042: Dr. Izabella Wentz on Thyroid Disease and Pregnancy

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Thyroid Disease and Pregnancy
Wellness Mama » Episode » 042: Dr. Izabella Wentz on Thyroid Disease and Pregnancy
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042: Dr. Izabella Wentz on Thyroid Disease and Pregnancy

Welcome to the new and updated version of the Wellness Mama Podcast! After a long hiatus, we’re finally back! Each month, I’ll focus on one main topic, offering deeper knowledge in more digestible doses each week.

I’m also excited to introduce my friend Whitney, who will be a co-host on the show. Whitney will be the voice of our listeners and readers, asking your most important questions.

The first topic we’re diving into together is thyroid health. In upcoming episodes, we’ll be chatting with thyroid specialist, Dr. Izabella Wentz. But in this episode, I share my personal journey in this area.

Thyroid Disease and Pregnancy

It took nearly ten years for me to get a proper diagnoses of my thyroid issue, Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, an auto-immune form of thyroid disease. This is a complex issue, but I have finally started to make progress with the help of thyroid experts and doctors.

The effects of this condition have affected me since childhood, but I really began to notice something was wrong after the birth of my first child. After giving birth to him, I had a lot more of the more traditional thyroid symptoms like being cold more often, thinning hair especially in the eyebrows, digestive issues, and difficulty losing the baby weight. In my pregnancies that followed over the next 6 years, the issue snowballed.

The frustrating part of it all was that my blood tests didn’t indicate that I had a thyroid problem. I felt like I was going crazy because I knew something had to be wrong, but my doctors kept telling me things were normal. It wasn’t until I found a doctor who understood the nature of the autoimmune side of thyroid disease that I began to find answers.

If you suspect that you might have thyroid disease, I hope you can learn from my journey. Through many years of trial and error, I have found helpful ways to treat this problem as well as popular treatments that absolutely made things worse. For example, in my case adjusting my diet to discovery triggers (like gluten) was very helpful, while the common advice to take iodine supplements only made things worse for me.

Now, as I am currently pregnant again, I am working with a doctor on a protocol to ensure my thyroid condition stays in check. We’re testing my thyroid levels often, and I’m also taking a replacement thyroid hormone called WP Thyroid which is a natural T3 T4 combination that’s often used for Hashimoto’s and other types of thyroid disease. I’m also focusing my diet on high nutrient foods like proteins, healthy fats, bone broths, and lots of vegetables, which is helpful for thyroid function and the pregnancy in general. Check out this post on boosting thyroid function naturally.

It’s a work in progress, but working my doctor and monitoring the essentials of diet and sleep have made a huge impact on my health during this pregnancy.

Resources I Mention

[toggle title=”Read Transcript”]
Katie: Hi and welcome to the Healthy Moms podcast. I’m Katie from

You might have noticed there’s a new format on the podcast today and a new
name. After taking a little bit of a hiatus, we’re switching to a new format for the
podcast and following more of a series model. One question and complaint I got
before was that it was hard to cover so much information with an expert in only
one episode. In the new format, I’ll be taking much deeper and more in depth
dives into single topics but with experts for several episodes in a row to make a
series. I’ll also be focusing on making the episodes more conversational and
more like I’m having coffee with a friend to make it easier to relate and easier to
listen in the car if you’re driving your kids to school or just cooking dinner.

To that note, I’m actually bringing on a friend and a co-host. My friend, Whitney, is
going to be joining and she’s going to be representing the listeners of the podcast
and the readers of my blog to ask questions and offer experience and to make a
more conversational tone for the podcast. I’m super excited. Could not be more
thrilled to welcome Whitney to the podcast.

Whitney: Thank you, Katie. I’m so excited to be here and I’ve been a reader and a fan of
your blog and your podcast. I just couldn’t be more grateful for being here. I can’t
wait to delve into all this new research.

Katie: Awesome. Me too. The first topic for this series, it’ll take about a month to cover
in depth, that I know a lot of people struggle with, including me personally, and
that’s thyroid health. If you read my blog before, you know that this is a struggle
that I’ve had personally for a really long time. In the next few episodes, we’ll
actually bring in thyroid expert and pharmacist, Dr. Isabelle Wentz, who
specializes in helping people determine the root cause of their thyroid struggles
and reverse it. She’s just an amazing expert and a friend. I can’t wait to really
deep dive in to some topics with her.

Whitney: She’s going to be awesome. In fact, she’s offered a free resource to anyone
listening. Especially anyone who struggles with thyroid disease or symptoms. If
you would like her Overcoming Thyroid Fatigue Guide just email
podcast@wellnessmama.com with the word thyroid in the subject line and we’ll
send it right over.

Katie: I’ve read it and it is an incredibly helpful resource that covers a lot of aspects of
thyroid health and was helpful to me personally.

Whitney: Katie, you also have a lot of personal experience with thyroid disease. This is a
very personal topic for you and one that you spent almost a decade trying to find
answers for. Can you talk about your own journey with thyroid disease?

Katie: Yeah. Absolutely. As you mentioned, that was a really, really long road for me. In
fact, it did take almost ten years before I got any actual answers as to what was
wrong with me and a clear diagnosis that it was in fact Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis
which is an autoimmune form of thyroid disease where the body is essentially
attacking the thyroid. This reaction happening in the thyroid can either cause it to
become enlarged or to shrink but either way the body is attacking the tissue of
the thyroid. It can be a really complex issue to try to solve and thankfully I finally
started to work with experts and doctors who were making real progress.

The road for me started long before I even thought it did probably. Maybe even
as early as childhood. To go really far back, this is probably a common
experience for a lot of listeners. I had a lot of rounds of antibiotics when I was very young. In fact, before I was even five years old, I can’t even count the
number of times I took that pink liquid of penicillin. I had strep throat constantly. I
think I had it at least four or five times a year. Usually a lot more. By that age, I
had had my tonsils and adenoids removed. I had had tubes in my ear. It was to
the point that I also developed an allergy to penicillin and got hives and then
started developing allergies to other medications as well.

Thankfully, removing my tonsils seemed to help with not getting strep throat as
much and I did seem to be a lot healthier with the years following that. Then,
starting in probably my early high school years, I’m very type A so I was spending
a ton of time studying and in every activity imaginable and not sleeping very
much because I was trying to do all these activities and still get my homework
done and apply for colleges and everything else that comes with high school.

Lack of sleep was a big factor in high school. I started noticing just that I was
fatigued, which is normal with lack of sleep, but also just some random smaller
symptoms that I didn’t think anything of at the time. At that point I was also just
eating really just junk food that was available in high schools. In the cafeteria, I
was eating what was served and it was probably all very high in soy which can
aggravate the thyroid and just processed food that was low in nutrients. Of
course also nutrient deficiency is a factor in thyroid disease so that’s probably
when I starting getting the triggers of the actual thyroid problem that I struggle
with now.

That got worse in college. The same scenario. Lots of stress, bad diet, lack of
sleep, and just basically the perfect storm if you wanted to create thyroid disease,
that’s how you would do it. If you want to have a thyroid disease, try that. At that
point after college, I got married and got pregnant with our first child. That was,
for me, I think the straw that broke the camel’s back. You hear that a lot with
women that any kind of hormonal change can really aggravate an underlying
condition and cause it to flare even if it’s kind of under control.

After giving birth to him, I had a lot more of the more traditional thyroid symptoms
like being cold more often, thinning hair especially in the eyebrows, some skin
symptoms and digestive symptoms, and just trouble losing the baby weight which
was surprising to me because I thought I still was pretty young and that it
should’ve been pretty easy. Having several pregnancies pretty close together kind of snowballed the effect and made the symptoms much more noticeable.

The frustrating part during that time is that I was going to doctors and midwives
and all of the OBs that I worked with and saying, “These are my symptoms. I
think it is thyroid related from what I read.” They would run blood tests and then
they would tell me, “Well, your levels are a little bit low but they’re still in the
normal range. They’re nothing to worry about. We’ll just monitor them again next
year. This is really normal after you have a baby.”

This went on for a good six to seven years of not being able to get answers but
knowing something was wrong and then pretty much feeling like I was crazy
because I felt terrible but the doctors were telling me this is completely normal. I
remember so many nights thinking, “This cannot be normal. This cannot be the
way that someone’s supposed to feel.”

It was a very, very long road. It’s only been in the last several years that I finally
found a doctor who understood the autoimmune side of thyroid disease and was
able to actually make a diagnosis because with autoimmune thyroid disease, you
can have completely normal TS8 and even T3 and T4 and it’s thyroid antibodies
that are more indicative of that type of problem. Even what he explained to me
was that you can have all of your blood levels perfectly normal or just very
slightly off but your body could still be attacking your thyroid and you could be
having changes to your thyroid that are only noticeable by ultrasound or other
types of tests.

Finally finding an expert was a huge, huge turning point for me for in finding and
getting a diagnosis and being able to finally understand what I could do that
would help to reverse my thyroid disease and not just to feel I was crazy all of the

Whitney: Wow, Katie. What a frustrating journey. I know that had to be tough. What are
some of the things that you’ve found through trial and error that helped you and
some of the things that didn’t?

Katie: If you have ever suspected you had thyroid disease, and statistically the majority
of women do at some point, either have thyroid disease or have symptoms that
can correlate with thyroid disease, you might have gone on the internet and
googled something related to it. Once you get past WebMD and get it out of your head that no you probably don’t have liver cancer and brain cancer and your leg is about to fall off, you find a lot of recommended remedies that are supposedly to supposed to help with thyroid disease. One that’s pretty well saturated on the internet is that you should take a lot of iodine.

That was one of the first things I tried and it made me so much worse which
makes perfect sense now understanding about autoimmune thyroid disease and
the fact that iodine is something you don’t need very much of and for some
people it can actually be triggered by having too much iodine. Having an
abundance of iodine can trigger autoimmune thyroid disease. I was taking all this
iodine thinking it would help and it was actually making me worse. Some of the
information on the internet says well you’re just detoxing. You should take more
which was, again, terrible advice. That was one of the big glaring ones that did
not work.

Thankfully there is also a decent amount of good information on the internet. I
found studies about the connection between certain dietaries triggers in thyroid
disease, especially gluten. That’s one that’s pretty well documented on the
internet is that those who struggle with thyroid disease may also have a gluten
intolerance. I figured that was something that I could easily test at home without
a blood test or without being diagnosed with thyroid disease. I could just
eliminate gluten and see if it made a difference. Going gluten free and even grain
free for a long time was a big part of kind of my self diagnosis and self
experimentation to see what would work. For a while I was also dairy free. For a
long time, actually. That did seem to help, especially when I was in the acute
flares of thyroid disease. Thankfully now I do tolerate some kinds of dairy really
well and I don’t have to be completely dairy free. During that time, it was a great
catalyst for helping improve.

Diet here was huge. In fact I even did, for a while, an autoimmune diet. There’s a
lot of documented information on this online and I even have a post about what I
did. This is eliminating a huge amount of foods. Anything that could potentially be
a trigger and then adding them back in slowly to see which things are affecting
you personally. That was a way I could, even without a doctor, start to figure out
some of my own triggers. I also found, through experimentation, that stress and
sleep are my biggest triggers, even more so than food. That was really difficult for
me to learn to correct because just my personality, I typically tend to be very high
strung and very driven so it’s hard to reduce stress and to let things go. Also, it’s
hard to sleep because there are so many things I want to do all the time. The
time when the kids go to bed, I just want to stay up and enjoy the time with my
husband and not sleep. Those two, I’m still learning on but I’m finding those are
really, really big factors in my own thyroid health.

Whitney: That’s great advice, Katie. I’m so glad to have that information to share. You’re
currently pregnant. Has that changed your thyroid protocol at all or have you
made any changes?

Katie: Yes. That was … I’m so glad I now have the doctor that I’m working with because
this is my first pregnancy where I’ve had a diagnosed thyroid condition that I
knew what I was dealing with. Realistically, the last two pregnancies, I did but I
just didn’t know what I was dealing with and I didn’t know how to, if I should be
doing anything differently or what I should be doing in general. Thankfully with my
doctor, he’s doing a lot more testing than he would normally do. Just testing
thyroid levels relatively often throughout the pregnancy because you can tend to
need more thyroid hormone when you’re pregnant. The increased need of your
body in growing a new human. I’m taking right now a replacement thyroid
hormone called WP Thyroid which is a natural T3 T4 combination that’s often
used for Hashimoto’s and other types of thyroid disease.

Part of the logic there is that you are taking the autoimmune burden off of your
body because it no longer has to produce thyroid hormones so by just providing
it, you can hopefully reduce that attack on the thyroid by not having as much
need for TSH. He’s monitoring those levels really carefully. Then, I’ve also just
been really focused on consuming as many nutrient dense foods as possible and
really watching my nutrition and my water intake because with any kind of
autoimmune disease, and especially thyroid, you typically have an increased
demand for nutrients or an decreased ability to break them down. You can also
struggle with gut issues. They can go hand-in-hand with thyroid disease. I’ve just
been watching all of those factors really carefully and trying to focus on really
high nutrient foods like proteins and healthy fats and bone broth and lots of
vegetables and choosing as nourishing foods as I can and getting enough protein
since all of those are supposed to be really helpful for both pregnancy and
thyroid disease.

Whitney: That’s great to know, Katie. You also mentioned stress and sleep. How did you
notice that these things impacted your thyroid?

Katie: Those are ones that for years I kind of just ignored figuring those don’t really
matter because they’re not super tangible and it’s not like if you don’t eat, you get
hungry. Of course, if you don’t sleep, you get tired but you don’t really drastically
notice how that’s effecting your body right away. I always had the assumption
that I did great without sleep and that I could just get by, push through. I didn’t
need sleep but it turns out that even though mentally I do fine without sleep, my
thyroid doesn’t.

Like I said, it’s still a work in progress but I’ve tried to get better about kind of
scheduling sleep just as I would schedule getting up. A lot of us set an alarm for
when we get up or if you’re like me, your alarm has a name and she wakes you
up at a certain time but I started doing that with sleep. Just setting a time on my
phone when it would start beeping at me that you need to go to bed. It’s your
actual bedtime Not just when you need to wake up and making that a priority.

There’s actually an app called F.lux which is F dot L-U-X and it has a neat feature
that not only reduces blue light on your computer, which is great for melatonin
production and sleep which is a great topic for another podcast, but it starts
reminding you every fifteen minutes when you’re getting close to your bedtime. I
think you can adjust the settings. If I try to stay up too late working, I keep getting
these things popping up on your computer saying, “Hey, you have to wake up in
eight hours,” “Hey, you have to wake up in seven and a half hours.” It kind of
really keeps you focused on the fact that you need sleep and it kind of alerts you
to that.

Stress is one like I said I’m still struggling with as well because it is a part of life,
especially life with kids or life with family. I’ve just been trying to focus on time to
actively reduce stress or to do things that I know are not stressful and to balance
that out because as a mom, we all know there are things we have to do that
aren’t avoidable. Whether it stresses you out or not, you’re going to have to cook
and clean and do laundry and dishes and all that and give kids a bath but
working in time to take a bath yourself or read a book or if you enjoy drawing or
painting or whatever it is that you enjoy, working in time to do that and not feeling
selfish for doing it which is, again, something I still have trouble doing but I’ve
definitely made some strides with and I’m trying to get better at is just doing those
little stress relieving things throughout the day to keep my stress levels lower.

Whitney: Katie, I’m so excited about this new format for the podcast and to be able to learn
from the podcast guest. In the next few episodes, we’ll be taking a deeper dive
into thyroid health with Dr. Wentz but in the meantime, just a reminder, that you
can get her Overcoming Thyroid Fatigue Guide free. Just email
podcast@wellnessmama.com with the word thyroid in the subject line and we’ll
send it right over.

Katie: Awesome. Thanks so much for listening to the new format. I hope you’ll enjoy it
as much has I’m going to enjoy interviewing all the experts and being on here
with Whitney. Thank you, Whitney, for being here as a co-host.

Thanks for listening!
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Katie Wells Avatar

About Katie Wells

Katie Wells, CTNC, MCHC, Founder of Wellness Mama and Co-founder of Wellnesse, has a background in research, journalism, and nutrition. As a mom of six, she turned to research and took health into her own hands to find answers to her health problems. WellnessMama.com is the culmination of her thousands of hours of research and all posts are medically reviewed and verified by the Wellness Mama research team. Katie is also the author of the bestselling books The Wellness Mama Cookbook and The Wellness Mama 5-Step Lifestyle Detox.


16 responses to “042: Dr. Izabella Wentz on Thyroid Disease and Pregnancy”

  1. Dana Avatar

    Hi Katie,

    Did you stay on the WP Thyroid the entire pregnancy? I’m currently taking Nature-Throid which I think is the same, but my O.B. was a little concerned about me taking the ‘natural’ thyroid vs. synthetic T4. I’ve been getting mixed messages on the internet about safety, but I feel so much better on the Nature-Throid than I did when I was taking Levothyroxine (synthetic T4) and wanted to know what you ran into while you were pregnant. Any advice is welcome! Thank you!

    1. Katie Wells Avatar

      I did stay on it for my pregnancies and felt comfortable with that decision, which my midwife and my doctor agreed with. It is definitely a decision to make with your doc or midwife and thyroid specialist though.

  2. Lizzie Avatar

    Hi Katie

    Just wondering what prenatal vitamin you take when you have Hashimotos. I read before that you mentioned Seeking Healths Optimal Prenatal, but that has iodine in it. Does this affect you? Or is it balanced out with the selenium?


  3. Valerie Avatar

    I am wondering about a link between thyroid disease and autism. I read research that suggests a higher rate of autism in children of mothers with thyroid disease.

  4. Courtney Avatar

    Are your podcasts available on another platform other than iTunes? I am an android and Google user who suffers with Hashimoto’s and would love to listen to your podcasts as well.

    1. Wellness Mama Avatar

      You can download the audio files and uploaded them to your device, or subscribe via the RSS feed to the podcast app of your choice…

  5. Amanda Reinke Avatar
    Amanda Reinke

    I enjoy benefitting from your research so much!! My thyroid tested a little low they think due to hormones being a bit off – thyroid problems are quite prevalent in our area. :/ I’ve become involved in Plexus just recently and am taking probio5 which contains saccharomyces boulardii and seems to be crazy amazing for hypothyroidism and hashimotos. I’m excited to get my biomarker tests done again at the 6 month mark to see what happens! I’m curious if you have researched it or would ever consider trying that brand?? Or if you’ve healed your thyroid by now?

  6. Lorrie Keele Avatar
    Lorrie Keele

    Please I’ve suffered all my life from this disease. I have the armour thyroid medication and have had the thyroid
    removed. I’ ve given up driving because of vision problem. I’ve gained a tremendous amount of weight and
    can’t sleep. When I do sleep…it’s for 2-3 hours, waking with the “night sweats”. I’ve kept a yeast infection
    under the breast and belly for last four years. Please help. I’d like to live again. Thank you.

  7. Mandy Avatar

    I downloaded Stitcher and immediately found the old podcast, but only a few episodes (episodes 32-41) and I’d love to watch all your older ones as well as new ones. I can’t find the new one though searching wellness mama or the healthy moms podcast. Any advice? I really want to hear it and rate it for you!

    1. Wellness Mama Avatar

      Stitcher hasn’t been working correctly for over a month. The new podcast has been updated over there, but it’s not working yet and I’m not sure why. Maybe try using a different podcast app?

  8. Cin Avatar

    Hi there!
    Having trouble downloading the podcast on itunes – it says I’m subscribed, but I can’t download any of the old episodes… any tips?

  9. Laura Avatar

    KatieWellnessMama, so excited and thankful for this podcast! This topic especially, and looking forward to more with Dr. Wentz. I have recently been diagnosed with Hashimotos after a multi-year record of high TSH, and now, antibodies (perfect timing with planning for first pregnancy). On “flare ups”: Are there noticeable signs of a trigger at play, or day-to-day symptoms that raise an eyebrow to which one might ask, “is it hormonal, is it dietary, is it lack of sleep or out-of-control stress…” so they can do best to nurture or correct if at all possible?

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