Pregnancy and Your Thyroid: Get the Facts, Know the Risks

Reduce your chances of future infertility, early delivery, low birth weight, and stillbirth

Testing pregnant woman's thyroid

Could your thyroid — that butterfly-shaped gland in your neck — be keeping you from a healthy pregnancy?

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If you have a history of miscarriages and normal thyroid tests, you may want to get a second opinion from a specialist. When expectant mothers have any thyroid disorder, it is called maternal thyroid disease. The thyroid problem isn’t caused by pregnancy. It just happens to hit certain women while they are pregnant.

What to do before, during and after pregnancy

  • All pregnant women should have a thyroid test between the fourth and sixth weeks of pregnancy. If results are normal, no further testing is needed.
  • If something’s wrong, thyroid tests should be done every three months.
  • Women with hypothyroidism — an underactive thyroid  — may need their medication dosage increased by 30 percent.
  • The answer for an overactive thyroid — or hyperthyroidism — may be a low dose of an antithyroid drug such as propylthiouracil.
  • If you’ve had miscarriages and suspect you may have a thyroid problem, ask your doctor about an antithyroid antibody test.
  • Watch for postpartum depression — thyroid disease can aggravate it.
  • All women should get another thyroid test about six weeks after giving birth.

Why thyroid tests are a must

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The need to get your thyroid checked out is easy to see when weighing the risks.  Along with miscarriage, maternal thyroid disease can lead to problems ranging from infertility to early delivery and low birth weight to stillbirth, and health problems for mom and child.

Don’t stress. Be proactive and get treatment.

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