The relationship between hypothyroidism and pregnancy is known to be a problematic one and one that women with thyroid disease should acquaint themselves with.
There are several problems that could occur, ranging from difficulty getting pregnant to problems in proper fetal development as a result of this disorder.
Problems associated with hypothyroidism and pregnancy
Firstly many women with poorly managed or overt thyroid may be sub fertile or even infertile and may find it very difficult to achieve a pregnancy. There is also an increased chance of suffering a miscarriage if the thyroid disease is poorly controlled.
Having become pregnant there is then the risk of several pregnancy complications that increases: problems with the placenta, risk of premature birth or even still birth and so on increase.
There is also the apprehension that babies born of hypothyroidism during pregnancy could have lower IQs since intellectual development in the womb may be impeded if a woman has elevated levels of TSH (thyroid stimulating hormone).
Developmental delays may be seen in the child after birth and poor academic performance and learning difficulties could occur if thyroid was poorly managed before and during pregnancy.
In general, the more severe the hypothyroid, the more severe the IQ deficit in child is, but what can be worrying is the fact that even if the mother displays few outward symptoms, there could still be some complications with hypothyroidism and pregnancy.
Hypothyroidism can impact the fetal development early in the pregnancy, before a mother is even aware of being pregnant. Even if appropriate treatment is obtained later in the pregnancy, studies have shown that there is still a chance of some developmental delay in the baby.
How to manage hypothyroidism and pregnancy
Many experts recommend that there should be routine thyroid screening of women who are planning to get pregnant, particularly those with an enlarged thyroid gland or a family history of the disease. It is important to get the thyroid in control before the pregnancy and for this medication dosage can be adjusted as required. There is evidence to suggest that some women can benefit from receiving selenium supplements before getting pregnant.
Regular testing for thyroid levels throughout pregnancy is important because there may be the need to change of fine tune dosage of the thyroid replacement medication as the pregnancy progresses. Mediations for hypothyroidism and pregnancy can be something that worries women, but these medications are known to be safe to take during pregnancy and breastfeeding.
In fact women should know that the benefit of being properly medicated for hypothyroidism during pregnancy extends its benefit to the mother as well as the child so managing and keeping thyroid levels on an even keel is vital through pregnancy.
Hypothyroidism after pregnancy
Most women will return to their normal thyroid medication dosage after the delivery of the baby so there are no permanent fallouts of hypothyroidism and pregnancy so long as the condition is well controlled. As for whether the baby will have thyroid problems or not is something that can only be detected after the baby is born.