The condition of low thyroid levels during pregnancy may not bring good news for the developing fetus. Know about this potentially serious condition, and how to deal with it from this article.
Pregnancy brings with it not only the most exciting and joyous feelings in a woman’s life, but also certain medical conditions which, I am sure no woman would wish for. One of these conditions is one wherein, thyroid levels in the body are lower than normal. It refers to the production of thyroid that diminishes during pregnancy. This is due to the reason that during this period the mother’s body requires an additional amount of thyroid hormone. And so if the requirement rate is slower than that at which the hormone is produced, then it may interfere with the cognitive development of the fetus, neuropsychological development, and psychometric functioning. Certain medical journals report that about 2.5% of all pregnant women have some degree of hypothyroidism. It is true that pregnancy can in no way be regarded as some kind of a medical disorder or condition, but dearth in the thyroid levels during this period, may take its toll on both the mother and baby.
What May Cause Thyroid Levels to Dwindle?
One main cause of diminished levels of thyroid hormone during pregnancy is a condition known as Hashimoto’s disease. This is an autoimmune thyroid disorder, where the body’s own immune system attacks the thyroid gland. This causes the gland to suffer inflammation thereby, impairing its ability to manufacture enough hormone, thus, causing hypothyroidism. This condition is also known as chronic lymphocytic thyroiditis, and supposedly, the leading cause of insufficient thyroid levels in people in the United States. According to experts, pregnant women with untreated case of low levels of the thyroid hormone, caused due to Hashimoto’s disease, are highly susceptible to deliver babies with birth defects. As already mentioned, such babies stay at a high risk zone to have issues associated with their physical and intellectual development.
Women must watch out for the symptoms of low thyroid levels when they are pregnant, so that they can act early and reduce the risk of complications. However, the problem with this condition is, the symptoms are not exhibited immediately. They develop with time and, as the metabolism slows down more and more, the symptoms become more noticeable.
- Increased sensitivity to cold, muscle cramps, feeling tired and constipation may be the initial symptoms.
- Without any treatment, these symptoms progress to weight gain, voice becoming hoarse, and hair fall.
- Poor memory, skin getting drier with time, and paler too, and feeling too sluggish to get up in the morning are some symptoms that become obvious as the condition progresses.
- Tenderness and stiffness of muscles, pain and tenderness of joints, elevated blood cholesterol level, and depression are the other symptoms.
To summarize the effects that hypothyroidism can cause to pregnant mothers, when left untreated, here is a quick list to look into:
- Fertility issues
- Increased risk of miscarriage
- High blood pressure during the time of delivery, and premature birth
- And, as mentioned already, developmental and intellectual problems in the baby
Measures for Prevention
So, as you can infer from what has been said in the above description, the symptoms tend to develop with time. And by the time they show up, it may mean that the condition has already progressed to a worse stage. So the best recommended way to keep this from happening is to go for regular medial checkups. And this should not only be done in the first trimester, but throughout the entire duration of your pregnancy. Some women may have to increase their dosage of thyroid hormone by as much as 50%.
And to conclude, the best way for pregnant mothers to avoid the condition of low thyroid levels, is to work closely with their endocrinologist and obstetrician. Doing this will not only pave the path for a successful pregnancy, but would also make the postpartum needs as easy as possible for the mother.