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Gillian's story

Gillian’s story

“Hypopara didn’t make the experience of pregnancy and birth any worse for me than my earlier three births. Don’t let it put you off trying to conceive!!”

I was diagnosed with hypopara in July 2011 after a total thyroidectomy for Graves’ disease. I became pregnant in 2012. I had been pregnant three times before but I never expected to get pregnant again and had therefore never discussed it with my Endo or GP beforehand.


At the start of my pregnancy I was being treated with four Calcichew D3 forte and 1mcg alfacalcidol. I also took 300mg magnesium and an extra 400iu Vit D3. I also have asthma.


I saw my GP once I was when I was about 5–6 weeks pregnant. They referred me to local maternity department and Midwives as per normal. Once I had been seen by midwives at the local CMU (Community Midwife Unit), I saw the Obstetrician and he conferred with my Endocrinologist as to my care. I was given an appointment to see Endocrinologist too.


We keep hold of all our own maternity notes in NHS Scotland, so all changes to medications, concerns re health or baby are written in there by all involved in health care; GP, midwife, Obstetrician etc. So everything is well documented for all involved to see, and they are all “singing from the same hymn book. It was also reassuring for me as the mum to be, to know exactly what was happening.

I was monitored mostly by the midwives and had regular meetings with the Obstetrician. I also saw my Endo more often, while I was pregnant.

The Obstetrician who took care of me at the CMU seemed very well versed in hypopara and was never too concerned about it as a problem for pregnancy. HypoTHYROIDism was more of a concern as not enough thyroid hormone can cause problems for pregnancy to continue to full term and also for the baby. And so my thyroid levels were monitored very closely.


I had bloods done every month. My thyroxine had to be increased to 175mcg from 150mcg, but my hypopara meds remained the same. My blood calcium remained very stable during my whole pregnancy and in fact I had far less symptoms during my pregnancy than I had before.


My blood pressure had started out quite low at the beginning of my pregnancy, and by the 38th week had risen significantly enough to cause slight concern. I was induced at 38+ weeks.

I felt well prepared for the birth. This was not my first rodeo! I was very concerned that my calcium levels could drop dramatically during labour, but they remained stable throughout.

I had a birth plan and it was discussed with midwives and I got all my requests, including delayed cord clamping. I didn’t feel my birthing options were limited or restricted at all. Hypopara was not an issue. It meant I was not able to give birth in the local CMU, but I would have not been able to do anyway as I have asthma. I had to go to the Maternity Hospital in the next town, however I never had to be seen by a consultant once there. All my care was given by midwives, but it was good to know that if I had needed an IV infusion, it would have been available. I had had to go to the hospital for all of my previous births.


I was not at all concerned and was quite comfortable, knowing the midwives would let me have as natural a birth as possible in the labour rooms. I opted to stay as mobile as possible, on my feet as long as I could and only had Entonox (gas and air) for pain relief, and delayed cord clamping for baby. So I got everything I wanted from the experience. Whether it was in a beautiful relaxing birthing suite or a labour room never mattered to me. And in the end the most important thing was that a healthy baby arrived.

I was concerned about my calcium levels dropping during labour, but they remained stable. The only time I felt symptomatic was when they fasted me during the induction process and as soon as I was able to eat a little the symptoms disappeared.

My bloods had been checked before labour and as Duncan was born in four hours, there was no need to take more bloods during labour.

Bloods were checked once I was on the ward. And again when midwives came to do home visit afterwards.

I don’t think that my baby’s calcium levels were a concern. I think his thyroid levels were checked though. The only meds changed after giving birth was my levothyroxine, which was reduced immediately to 150mcg again. My midwife checked with the Obstetrician and also Breastfeeding Support about my hypopara meds but it didn’t seem to be a concern. My calcium remained very stable and in fact was very slightly higher, but not so much to cause symptoms.


I am still breastfeeding and Duncan is nearly 15 months!!

I could not fault the care I received during my pregnancy. I would like to say a big “Thank You” to everyone involved in caring for me during my pregnancy.

The message I would like to give my fellow hypopara patients is that hypopara didn’t make the experience any worse for me than my other three pregnancies and births. Don’t let it put you off trying to conceive!!

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