxins and waste products from your blood. Your body needs to keep just the right balance of estrogen in the body for good fertility, and throughout pregnancy. This test checks important liver markers to guide dietary or nutritional support as required.
The main reproductive hormones estrogen, testosterone, and progesterone are instrumental in fertility, pregnancy, and sperm production. Progesterone is the major hormone that promotes pregnancy, with estrogen dominance a common factor to address if there are any deviances from a healthy and normal menstrual cycle.
Food intolerances have been found to cause inflammation anywhere in the body, including the reproductive system. This affects fertility, and hormonal imbalances, and can even impact endometriosis and infertility. A simple blood test will show exactly which foods to eat or avoid to help get your body to its healthiest state.
Complementary therapies to support healthy pregnancy include healthy fats supplementation to support the baby’s neural development, immunity, and cognitive function.
Iodine is an essential nutrient that is required in higher amounts during pregnancy, with the best approach being for both the mother and father to optimise their iodine status before conception.
Probiotics are highly recommended and well researched for their role in supporting healthy babies whilst also supporting the mothers immune system.
Some patients need above the RDI of dietary nutrients such as Vitamin D3, iron, calcium, magnesium, folate, and iodine. Certain genetic mutations may require specialist vitamin therapy, such as people with the MTHFR gene mutation.
Herbal medicine offers great treatment options not only to prepare for conception and a women’s menstrual cycle, but also to manage pregnancy symptoms if needed, and prepare for a healthy birth in the third trimester. Pregnancy-safe natural medicine options are needed for sicknesses such as cold and flu since most over-the-counter drugs are contraindicated in pregnancy.
During pregnancy, there are certain foods and beverages that you should avoid as they may be harmful to your baby.
Listeria and toxoplasmosis are uncommon infections that can be passed onto your unborn baby.
Listeria is killed by cooking, so make sure that when you reheat food, it is very hot.
Ask your midwife or nutritionist for more support with your own dietary needs or book an appointment with us.
We help patients across their entire conception journey, whether it’s through investigating to determine what’s preventing them from conceiving, supporting them through their pregnancy or helping to heal their postpartum thyroid condition, our practitioners are experts. Book a free 15-minute consult with one of our team and find out how we can help you.