The Relationship Between Hypothyroidism and Pregnancy
The thyroid gland is a small butterfly-shaped organ located in your neck. This gland is responsible for secreting a group of hormones which are responsible for regulating the metabolism in your body. When a woman becomes pregnant, the thyroid gland and the hormones which it produces become an important component in the proper development of the baby. Too much thyroid or too little can have many negative effects on both the mother and the developing baby. Because of this, it is important to maintain proper levels of the thyroid hormones.
Thyroid function changes dramatically during a normal pregnancy. Two hormones known as thyroxine-binding globulin (TBG) and thyrotropin stimulating hormone (TSH), are produced in greater quantity. In addition, both subtypes of thyroid hormone, T3 and T4, are produced in excess amounts. Read more about Pregnancy Miracle here, this helps women with hypothyroidism to get pregnant easily.
Hypothyroidism and pregnancy tend to be an uncommon set of conditions for a couple of reasons. Firstly, women who are chronically deficient in thyroid often have difficulty getting pregnant. Hypothyroidism can cause ovulation to become disrupted. Improper release of an egg makes pregnancy less likely. There is also substantial evidence to show that miscarriages are more common in women who are deficient in thyroid hormones. These miscarriages tend to happen most often in the first trimester.
For those hypothyroid women who are able to get pregnant and who don’t suffer a miscarriage, there are many complications which can arise during the pregnancy. Hypothyroid women have a tendency to deliver the baby before its term is complete. There is also a tendency for the placenta to be damaged, oftentimes rupturing from the wall of the uterus. This can be a serious problem, and can lead to the death of either the fetus or the mother.
Babies born to women who are hypothyroid often tend to be born at a low birth weight. Those babies who are born, have an increased rate of requiring a cesarean section. Neurological development is often stunted in babies who are born to women who are hypothyroid.
For reasons that are not well understood, there is an increased incidence of preeclampsia in women who are hypothyroid during pregnancy. Preeclampsia is a condition characterized by an elevated blood pressure in the mother and excessive amounts of protein in the urine. Preeclampsia can be a potentially dangerous condition during pregnancy. It is not seen only in women who are hypothyroid. Preeclampsia must be taken very seriously and monitored carefully. There are no treatments for preeclampsia other than the delivery of the baby.
Screening for hypothyroidism in pregnant women can be a somewhat complicated issue. Current guidelines by the American College of the Obstetrics and Gynecology and the American Endocrine Society do not recommend broad screening for all women. Rather the recommended guidelines suggest targeted screening for women who are potentially at risk for thyroid disorders. There is insufficient evidence to show that screening the general population of women who are pregnant, or are planning to become pregnant, has any increased benefit in reducing the incidence of complications due to hypothyroidism.
As the proper amount of thyroid hormone is vital to the development of the fetus, recommendations by professional medical societies currently suggest measuring thyroid hormone levels four to six weeks after a woman becomes pregnant. In addition thyroid hormone levels should be rechecked if any changes in thyroid medications are made. Some doctors will suggest testing thyroid hormone levels once each trimester during pregnancy in order to ensure proper amounts of thyroid hormone are present.
Women who are pregnant require more thyroid hormone than women who are not pregnant. This is due to many factors including; weight gain by the mother, transfer of thyroid hormone to the developing fetus, and high concentrations of the hormone TBG, which can sequester thyroid hormone making it unavailable for the mother to use.
Fortunately, treatment for hypothyroidism during pregnancy is similar to treatment for a woman who is not pregnant. Synthetic thyroid hormone can be given to women who are pregnant and are lacking proper amount of natural thyroid hormone. Pregnant women often require an increase in their dosage of this supplemental thyroid hormone in order to maintain adequate levels within the body.
Your doctor is the best source of further information regarding thyroid levels during pregnancy. If you know that you are hypothyroid and you are planning to become pregnant, or suspect that you may be pregnant, speak with your doctor regarding this issue. Treatments for hypothyroidism during pregnancy are simple. They are vital to the proper development of the baby. Working with your doctor, you can ensure that your thyroid levels will be maintained properly during the entire course of your pregnancy.