This isn't testing on the baby, it is testing on me to see if I have anything at all that could be detrimental to a pregnancy. I don't complain because I know that they are just being cautious, though since I never go to the doctor if I'm not pregnant, I always end up paying for all this blood work as it falls under my deductible. What hurts even more this time is that since I will technically be pregnant over two years time -2005-2006 - I get to pay my deductible twice for this pregnancy. I still think that insurance companies should consider making a deductible cover one illness, especially a pregnancy, but of course they never will.
Anyway, despite the fact this blood work seems frivolous to me, this time around I am really glad they were thorough. I received a call from the nurse practitioner and I was very surprised to learn that I have Hypothyroidism (an under active thyroid). My thyroid doesn't make enough hormones and it causes all kinds of icky symptoms/side effects. Pregnancy can induce hypothyroidism, but the more that I learned about it, the more convinced that I am that I have had it for several years (my office just started testing for this, I've never been tested before). All of the things that I've been feeling/having including; fatigue, sensitivity to cold, headaches, blurred vision, constipation, hair loss, moderate weight gain/difficulty losing weight, sluggish metabolism?well I just chalked up to having had 5 kids, a full time career while juggling motherhood and getting OLD! I mean once you pass that 30 mark it's all downhill, right? Not according to my blood work!
I was started on a synthetic thyroid hormone right away as this condition can cause miscarriage (but usually only in the first 6-8 weeks). I also read up on what could happen to the baby that I am carrying, and I was so freaked out. The net is full of stuff on lower IQ, impaired psychomotor skills etc of babies born to moms with Hypothyroidism. I was also worried that my last 2 children might show signs of these things, as I am convinced that I was pregnant with them with a malfunctioning thyroid. Luckily my practice and my pediatrician both reassured me that all of that stuff is nonsense, babies are just fine when born to a mom with Hypothyroidism. It is the reverse condition Hyperthyroidism (over active) that can have effects on them due to the mom's being so over active that the baby's own thyroid may shut down. I was very relieved to hear my baby would be ok. Sometimes you just have to stay away from the internet, there is definitely too much info on there!
According to my doctor, I will probably need synthetic hormones for the rest of my life to correct my condition. This will also require frequent blood testing to make sure that my thyroid levels are where they need to be, but it is very manageable and I am OK with it. It honestly feels better knowing that there is something that can be done about the way that I've been feeling for the last few years, even if that means I have to take medication for it. The best thing is that the medication will speed up my metabolism which will be so fantastic. Maybe I won't be resigned to salads and chicken for the rest of my life to maintain my goal weight after all. That itself is worth all the medication in the world. Hello food, here I come again!