Doctor's unnecessarily let 50,000 healthy babies die each year by ignoring thyroid issues in pregnant women.
Missing a low thyroid, even if the tests are normal, increases the risk of miscarriage by over 500% and this risk was almost entirely eliminated by simply giving thyroid hormone. This is one of the most common causes of repeated miscarriages and premature births. A simple anti-TPO antibody blood test will identify if you should get thyroid (though I think all pregnant women with fatigue or a history of miscarriages as well as women with unexplained infertility should get thyroid hormone).
Here are the numbers from this study from the prestigious Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism:
- The researchers checked 984 pregnant women for thyroid hormone levels and autoimmune thyroid disease (called "Hashimoto's Thyroiditis' — suspected if the TPO antibody test is positive).
- Around 1 in 8 pregnant women (11.7%) had a positive TPO antibody test with normal thyroid hormone levels (usually totally missed or ignored by most physicians). Half of these were given thyroid hormone and the other half were not.
- Women with these tests had a 13.8% chance of miscarrying (vs 2.4% with normal tests).
- By giving safe and cheap thyroid hormone, the risk of miscarrying dropped by 72%!
- Those with the TPO test positive had a whopping 22.4% risk of premature birth — which dropped to the normal risk by simply giving thyroid.
With over 4 million live births a year in the U.S., this means not checking a TPO antibody and treating with thyroid if positive causes over 48,204 unnecessary miscarriages a year! And as many if not most miscarriages occur before people know they are pregnant, this is a gross underestimate.