Pregnancy is the most wonderful and happiest time in a woman’s life. Like there are variety of problems that cause infertility, thyroid disorders are also one of them. Not necessary that thyroid disorders are all present before pregnancy, they can also emerge after you conceive.
Since thyroxine is the most important regulatory hormone in the human body, it must be monitored closely during pregnancy.
Do thyroid diseases affect pregnancy?
Yes, of course they do.
The fact is that the conventional medical community knows that pregnancy affects the delicate regulatory hormonal system. Counter wise, the hormonal system also influences pregnancy conditions and in many cases even the slightest imbalance results in medical conditions that cannot be solved without medical intervention. Undiagnosed or unmanaged thyroid problems can lead to infertility and various complications during the pregnancy and birth. Infertility treatments can help to conceive. Untreated thyroid problems increase the chances of premature birth, preeclampsia, miscarriage, low birth weight, amemia and even stillbirth.
How to rule out thyroid problems during pregnancy
Thyroid problems are known to be the well-known cause of infertility. If you think you are having thyroid symptoms during pregnancy you cannot ignore the possibility of thyroid imbalance.
The symptoms or hyperthyroidism (high thyroxine levels) are:
Since many symptoms of hyperthyroidism are like those of pregnancy, they are often not recognizable. They are:
- Irregular heartbeat
- Nervousness or depression
- Severe nausea or vomiting
- Slight tremor
- Trouble sleeping
- Weight loss or low weight gain during pregnancy
Symptoms of hypothyroidism (low thyroxine) are:
- Difficulty concentrating or memory problems
- Sensitivity to cold temperatures
- Muscle cramps
For ruling out thyroid disorders may need to get the following lab tests done.
Thyroid Stimulating Hormone (TSH)— This is the pituitary hormone that measures the level of thyroid hormone in the blood.
Free T3/Free T4— This test measures the level of active hormones in your blood.
Reverse T3— This test helps to find out if you have hyperthyroidism or hypothyroidism.
Thyroid Peroxidase Antibodies/Thyroglobulin Antibodies (TPO/TG Antibodies)— Measures the antibodies and is a great test to spot the condition forming years before it manifests through the TSH test.
Thyroid Ultrasound— Especially recommended if your doctor suspects abnormal thyroid growth.
You don’t have to worry if all of the above tests show normal. Since a healthy pregnancy is the goal the doctor will put you on normal medication or suggest you lifestyle changes like, diet, supplementation and detoxing your body.
Causes of Thyroid Disease in Pregnancy
An autoimmune disorder called Grave’s disease is the common cause of hyperthyroidism during pregnancy. Thyroid produces too much thyroxine in this disorder because the body makes an antibody called thyroid-stimulating immunoglobulin (TSI) which stimulated thyroid gland.
An autoimmune disorder known as Hashimoto’s thyroiditis is the most common cause of hypothyroidism during pregnancy. This is the condition in which the body attacks the healthy thyroid cells decreasing the number of thyroid producing cells that leads to decreased thyroid production.
How are thyroid disorders treated during pregnancy?
For the treatment of hyperthyroidism, an antithyroid medication is administered that affects the overproduction of thyroid hormone. If you have been on medication before pregnancy you must consult to doctor as the dose of the medication may be needed to increase. Doctors treat hypothyroidism with levothyroxine a synthetic hormone similar to T4 which is made by the thyroid. It is absorbed by the body and the supplementation compensates the deficit in the thyroxine production. Doctors adjust the doses of levothyroxine and continue to monitor your thyroid function tests every 4-6 weeks during pregnancy.