UNDERSTANDING HOW HYPOTHYROIDISM AFFECTS PREGNANCY

PREGNANCY

 

Pregnancy is such an amazing and stressful time for any women. I am blessed to have 2 beautiful healthy boys, but it certainly wasn’t all smooth sailing to get to this point. My thyroid issues played a significant part in 2 miscarriages and a string of pregnancy and post partum complications with my first born. Luckily I was able to control these problems and have an amazingly healthy and relaxed pregnancy with my second.

There can be many obstetric complications when the pregnant woman suffers from hypothyroidism. Even if you have a mild case of hypothyroidism, there can be adverse effects on the unborn child. The adverse effects include:

•Anemia
•Increased chance of miscarriage
•Cardiac ventricular dysfunction
•Fetal mortality
•Impaired cognitive development
•Low birth weight
•Postpartum hemorrhage
•Increased risk of post partum depression

Even though the possibility of poor fetal outcome exists, thyroid screening isn’t part of the ordinary screening process for pregnant women. There was a study which reviewed the records of pregnant women. Only a little over 20% of the women were tested for hypothyroidism during their pregnancy.

If you suffer from hypothyroidism, increased thyroid hormone dosage should be anticipated while you are pregnant. This is especially true during your first and second trimesters. Studies suggest the T4 dose should be increased by 30% when you have confirmation of your pregnancy and it should be adjusted in accordance with your TSH levels.

Since iodine demands are higher when you are pregnant and lactating, you should increase your iron intake when you are pregnant. Usually it should increase to almost double, but you should check with your physician to be sure. The ATA (American Thyroid Association) recommends all women who are pregnant and lactating taking a minimum of 250 mg of iodine each day.

If you have been previously diagnosed with hypothyroidism, your physician should check your TSH every three to four weeks during the first half of your pregnancy and every six to 10 weeks for the remainder of your pregnancy.

You may have gone your entire life without any thyroid problems at all, but pregnancy can change that. There are a few symptoms you should look for as a warning sign of thyroid disorder:

•Fatigue—Fatigue during pregnancy is common. If you feel excessively fatigue, however, it can be a warning sign. You may sleep eight to 10 hours and still wake up tired. You may not be able to function all day unless you can take a long nap. This type of fatigue can be a warning sign.

•Muscle and joint pain—Again, you can have aches and pains during pregnancy. The aches and pain, in conjunction with the other symptoms, can be a sign of thyroid disorder.

•Hair and skin changes—Thyroid conditions attack the hair and skin. If you have brittle, dry hair that breaks and falls out, it is definitely a warning sign for hypothyroidism. Your skin can become thick, coarse, dry and/or scaly.

•Neck changes—You may feel swelling in your neck or discomfort wearing turtlenecks or other things around your neck. You can develop a hoarse voice or even visibly see your enlarged thyroid as a goiter can appear on your neck.

•Depression, anxiety

•Digestion problems

If you are pregnant and feeling any of the above symptoms, you should definitely consult with your physician. You want to make sure your thyroid is functioning properly to ensure the safety of both you and your unborn child.