Hypothyroidism And Pregnancy
Numerous physiological changes occur in the body when a woman is pregnant. Hormonal changes are among the most common changes that occur in women who are pregnant, which is the reason it is no unusual to see some women exhibiting mild to moderate cases of hypothyroidism.
This could be due to an increase in the estrogen hormone which increases in levels when a woman is expecting. Although hypothyroidism and pregnancy may be a less-than-ideal condition for most expectant mothers, there are many ways to bring this hormone disorder under control and to make pregnancy safe for both the mother and child.
Overview of Hypothyroidism and Pregnancy
Hypothyroidism is a condition characterized by very low levels of the hormone in the blood. The cause could be directly or indirectly related to the thyroid gland. The disorder affects the body’s growth and development and has a severe effect on cellular processes.
Thyroid hormones are produced by the thyroid gland, which is that butterfly shaped gland on the lower part of the neck. This gland is wrapped around the trachea. The hormones are created using iodine from the diet such as green vegetables, bread, salt, and seafood. The function of the gland may also be affected by the fact of the pregnancy itself, since pregnancy puts increased pressure on the thyroid.
Signs and Symptoms
The most common symptoms of hypothyroidism include:
Treatment of Hypothyroidism
The most common form of treatment for hypothyroidism is to give thyroid hormone replacements to replace the missing hormone. Doctors will provide the right amounts of hormone to make sure that the right levels are maintained in the blood. Expectant women who are diagnosed with pregnancy hypothyroidism are regularly monitored to ensure that blood levels of thyroid hormones are normal.
Importance of Early Detection
Early detection is of primary importance in hypothyroidism since even before birth, the baby is entirely dependent on the mother for its supply of the hormone until its body can start producing the hormone on its own. The lack of the hormone can affect the growth and development of the child, which becomes very clear when the baby is born.
Babies born to mothers suffering from hypothyroidism exhibit slower motor development compared to other babies their age, and this difference can persist even when the baby is treated. It is also not uncommon to see signs of intellectual impairment in these babies compared to those born to normal mothers. Numerous studies have confirmed that iodine deficiency has a direct link to mental retardation in babies all over the world.
Under active thyroid disorders are also shown to increase a woman’s risk for miscarriage and preeclampsia, which can be life threatening to the mother. Hypothyroidism also exposes the mother to many risks. These include the increased risk for gestational hypertension and intrauterine fetal death, which could result to maternal infection. They are also more prone to premature delivery, and for developing other thyroid abnormalities after they give birth. It is also important to note that expectant mothers suffering from hypothyroidism require up to 50% more of their hormone dose compared to women who do not have the disorder.
Who are at risk?
Women at risk for hypothyroidism are those who have a family history of hypothyroidism. Is therefore important for women who have a history of the disease to have themselves screened. This should be done before getting pregnant to make the necessary preparations that can lower the risk of complications.
What Expectant Mothers Can Do
Women who are pregnant and are later diagnosed with hypothyroidism should inform their health care providers so that treatment can be done. Women who have this condition are given strict monitoring so make sure that thyroid levels remain normal all throughout the pregnancy.
It is also recommended that women planning to get pregnant be screened for thyroid disorders so that treatment can be started before she becomes pregnant. They should also notify the physician about hormone replacement therapy before beginning any other treatment for any other kind of disease, since some medications may react with thyroid hormones and can affect the dosage. It is also very important to notify the doctor of new symptoms that may arise.
The medications used for hypothyroidism are often safe for pregnant women and their children. However, there are some medications such as radioactive iodine which should not be given to pregnant women. It is very important to follow doctors’ orders correctly and to schedule appointments so that medications can be adjusted as the pregnancy goes on. Expectant mothers are often advised to take vitamin supplements containing iodine.
There are vitamins that have iodine as the main component, and these are recommended for pregnant women over regular supplements, which may contain a mere 30% of one’s total daily iodine requirement. Also, curing hypothyroidism naturally is a very powerful and popular strategy today.
The link between hypothyroidism and pregnancy is clear, as well as the possible effects that the disorder has on the mother and child. Due to the severe growth, motor and intellectual effects that hypothyroidism has over the child, it is very important to ensure that women are screened for the disorder even before they get pregnant. Pregnant women who are seeing signs of the disorder on themselves should seek medical attention immediately, to receive medical supervision and monitoring for the duration of the pregnancy.
About the Author
As a women who has hypothyroidism, I would like to share all of my knowledge to all of you about hypothyroidism and how can you make change of your life.