Hypothyroidism And Pregnancy: Expert Decodes The Link
Untreated hypothyroidism can lead to obesity, joint discomfort, infertility, and heart disease in the future.
Hypothyroidism is commonly known as underactive thyroid
Hypothyroidism (underactive thyroid) is a disorder in which the thyroid gland produces insufficient amounts of particular hormones. There may be no visible symptoms for underactive thyroid disorder. Untreated, it can lead to obesity, joint discomfort, infertility, and heart disease in the future. Some women may develop hypothyroidism with pregnancy and some after delivery. The permitted level of thyroid hormone in pregnancy differs from that of a normal woman. A doctor can help you figure this out.
Symptoms of hypothyroidism
Hypothyroidism symptoms are mild and sometimes not easy to distinguish. Hypothyroidism during pregnancy may lead to pregnancy-like symptoms which make diagnosis tricky. Symptoms may include:
- Extreme fatigue
- Dry skin
- Hair loss
- Sleep disturbance
- Muscle cramps
The causes of the underactive thyroid gland
Hashimoto's disease is a common cause of hypothyroidism in pregnancy. It's an autoimmune condition. The immune system attacks the thyroid in Hashimoto's disease, causing inflammation and damage that reduces the thyroid's ability to produce thyroid hormones.
The relation between hypothyroidism and pregnancy
Infertility: Thyroid hormone deficiency can decrease fertility by interfering with the release of an egg from your ovary (ovulation). The underlying causes of hypothyroidism, such as certain autoimmune or pituitary illnesses, might make it difficult for you to conceive as well. If you have hypothyroidism and want to get pregnant, make sure your hypothyroidism is normal before you try. If necessary, get additional assistance from an infertility specialist.
Menstrual problems and obesity: Hypothyroidism can affect ovulation and thereby delay your menstrual cycle. Obesity can accompany hypothyroidism in some cases. If you have sudden weight gain with menstrual problems get a thyroid test done to rule out thyroid disorders.
Affects pregnancy: Untreated hypothyroidism during pregnancy can lead to preeclampsia (a dangerous rise in blood pressure in late pregnancy), anaemia, miscarriage, low birth weight, stillbirth, and congestive heart failure in severe cases.
Impair development of the baby: If you have hypothyroidism and got pregnant, tell your doctor and take adequate precautions for the healthy development of your baby. Thyroid hormones are necessary for your baby's brain and nervous system. Your baby relies on your supply of thyroid hormone, which comes through the placenta, throughout the first trimester of pregnancy. Your baby's thyroid begins to act on its own at 12 weeks, but it does not produce enough thyroid hormone until 18 to 20 weeks of pregnancy.
The baby's thyroid begins to make thyroid hormone on its own around mid-pregnancy. The baby, on the other hand, remains reliant on the mother for proper iodine intake, which is required for the production of thyroid hormones. To ensure appropriate thyroid hormone production during pregnancy, the WHO advises a daily iodine consumption of 250 mg.
If congenital hypothyroidism (no thyroid function at birth) is not diagnosed and treated early, children might suffer serious cognitive, neurological, and developmental problems. These developmental problems can be substantially avoided with early treatment.
Method of diagnosis
Hypothyroidism is diagnosed with a blood test. The normal TSH range in women is 0.4-4.2 mu/l.
The recommended TSH range for pregnant women is less than 2.5mU/l in the first trimester and less than 3.0mU/l after. Your doctor will examine your symptoms and perform blood tests to determine the levels of thyroid hormone in your body. To see if Hashimoto's disease is causing your hypothyroidism, your doctor may look for specific antibodies in your blood.
Hypothyroidism is treated by supplementing the hormone that your thyroid no longer produces. Some women with a moderate type of the condition who don't have any obvious symptoms may not require therapy. Most thyroid specialists advocate starting with two extra thyroid prescription dosages per week right away. As soon as you realise you're pregnant, call your doctor.
(Dr. Geeta Aurangabadkar, Clinical Director, Proactive For Her)
(This is an informational piece only. All above suggestions can be taken into consideration ONLY in consultation with your doctor)
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