Hypothyroidism, Hyperthyroidism And Pregnancy-Preparing For Pregnancy
In common with sufferers of an over active thyroid gland, those whose thyroid is under active also experience fatigue and muscle weakness. If you are planning to conceive and are experiencing any of these symptoms seek a blood test from your doctor to rule out thyroid abnormalities.
Like other chronic conditions, thyroid problems may be pre-existing or may be brought on by pregnancy itself. If left undiagnosed and untreated thyroid problems can have serious consequences for the mother and baby alike. Women with thyroid problems are at increased risk of developing a form of high blood pressure late in pregnancy called pre-eclampsia. Pre-eclampsia can lead to seizures and maternal and newborn death. Women with thyroid hormone imbalances are also more likely than average to give birth prematurely.
3. The risks to mother and baby of Hyperthyroidism in pregnancy
Women with pre-existing hyperthyroidism who are planning to conceive should ensure the condition is well managed and that, if this is done using anti-thyroid medication a possible change to a variant that is safe for use during pregnancy, such as propylthiouracil (PTU), may be recommended. Although PTU is widely considered to be the safest of this type of medicine for pregnant women to take, it can affect the baby’s thyroid gland. Women with hyperthyroidism need to be monitored closely and have regular blood tests throughout pregnancy.
Some women cannot take PTU leaving few other drugs to control their thyroid hormone imbalance that would be safe during pregnancy. In such instances a thyroidectomy, that is, surgical removal of the thyroid gland may be recommended before becoming pregnant or during pregnancy. A further option is treatment with radio-active iodine. This is not, however, a treatment that can be carried out during pregnancy due to unacceptable risk to the foetus.
4. The risks to mother and baby of Hypothyroidism in pregnancy
Women with pre-existing hypothyroidism may need to, in consultation with their physician, increase the dose of levothyroxine they take during pregnancy. Blood tests to establish the correct dosage should be taken at regular intervals during pregnancy and if symptoms linked with having an under active thyroid worsen or new symptoms appear.
5. Thyroid problems can occur after pregnancy
If a woman has experienced thyroid gland problems during her pregnancy or has a pre-existing thyroid condition then the baby’s thyroid function will need to be tested shortly after birth. This is done via a blood test. This is essential to ensure the child can utilise the calories and nutrients in his or her feeds. Babies with thyroid conditions fail to thrive and it is, therefore, absolutely vital for the child’s health any problem be detected at the earliest possible opportunity.
Midwife sonographer facilitated
Consultant Led, Centre of Medical Excellence
All articles on the blog and website are intended as information only. Please do not consider any of the information provided here as a substitute for medical advice. At all times seek medical advice directly with your own doctor and medical team.