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What is the dietary management of hypothyroidism; does it lower the chances of pregnancy?

Q: What is the dietary management for hypothyroidism? I am 28 years old and was diagnosed with hypothyroidism one and a half years back. We have been trying for a child for the past 5-6 months without any positive result. Does this medical condition limit the chances of pregnancy?Should I go for further check-up?

A:In hypothyroidism (also called under-active thyroid) the thyroid gland does not produce enough thyroid hormones. These hormones are important in metabolism, and a deficiency may (if not treated) lead to weight gain. Even if medications are used, weight loss is typically slower than normal. Take regular exercise. Physical activity is especially important if you suffer from hypothyroidism. It is essential in order to help speed up your metabolism and increase weight loss. A daily 30 minute workout, building up to 45 minutes is fine. If you currently take regular exercise, it will help to increase what you do by just 10 minutes extra per day. It is also believed to help if you increase your selenium intake. This can be done by eating foods such as whole wheat bread, bran, Brazil nuts, tuna, onions, tomatoes and broccoli. Include some of these foods on a regular basis. Foods that are helpful for thyroid function are: carrots, spinach, apricots, asparagus, olive oil, avocado, sunflower seeds, whole grain cereals, bananas, oily fish, so choose meals that include these foods. Avoid caffeine drinks like coffee, cola; avoid stimulants like smoking and alcohol as these all effect the thyroid function. Cabbage and other brassicas vegetables (eg. Chinese leaves, brussel sprouts, turnips and kale) contain compounds known as thioglucosides which, if taken in excess can disrupt the function of the thyroid gland. Hypothyroidism occurs in about 4-17% of women during their childbearing years. Low thyroid hormone levels are concerning because if untreated, they can cause problems in pregnancy and your baby’s development. In general, your ability to get pregnant and remain pregnant should be better while being treated. It is important that you maintain good control of your hypothyroidism during pregnancy. You may have your dose adjusted frequently during this time as your pregnancy progresses. Please consult your gynaecologist and endocrinologist for further advice.

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