I get so many questions about thyroid health and pregnancy, There are a lot of women that are concerned about getting pregnant with thyroid disease. That is totally understandable as the thyroid helps your baby grow. So it is so important to make sure you are taking care of your thyroid in order to get pregnant and have a healthy pregnancy.
Pregnancy alters what is considered “normal thyroid function” in the body. The changes that occur during pregnancy are, therefore, very important to understand if you have thyroid disease.
Why Is The Thyroid So Important For Pregnancy?
Thyroid hormones are necessary for normal fetal development during the first 3 months. This is why you will usually see your TSH drop low during the first trimester.
When you are pregnant your baby depends on your body to help their body to develop. The hormone hCG and estrogen raise the level of thyroid hormones in your body. This allows you and your baby to have enough hormones that are needed.
But sometimes your thyroid levels can rise too high or decrease too low. If this happens, it can cause fluctuations with estrogen and cause harm to you and the baby.
It has been shown that hypothyroidism during pregnancy, even by a small amount, may result in developmental issues including a lower IQ in your child if it is not treated appropriately.
Can Pregnancy Cause Thyroid Disease?
As we said before, your thyroid function is critical to the development of your child.
Thyroid disease is common among many women. This leads women to question if pregnancy actually causes thyroid issues?
Pregnancy typically does not cause thyroid disease but can make a thyroid disease worse. Many women have subclinical hypothyroidism and it becomes more apparent when you get pregnant.
Pregnancy puts a lot of strain on the body which causes more intense thyroid symptoms. So it is not that pregnancy leads to thyroid disease but reveals the existing condition.
It also common for a woman to develop thyroid disease while pregnant, but is less common than those who already have the condition.
How Can Your Thyroid Affect Pregnancy?
Hyperthyroidism (overactive thyroid) can cause:
- Premature birth
- Thyroid storm (a sudden, severe worsening of symptoms)
- Rapid heart rate in the newborn, which in turn can cause heart failure, poor weight gain, or an enlarged thyroid gland in the newborn that can make it hard to breathe
- Low birth weight
Hypothyroidism underactive thyroids) can cause:
- Low birth weight