Graves’ Disease during Pregnancy – Risks, Complications and Health Considerations
Pregnant women need to take extra care of their health to ensure they have a healthy and complication-free pregnancy. One health concern that many women experience during pregnancy is Graves’ Disease. This autoimmune disorder, also known as hyperthyroidism, affects the production of hormones in the body and can cause a variety of health problems. Here we’ll explore the risks, complications, and health considerations that come with Graves’ Disease during pregnancy, and what can be done to help manage it.
What is Graves’ Disease and What Causes it?
Graves’ Disease is an autoimmune disorder in which the body’s immune system is overactive and produces an excessive amount of antibodies, known as Thyroid Stimulating Immunoglobulins (TSIs). These antibodies attack the thyroid gland, causing it to produce too much thyroid hormone, which puts stress on the body. Common signs and symptoms of Graves’ Disease can include tiredness, weight loss, sweating, rapid heartbeat and irritability.
The exact cause of Graves’ Disease is not known, however, some risk factors can include a family history of Graves’ Disease or having other autoimmune diseases. Pregnant women with a previous history of Graves’ Disease are more likely to have another episode during their pregnancy.
What are the Risks and Complications of Graves’ Disease During Pregnancy?
The health risks and complications that can come with Graves’ Disease during pregnancy are related to the additional stress that the condition places on the mother, as well as the baby. Some risks and complications that can arise include:
- Preterm Delivery – An increased risk of preterm delivery or preterm labor is commonly found in pregnant women with Graves’ Disease.
- Hyperthyroidism for the Baby – If Graves’ Disease is left untreated, the baby can develop hyperthyroidism due to exposure to the mother’s high levels of thyroid hormone.
- Fetal Growth Restriction – Women with Graves’ Disease during pregnancy can experience growth restriction for their babies.
- Miscarriage – A higher risk of miscarriage has been found in pregnant women with Graves’ Disease.
- Hypertension – Pregnant women with Graves’ Disease may be at an increased risk of developing hypertension.
What are the Health Considerations of Graves’ Disease During Pregnancy?
Women who are pregnant and have Graves’ Disease need to be monitored by a healthcare professional to ensure any potential risks and complications can be managed. It is important to have regular check-ups and screenings to monitor the health of both mother and baby.
Treatment will depend on the severity of the condition, but the goal is to control symptoms and the production of thyroid hormones. Treatment most commonly includes a combination of medications, a special diet and lifestyle changes.
For pregnant women with Graves’ Disease, it is important to be aware of the risks, complications and health considerations associated with the condition. By staying informed, women can take steps to ensure their health and the health of their baby are being monitored throughout the pregnancy to reduce any potential risks.