Many women who are pregnant have thyroid conditions. Some of these conditions are a result of the actual pregnancy and are transient in nature, and many times these will “self-resolve” once the woman gives birth. But for those women who have developed a thyroid condition prior to giving birth, some may wonder whether they can follow a natural thyroid treatment protocol while they are pregnant.
Before I discuss this, let me first say that a woman who has a thyroid condition and is looking to become pregnant should ideally begin a natural thyroid treatment protocol prior to pregnancy. This would be the ideal situation for a couple of reasons. First of all, and as I pointed out in a previous article, there are some women with thyroid conditions who have fertility problems, and are unable to become pregnant in the first place. But by following a natural thyroid treatment protocol, this can greatly improve their chances of getting pregnant. The reason for this is because many women who have fertility issues have a hormonal imbalance, which in most cases can be corrected by following a natural thyroid treatment protocol which is recommended by a competent natural endocrine doctor.
The second reason why it’s better to begin a natural thyroid treatment protocol prior to getting pregnant is because in addition to improving your chances of becoming pregnant, it will also improve the chances of having a healthy baby. Natural treatment methods will put the woman in an optimal state of health, which can minimize the chance of having a miscarriage or a premature labor, and will help provide the baby with the necessary nutrients, hormones, etc. for his or her proper development. In summary, a natural thyroid treatment protocol can actually help improve the health of both the mother and baby, thus leading to a smoother pregnancy and a healthier bundle of joy.
But how about a woman who is already pregnant and reads this information, and then decides she wants to try restoring her thyroid function back to normal while she is pregnant? I’m definitely not opposed to consulting with a woman who wants to restore her health back to normal while she is pregnant. With that being said, I definitely recommend a different protocol for pregnant women than I would for others with a thyroid condition. As I’ve mentioned in the past, I always give an individualized treatment plan to every single one of my patients, but without question I am a little more cautious with pregnant women than I am with anyone else.
Are Nutritional Supplements And Herbs Dangerous For Pregnant Women?
If you visit your local health food store and look at the supplements and herbs on the shelves, many of them will contain wording that suggests women who are pregnant or lactating need to be cautious when consuming such products. What you need to understand is that many of the nutritional supplements and herbal remedies which have warnings aimed towards pregnant and lactating women aren’t necessarily unsafe. With regards to whole food nutritional supplements, there usually is minimal risk when it comes to giving them to a pregnant woman. In fact, it is essential that pregnant women take high quality prenatal vitamins. And since many don’t eat healthy, taking some additional nutritional supplements is also a good idea (Vitamin D, trace minerals, etc.).
It’s a different story with herbs. While most herbs are safe for pregnant women to take, some can also be harmful. To no surprise, no research studies have been done to evaluate the side effects of herbs on pregnant and lactating women (at least none that I’m aware of). This shouldn’t be surprising as I know I wouldn’t have wanted my wife to participate in such a study when she was pregnant or while she was breastfeeding our children. But this doesn’t mean that all herbs are risky for pregnant women to take.
For example, one of the companies I use with regards to nutritional supplementation and herbs is Standard Process, which provides both whole food supplements and herbal remedies. Once again, I wouldn’t hesitate to give a pregnant woman most of the whole food supplements available, but there are some herbs I would be cautious about giving, and others which under no circumstances would I give. For example, let’s take a look at the “cautions” for the herb Eleuthero (aka Siberian Ginseng) as listed on the Standard Process packaging:
“Not to be used during pregnancy and lactation unless otherwise directed by a qualified health care professional.”
Now let’s take a look at the wording for Bugleweed, which is an herb I frequently recommend for people with hyperthyroidism and Graves’ Disease (and one that I personally took as part of my natural treatment protocol):
“Contraindicated in pregnancy and lactation. Contraindicated in hypothyroidism and enlargement of the thyroid without functional disorder”.
While both of these herbs issue warnings to pregnant and lactating women, you can see the difference between the two warnings. Eleuthero warns that it shouldn’t be used during pregnancy UNLESS otherwise directed by a qualified healthcare professional. This means they are essentially putting this verbiage down to protect themselves from litigation, but in many cases Eleuthero can be taken by pregnant women. On the other hand, Bugleweed is clearly contraindicated in pregnancy and lactation, and therefore should not be taken by a pregnant woman under any set of circumstances.
I frequently mention how people with thyroid conditions shouldn’t self-treat their condition, and this obviously is even more important for pregnant women. And for those who think nutritional supplements and herbs are completely safe because they are “natural”, hopefully I’ve convinced you this isn’t true, and that some herbs can be harmful. This isn’t only true with regards to pregnant women, but with anyone, and is especially true when people mix herbs, or combine certain herbs with medication they are taking. This is yet another good reason to consult with a competent natural endocrine doctor.
Following The Factors Of Health Is Essential To A Healthy Pregnancy
Other than being cautious about taking certain herbs, a pregnant woman can follow most of the other components of a natural treatment protocol. Of course just like anyone else looking to restore their health back to normal, it will be essential for them to make certain changes in their lifestyle, as just taking nutritional supplements and/or herbs alone won’t cure someone’s thyroid condition. So anyone who is pregnant will want to eat well, obtain quality sleep, do a good job of managing their stress, get some regular exercise, minimize their exposure to environment toxins, etc. Of course this should be the case for any pregnant woman, and not just someone who has a thyroid condition.
In summary, being pregnant shouldn’t prevent someone from following a natural thyroid treatment protocol, although there may be some modifications as to which herbs they can take. This might affect the recovery process to some extent, but overall following such a protocol will still greatly benefit the health of both the mother and baby.
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