Causes and Effects of Thyroid in Pregnancy

thyroid in pregnancy

Pregnancy brings along with it not just the joys of becoming a mother but also numerous symptoms which are uncomfortable and some medical conditions which need you to take a little extra care. One such is thyroid disorders – hypothyroidism and hyperthyroidism which definitely need to be treated.

What role does Thyroid play in pregnancy?

The thyroid is an organ in the front of your neck that releases hormones which help regulate your metabolism, heart and nervous system, weight, body temperature and many other processes.

The thyroid hormone is very important for the normal development of your baby’s brain and nervous system. While your unborn baby’s thyroid will begin to function by itself at around 12 weeks’ gestation, it will completely depend upon your supply of the hormone in the first trimester.

Symptoms of thyroid during pregnancy

When you are pregnant, the thyroid increases in size in any case. However, a significantly enlarged thyroid gland could be a sign of a thyroid disease and should be investigated by your doctor. What makes it hard is that symptoms of thyroid are similar to the general symptoms experienced during pregnancy and include fatigue, higher level of the thyroid hormone in the blood, and an enlarged thyroid.

Hyperthyroidism and pregnancy

Most common cause: autoimmune disorder Hashimoto’s thyroiditis

The body produces an antibody TSI (Thyroid Stimulating Immunoglobulin) which induces the thyroid to produce increased amounts of hormones.

Symptoms common to pregnancy: increased heart rate, sensitivity to hot temperatures, fatigue.

Symptoms: irregular heartbeat, nervousness, severe nausea, slight tremor, trouble sleeping, weight loss, etc.

Hypothyroidism and pregnancy

Most common cause: autoimmune disorder Grave’s disease

Body mistakenly attacks the thyroid gland cells, leaving the thyroid with insufficient cells and enzymes to make enough thyroid hormones.

Symptoms common to pregnancy: extreme tiredness, weight gain.

Symptoms: constipation, difficulty concentrating, memory issues, sensitivity to cold temperatures, muscle cramps, etc.

Treatment for thyroid disease in pregnancy

Pre-existing thyroid disorders may require additional medical attention during pregnancy, especially in the first trimester. Pregnancy may also cause symptoms like hyperthyroidism in the first trimester. In case of palpitations, weight loss, persistent vomiting contact your gynaecologist. Untreated thyroid disorders during pregnancy could lead to premature birth, preeclampsia, miscarriage, low birth weight, etc. In case you have a history of a thyroid disorders inform your gynaecologist in advance so that it can be monitored and treated or an ongoing treatment altered.