The thyroid gland within the body plays an important role in regulating your metabolism among many other functions. This is a butterfly-shaped gland located in your neck and plays an important role within your body. However, a common condition that may afflict it is hypothyroidism or an underactive thyroid gland. It is even more of a problem if you are pregnant as it may affect your baby’s development in the womb. It has also been noticed that pregnancy in itself may cause hypothyroidism.
Symptoms of Hypothyroidism-
Pregnant women may also exhibit symptoms common to other patients who are suffering from hypothyroidism. These may include:
Fatigue along with lethargy.
Mild to significant weight gain.
Feeling cold with severe chills
The thyroid gland produces the T4 hormone responsible for regulating many mechanisms within the body such as metabolism. With hypothyroidism, the production of this hormone decreases or stops altogether. This is important as disruption in the production of the hormone may disrupt the normal development of your baby.
Effects of Hypothyroidism on your baby-
Hypothyroidism during pregnancy can affect your child’s developmental abilities. Many studies in this field have shown that such children tend to have learning difficulties and may even display lower IQ scores during tests. It was noticed that sometimes, hypothyroidism during pregnancy wasn’t diagnosed correctly as the pregnant mother did not show much apparent symptoms. This is also a major issue in the early diagnosis of the problem. Hence, it is absolutely imperative to test for thyroid problems early during pregnancy.
Prevention is the Best Cure-
It is thus very important that mothers be screened properly for thyroid issues even before they are pregnant and while they are pregnant. Some of the medically recommended steps that should be taken are –
Screening before pregnancy as this can help to devise a solution for this condition.
Women with goiter or enlarged thyroid should most certainly be screened.
Women with a family history of hypothyroidism should be screened.
Treatments for Hypothyroidism During Pregnancy-
The doctors may suggest thyroid hormone replacement therapy wherein artificial T4 hormone is introduced into the body. This helps to maintain a constant rate of the thyroid hormone within the body. This can be done even before pregnancy as the developing fetus is completely dependent on the mother for its thyroid hormone until at least 12 weeks when the baby’s body can start producing it on its own. Also, the levels of this hormone should be regularly checked within the body through the TSH or the thyroid stimulating hormone tests to ensure that the levels are at a safe minimum.