Thyroid Problems during Pregnancy

Pregnancy and subsequent delivery brings with it joy and a number of changes in life style including fatigue, anemia, pain, and breast soreness. It is very important for a woman to get her thyroid levels checked before, during, and after pregnancy.  Women who are pregnant or want to get pregnant should discuss the possibility of a thyroid problem with her doctor.  Any symptoms of thyroid should stimulate her to go in for a thyroid (TSH) test. A woman adjusts to all the complications brought about by the change in lifestyle by the third month after delivery. But a few of them find that a change in their thyroid function after delivery does not let them gain good health.

When a woman gets pregnant, it becomes very necessary to get a routine test for any possibility of a thyroid problem and for thyroid stimulating immuno globulins and thyroid antibodies. During pregnancy the thyroid function increases or decreases and in case of an under active thyroid it will not be able to make the required hormones during pregnancy. A TSH enables you to find your hormone level. If necessary the thyroid level needs to be boosted up during pregnancy. The fetus initially depends on the mother for the supply of thyroid hormone because the thyroid gland of the fetus develops only at about tenth week of pregnancy. The thyroid hormone which crosses the placenta and reaches the baby especially during the first trimester can be harmful for the baby. This is because at first trimester, the baby’s brain starts to develop but the thyroid gland has not started developing by then.

A TSH test indicating a high or a low level will first indicate whether your thyroid levels are normal or not.  Post pregnancy, any body with hereditary thyroid history should get a TSH function level test done. Disorder in one’s family like rheumatoid arthritis, anemia due to lack of vitamin B12, colitis, juvenile diabetes and premature gray hair indicates a thyroid problem in you. A TSH test (to ensure normal thyroid levels) is very necessary because minor changes in thyroid levels are never accompanied by any symptoms. If you have thyroid, then it can be treated and you will recover very fast. About 33 percent women do not recover fully from their thyroid dysfunctions and have to take life long treatment.

Thyroid problems crop up post pregnancy because after delivery the immune system which was suppressed during pregnancy has a marked increase in its activity. A rise in thyroid levels, (hypothyroidism) puts your total body system on a rise. Your heart races and you have symptoms like shaking hands, insomnia, increased sweating, and anxiety.  On the other hand if your thyroid levels go down you feel sluggish, depressed, tired, run down, have muscle cramps and constipation. Recent studies show that women with hypothyroidism have more chances of giving birth to children with lower IQ levels as compared to children of women with normal thyroid levels.

Thyroid levels will experience a change in your subsequent pregnancies if there has been a change in the thyroid function in first pregnancy. Also conception is very difficult if a woman has abnormal thyroid levels. The levels can be kept under check by regular TSH test. Your thyroid problems during pregnancy and after delivery are not passed on to your new born baby. In some countries such as in USA, each and every baby is checked for normal thyroid function at birth. This is done to ensure them child’s proper physical and mental growth.

Pregnant women should take multivitamins or prenatal vitamins containing 150 micrograms of iodine in each capsule as a daily recommended dosage. Please make sure that you include this iodine dosage only after taking a proper advice from the doctor. A timely check and treatment will ensure the birth of healthy babies with proper mental growth and will also ensure good health for the mother.