Women's Health

Hypothyroidism and Pregnancy


One of the most important glands in the endocrine group. It is a small butterfly-shaped gland located in front of the trachea. It stores and secretes thyroxine (T4) and triiodothyronine (T3). Some disorders can cause the thyroid gland to secrete too much " Hyperthyroidism" or underactive thyroid gland "hypothyroidism", and it includes women at risk of thyroid disease who have an autoimmune disorder (such as diabetes mellitus).

Role of thyroid hormones in pregnancy:
Thyroid hormones are necessary for normal development of the fetal brain and nervous system. During the first three months of pregnancy, the fetus depends on thyroid hormone, which is transmitted thereto from the mother through the placenta. At about 12 weeks, the thyroid gland of the fetus begins to work on its own, but it does not produce enough of thyroid hormone until the 18th to 20th week of pregnancy.

It occurs when the thyroid gland does not produce enough thyroid hormones to maintain a normal metabolism in the body, due to a disorder known as thyroiditis. The most common type of thyroiditis is known as Hashimoto, an immune disease in which the body produces antibodies to attack the thyroid gland, which results in an enlarged thyroid gland,

Symptoms of hypothyroidism:
Symptoms of hypothyroidism develop slowly and include:
  • Fatigue or weakness
  • Overweight
  • Lack of appetite
  • A change in menstrual periods
  • Loss of sex desire
  • Feeling cold
  • Constipation
  • Muscle pain
  • Swelling around the eyes
  • Nail weakness and fragility
  • Hair loss
Effect of hypothyroidism on mother and child:
Untreated hypothyroidism during pregnancy can lead to:
  • Preeclampsia (dangerous high blood pressure in late pregnancy).
  • Anemia.
  • Abortion.
  • Low birth weight.
  • Stillbirth.
  • Heart failure rarely.
These problems occur most often with severe hypothyroidism. Since thyroid hormones are very important for growth of the fetus's brain and nervous system, lack of treatment, especially during the first trimester of pregnancy, can cause low IQ and problems with normal growth.

Hypothyroidism treatment:
In most cases, it is treated with medications that contain thyroid hormone, as the dose of the medication is slowly increased until it reaches the normal level of thyroid hormone in the blood, and if the mother is diagnosed with hypothyroidism before pregnancy, she may need to increase the dose of medications after pregnancy by adjusting them with a specialist doctor.

Produced when the thyroid gland secretes too much thyroid hormone, this speeds up the metabolism, and it occurs due to a disorder known as "Graver' disease" that often affects women between the ages of 20 and 40 years, and the late sign thereof is often exophthalmos, and hyperthyroidism may also be caused by medications, where taking too much thyroid hormone during treatment for hypothyroidism can lead to symptoms of hyperthyroidism.

Symptoms of hyperthyroidism:
Common symptoms of hyperthyroidism include:
  • Fatigue and tremors
  • Weight loss
  • Nervousness
  • Fast heartbeat
  • Increased sweating
  • Feeling hot
  • Changes in menstrual periods
Effect of hyperthyroidism on pregnancy:
Untreated hyperthyroidism during pregnancy can lead to:
  • Abortion.
  • Premature birth.
  • Low birth weight.
  • Preeclampsia (dangerous high blood pressure in late pregnancy).
  • Sudden and severe worsening of thyroid symptoms.
  • Congestive heart failure.
Hyperthyroidism in a child can lead to:
  • Rapid heartbeat, which may lead to heart failure.
  • Premature closure of the soft spot in the skull of the fetus.
  • Irritability
Sometimes the enlarged thyroid gland can put pressure on the baby's windpipe, causing difficulty in breathing.

Treating hyperthyroidism:
Antithyroid medications can be used to reduce the amount of thyroid hormone the body makes. Medications called beta-blockers can also control a fast heartbeat. But if these don't help, treatment with high doses of radioactive iodine may help to destroy parts of the thyroid gland, and in some cases surgery may be required to remove the thyroid gland.

Treatment of thyroid disease during pregnancy:
It is important to take the treatment during pregnancy, as it can cause risks to the pregnant woman and her fetus when the treatment is not taken, and most pregnant women with thyroid disease can give birth to healthy children. You should stop taking the antithyroid medicine and go to the doctor immediately

when you notice:
  • Yellowing of the skin or the whiting of the eyes (jaundice).
  • Mild abdominal pain.
  • Persistent sore throat.
  • High body temperature.
Postpartum thyroiditis:
A woman may not have thyroid problems during pregnancy, but she can develop problems after giving birth. This condition is called “thyroiditis.” It is often a short-term problem and hormone levels quickly return to normal.
Women with thyroid diseases should start treatment before planning pregnancy, and in the event of pregnancy, follow-up with a doctor in primary health care centers is required, to constantly adjust doses according to test results during pregnancy.

Last Update : 07 June 2023 02:03 PM
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