Thyroid Function Testing and Pregnancy: What You Need to Know

Thyroid Function

for Your Health

Pregnancy is a time of high risk for thyroid issues. Thyroid function testing should be done to ensure both mother and baby’s health and wellbeing. An abnormal thyroid level during pregnancy can lead to serious health consequences. Understanding why testing is crucial and what happens if the test results are abnormal are important for all mothers-to-be to know.

Why is thyroid function testing important during pregnancy?

Thyroid function testing is a key part of prenatal care. During pregnancy, a woman’s metabolic demands rise sharply to support the anticipated growth and development of her baby. The thyroid gland must produce increased amounts of hormones to support the baby’s growth and development. It must also produce additional TSH (thyroid stimulating hormone) which stimulates the production of these hormones. Having accurate measurements of hormone levels helps doctors understand how a pregnant woman’s body is functioning and can identify any issues.

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When should thyroid function testing be done?

Most pregnant women will be tested for thyroid hormone levels early in the first trimester and again late in the third trimester. It is recommended for some women to be tested more frequently. These include those with a family history of thyroid disorders, a personal history of thyroid disease or previous pregnancy complications, or those who are older than 35. It is also important to be tested after a miscarriage or stillbirth.

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What do the results mean?

Results of thyroid function testing can be complex and your doctor should take the time to explain them to you in detail. Low or decreased levels of TSH and/or thyroid hormones can lead to symptoms that may have an effect on your daily life. Results that are too high can also be a sign of a problem. Abnormal Thyroid levels can affect the development of the baby, leading to conditions like fetal hypothyroidism, so monitoring is important throughout the entire pregnancy.

What happens when results show an abnormal result?

If your test results show an abnormal result, your doctor may recommend specific treatments. Treatments may include thyroid hormone replacement pills, dietary changes, and lifestyle changes to manage the symptoms. It is important to take the recommended steps to ensure that both you and your baby remain healthy throughout your pregnancy.

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Pregnancy is a time of high risk for thyroid issues. Understanding the importance of testing, what happens when the results reveal an abnormality and what to do if needed are all essential knowledge for mothers-to-be. Thyroid function testing is essential for both the mother and baby’s health, so it is important to discuss it with your doctor and ensure you get any recommended tests and treatments.