During pregnancy women suffer some alterations of the thyroid function, as consequence of increase in hormones during this period.
In fact, the important increase in BHCG and of oestrogen observed during pregnancy, will alter the functioning of the thyroid gland.
It is therefore, at times difficult to diagnose a thyroid malfunction during pregnancy, due to the “normal” alterations common at this period and the thyroid pathology.
A slight increase of the thyroid during pregnancy, as well as of the thyroid hormones, are common and “normal” during pregnancy.
The tiredness that women naturally feel during this period is also a common symptom and it can mislead us to underestimate a latent pathology.
During pregnancy, women need to have additional iodine within their diet. Around 7% of women do not have enough. The thyroid hormones are important for the development of the baby, mostly to the brain and nervous system, as this depends on the hormonal level of the mother up until their 12 weeks, period in which their own gland begins to function.
Mothers with low thyroid function, called hypothyroidism, have babies that might suffer from consequences among their cognitive development, manifested only at school age, with lack of attention, learning difficulties, lower than expected IQ and at times psychological issues.
The increases as well as the decreases of the thyroid function that can be observed during pregnancy can have serious immediate consequences to the baby:
- Congestive heart failure
- Underweight at birth or weight bellow > 3,5 Kg
- Death at uterus
The emergence of the 1st teeth after the first 6 months is an alarming sign for potential hypothyroidism of the child.
As well as it is very important to be aware of this issue and to diagnose early a thyroid malfunction during pregnancy or in the new-born.
How to diagnose:
Your doctor will request your pre-pregnancy exams, including the necessary to track it: T4, TSH and ANTI-TPO.
With these exams we can diagnose and monitor the thyroid functioning.
We should not forget that the thyroid malfunction is diagnosed mostly clinically.
There are other exams that can be conducted, analytical and imaging, but can only be justified after the first approach.
You should conduct appointments and exams regularly.
The analytical exams should be repeated during and after pregnancy.
The so called “post-partum depression” is also related to the thyroid alteration.
Currently, most doctors are alarmed to this issue, but we can still see a high number of women who don’t get a check before, during or even after pregnancy.
You should also be aware when selecting a laboratory, since there are various methods for the diagnosis of TSH, the hormone that stimulated thyroid, some more sensible than others.
We wish you all the best in this new adventure, your pregnancy.