Congratulations! You’re expecting! All of a sudden there’s a lot more to worry about. You’ll have to set up a nursery, scope out the best stroller, and of course, talk to your doctor about your thyroid. If you’re on the lookout for a new stroller, check out this website to get started!
Thyroid hormones are actually critical during the first trimester of pregnancy. The fetus relies on the mother’s thyroid hormones to help create the brain and nervous system. After the 12-week mark, the baby will produce its own thyroid hormones. So how does pregnancy affect mothers who suffer from hyper- or hypothyroidism? Is it possible to develop the disease while expecting? Do the conditions influence postpartum health?
Read on to find the answers to these questions and other pertinent points regarding pregnancy and thyroid disease.
The development of hyperthyroidism during pregnancy can be difficult to diagnose because pregnancy in and of itself causes the thyroid to pump out more hormones. Although the fetus needs the mother’s hormones for early development, there can be too much of a good thing. If the disease—whether developed before or during gestation—goes unchecked, there’s potential harm to mother and baby, including:
• preeclampsia (very high blood pressure)
• premature birth
• low birth rate
Symptoms of hyperthyroidism in pregnancy:
• rapid and irregular heartbeat
• slight tremors
• unexplained weight loss or failure to gain pregnancy weight
Diagnosis: If an obstetrician suspects hyperthyroidism, he/she will most likely order a battery of blood tests to measure thyroid hormone levels.
Treatment: Mild cases may not require medical intervention other than close monitoring. Serious cases may require anti-thyroid medications.
Hypothyroidism occurs when the thyroid isn’t producing enough hormones. Among the biggest concerns of dealing with this condition during pregnancy is that the baby will not receive the necessary hormones for early development. Of course, there are other risks, including:
• low birth weight
Symptoms of hypothyroidism in pregnancy:
• extreme fatigue
• cold intolerance
• muscle cramps
• memory or concentration problems
Diagnosis: A blood test to measure thyroid hormone levels.
Treatment: For hypothyroidism detected during pregnancy, a synthetic thyroid hormone may be prescribed to bring levels up to normal pregnancy counts.
This condition occurs in 4-10% of women in the year after giving birth. It happens when stored-up thyroid hormones slip into the bloodstream, causing hormone levels to climb and triggering in hyperthyroidism. In most cases, it’s a temporary condition. After a few months, levels self-adjust back to normal.
Unfortunately, many of the symptoms coincide with signs of being a mother to a newborn as well as postpartum depression, so postpartum thyroiditis can go undiagnosed.
Symptoms of postpartum thyroiditis:
• weight loss
Risk factors for postpartum thyroiditis:
• autoimmune disorders, including Type 1 diabetes
• personal or family history of thyroid dysfunction
• previous postpartum thyroiditis
Treatment: Depends on the extent of symptoms, but may include beta blockers.
The bottom line is that thyroid conditions don’t have to diminish your joy of expecting as long as you and your doctor remain diligent.