Thyroid During Pregnancy - Everything You Need To Know

thyroid during pregnancy everything you need to know

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Are you are planning to conceive, or have just confirmed a pregnancy? Chances are, one of the first tests that your doctor will ask you to take is a thyroid check.

Thyroid during pregnancy is quite common. Mothers who are affected by thyroid during pregnancy can easily pass it on to their unborn baby. If left untreated, the disease can easily turn into something more serious. Hence it is extremely important that you understand about two specific types of thyroid disorders mainly hyperthyroidism and hypothyroidism in pregnancy clearly.

What Is Thyroid?

The thyroid is the H shaped endocrine gland that is located in your neck below a large cartilage of the larynx. It is 2 inches long and weighs less than an ounce. The thyroid gland produces, stores and releases hormones into the blood stream. These released hormones then direct the functions of the body’s cells.

There are two major hormones of thyroid gland namely, T3 and T4. These hormones help in brain development, brea

thing, metabolism and other major functions of the body. Increased levels of thyroid hormones in the blood cause Hyperthyroidism and decreased levels of thyroid hormones in the blood causes Hypothyroidism.

Thyroid disorders can be quite different in different people. It can range from simple, harmless goiter that needs no treatment to the abnormal release of thyroid hormones causing various harmful effects on you as well as the growing fetus. This disorder, if not treated in time, can also progress to life threatening cancer.

[ Read: Sinus During Pregnancy ]

Pregnancy Affecting Thyroid Function:

Thyroid during pregnancy can affect the health of you and your baby. Thyroid disorder is common in almost all women in their childbearing age. The impacts and ill effects of thyroid malfunctioning can exceed even after pregnancy. It affects neuron intellectual well-being of your newborn in an early age.

There are two major pregnancy related hormones, namely, Human Chorionic Gonadotropin and Estrogen. These increase Thyroid hormone levels in the blood. During the first trimester you supply thyroid hormones to the fetus through your placenta. However, as pregnancy progresses, at around 12 weeks your baby’s thyroid starts functioning on its own.

Hyperthyroidism In Pregnancy:

Generally, the immune system fights from infection and other foreign guests entering the body. However, in autoimmune diseases like Grave’s disease, the immune system attacks your body’s own cells, thus destroying them. Grave’s disease is an autoimmune disorder that causes Hyperthyroidism during your pregnancy. This makes an antibody with immune system known as Thyroid stimulating immunoglobin. This acts like a Thyroid stimulating hormone, releasing T3 and T4 more than the normal amount of Thyroid hormones. This condition is however rare. During the second half of pregnancy, temporary hyperthyroidism can be observed.

This dysfunction can be caused due to:

  • Grave’s Disease:

    It is an autoimmune disease in which your immune system attacks thyroid glands, causing it to produce T4 (thyroxine). Thyroxine is a hormone that is produced by your thyroid gland.

  • Toxic Adenomas:

    Nodules begin to develop in the thyroid gland and start secreting thyroid hormones, thereby disturbing your body’s chemical balance

  • Sub-Acute Thyroiditis:

    Inflammation of the thyroid causes your gland to leak excess hormones. Pituitary gland malfunctions or growth of cancerous cells in the thyroid region leads to excess secretion.

Symptoms Of Hyperthyroidism:

You can easily detect the disorder by keenly observing the symptoms of hyperthyroidism which are as follows:

  • Increased levels of thyroid hormones
  • Increase in size of thyroid
  • Fatigue
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Increased heart rate
  • Heat tolerance
  • Changes in appetite
  • Dizziness
  • Increased perspiration
  • Poor eye sight
  • Increase in blood sugar levels
  • Abdominal discomfort

Effects of Hyperthyroidism:

Uncontrolled and undiagnosed hyperthyroidism during your pregnancy shows various malfunctions in you as well as the fetus.

Here is a list of some of the most common ones:

  • Congestive heart failure
  • Severe elevation in blood pressure during your last month of pregnancy
  • Miscarriage
  • Premature birth
  • Low birth weight

If you have any past history of suffering from Grave’s disease, there are chances of TSI antibodies being available in your blood even if your thyroid levels are standard. TSI antibodies produced by expecting mother may travel across the placenta and pass to baby’s blood stream, thus stimulating the fetal thyroid.

However, if you are on anti-thyroid medications, chances of hyperthyroidism in your baby are gradually decreased as these medicines troubles your placenta. Thyroid problem in pregnancy leads to Hyperthyroidism in the newborn which inturn can lead to increased heart rate further leading to heart failure, early closure of soft spot in the skull, poor weight gain, breathing problems, etc.

Diagnosis Of Hyperthyroidism:

The Major basis for diagnosis of Hyperthyroidism in pregnancy is by examining your symptoms and by performing your blood tests to measure T3 and T4 levels in the blood.

There are three major tests that are performed. These are:

1. TSH Test:

If you have any symptoms indicating hyperthyroidism, the very first test usually performed is Ultrasensitive TSH test. Levels below normal of TSH are indicative of Hyperthyroidism. However, decreased levels of TSH in the bloodstream also occur in your pregnancy, especially during your first trimester.

2. T3 & T4 Test:

If T3 and T4 levels in the blood are high, it directly confirms the diagnosis.

3. TSI Test:

If you have a history of Grave’s disease, this test is performed to detect any existence of TSI antiseptic.