Thyroid disorders during pregnancy can have a major impact on maternal health, fetal development and the health of the newborn infant. As such, it is important for every expectant mother to have a thorough understanding of the potential dangers associated with thyroid dysfunctions during pregnancy.
What are Thyroid Disorders?
Thyroid disorders refer to a variety of conditions related to an underactive or overactive thyroid gland. The thyroid is an endocrine gland located in the lower neck and upper chest and it produces hormones that regulate the body’s metabolism, calcium levels and energy production.
What Causes Thyroid Dysfunction?
Thyroid dysfunction may be caused by a variety of factors including:
- Iodine deficiency
- Autoimmune conditions such as Hashimoto’s thyroiditis
- Radiation exposure
- Certain drugs
How Does Thyroid Dysfunction Impact Pregnancy?
For pregnant women, thyroid disorders can have serious implications. Typically, thyroid hormones play an essential role in fetal growth and development, as well as in maintaining the mother’s cardiovascular status, glucose levels and body temperature. Abnormal thyroid levels can lead to a number of problems for the mother and child, including:
- Premature birth
- Abnormal weight gaining
- Neonatal health issues
Testing for Thyroid Dysfunction During Pregnancy
It is recommended that women start testing for thyroid dysfunction pre-pregnancy. Every pregnant woman should also undergo regular testing during the first trimester to detect any issues early.
Managing Thyroid Dysfunction During Pregnancy
If thyroid dysfunction is detected, management will depend on the underlying condition. Physicians may recommend changes in diet, medication and lifestyle adjustments to keep the hormones at a healthy level. It is also important to monitor the overall health of the mother during childbirth as thyroid hormone imbalances during delivery can also affect the newborn’s neurological functions.
It is essential for expectant mothers and their physicians to be aware of the potential risks associated with thyroid dysfunctions and to understand how to manage them properly. With an effective monitoring and management program, pregnant women and their newborns can have a healthy and successful outcome.