Hypothyroidism During Pregnancy

Posted On: 2011-01-05

I live with hypothyroidism every day as some of you might know from my previous blog I Still Get Angry At Night. I am 39 weeks pregnant and wanted to cover some of the restrictions and routines I have had to follow while on medication for it.

Medication - Levothyroxine

- Must be taken in the morning at least 2 hours after you eat: Not a bad thing since when I wake up it's been quite a few hours since I have eaten but wait until you see the next few requirements...

- Take with plenty of water: They say this because they use a pill that starts expanding as soon as it comes in contact with liquid so it needs to be washed down appropriately.

- Have to wait an hour after taking medication to eat: Ah ha! This is where it gets hard. During pregnancy I wake up hungry and it can make me feel sick so waiting is really hard to do.

- Cannot take antacids within 4 hours of taking medicaiton: Thank goodness I mainly get heartburn at night!

- Cannot have anything with Iron or Calcium within 4 hours of taking medication: Most breakfast cereals are iron and/or calcium fortified. Not to mention dairy would be completely out of the question so finding something to eat once I can eat isn't always the easiest. It turns out that it's not just a mild reaction to iron and calcium, they can actually undo anything the pill has done plus make more damage.

To sweeten the pot on this last requirement, I also have a warm antibody in my blood that attacks healthy red blood cells which results in anemia. So not only can I not eat iron fortified foods in the morning to try and help my iron levels, I also can't take my prenatal vitamins until later in the day as well. In addition, calcium blocks absorption of iron so when I do eat iron I have to make sure I don't eat it with a dairy product or with my prenatal vitamin. It is all quite a juggling act and a lifetime accommodation.

During pregnancy your doctor or midwife will have regular blood draws to make sure your levels are staying in a healthy range. The baby really leaches off the hormones so it's very important to stay on top of your medication and testing. Thankfully I have not had any issues with my levels this pregnancy and have not had an increase or decrease in my dose of levothyroxine.