Pregnancy can be a complex and confusing experience for new mothers, and it can be even more confusing when the mother is dealing with a pre-existing medical condition like hypothyroidism. Here’s what you need to know about hypothyroidism and pregnancy, and how it can affect your health.
What is hypothyroidism?
Hypothyroidism is a condition where the thyroid gland does not produce enough of the thyroid hormones. Importantly, these thyroid hormones play a role in regulating key body functions, like metabolism, and an underproduction of thyroid hormones can cause a variety of uncomfortable symptoms, such as fatigue, depression and weight gain. Hypothyroidism is usually managed with medication, such as levothyroxine, to increase the levels of thyroid hormones.
How does hypothyroidism affect pregnancy?
Hypothyroidism can cause complications during pregnancy, and it is important for patients with pre-existing hypothyroidism to be monitored closely by their doctor during pregnancy. Women with hypothyroidism may be at increased risk of pregnancy-related conditions like gestational diabetes, pre-eclampsia and preterm prenatal delivery.
Unfortunately, hypothyroidism can also lead to complications for the developing baby, including low birth weight, neural tube defects and physical abnormalities. Babies born to mothers with hypothyroidism during pregnancy may also experience thyroid-related issues, such as underactive thyroids.
Tips for managing hypothyroidism during pregnancy
If you are pregnant and have hypothyroidism, it’s important to follow your doctor’s instructions for managing your condition. This may include frequent thyroid hormone tests to evaluate your medication dose, as it may need to be adjusted during pregnancy. It is also important to take your thyroid medication exactly as prescribed and to keep your follow-up appointments with your doctor.
Additionally, it’s important to eat a healthy, balanced diet and to maintain regular exercise throughout your pregnancy to ensure the health of both you and your baby. Finally, make sure to get plenty of rest and be sure to discuss any questions or concerns you have with your doctor.
Managing hypothyroidism during pregnancy can be challenging, but with the right medical care and lifestyle modifications it’s possible to manage your condition and keep both you and your baby healthy. It’s important to talk to your doctor about any concerns or questions you have, and to follow their instructions to ensure the best health outcomes for you and your baby.