Can Thyroid Disease Affect Your Pregnancy?
Dr. Ankita Gharge (she/her)

Dr. Ankita Gharge (she/her)

Oct 30Thyroid

Can Thyroid Disease Affect Your Pregnancy?

If you have thyroid disease, it can affect your pregnancy. Both hypothyroidism and hyperthyroidism can affect the foetus in different ways. But by taking the crucial measures as suggested by your doctor, you can have a healthy pregnancy.

Hence, prenatal counselling becomes crucial for all women planning conception to evaluate and diagnose chronic disorders such as diabetes, hypertension and thyroid that can have harmful effects on the pregnancy if not brought under control.

The thyroid hormone is essential for the development of the baby’s brain and neural system that happens in the first half of the pregnancy. If the mother has hypothyroidism meaning low levels of the thyroid hormone, the baby will also receive insufficient amounts of the thyroid hormones. It can lead to mental retardation and stunted growth in the baby. Hyperthyroidism with presence of thyroid antibodies can lead to increased blood pressure in the mother. Thus, it affects both the mother’s and baby’s health. It can also lead to growth retardation, meaning delayed growth in the baby.

However, that in no way means that you cannot conceive if you have thyroid disease. With the appropriate guidance by experts, you can get pregnant and deliver a healthy baby. Make sure to follow all the necessary precautions and treatments as advised by them throughout your pregnancy.

Here is a simple guide to understand how you will need to manage your thyroid at different stages of your pregnancy:

Before you plan a pregnancy

You will need to meet up with your doctor before you plan a pregnancy for prenatal counselling. Thyroid disorders need aggressive treatment and have to be corrected before planning for conception.

Correct your thyroid levels: It is crucial to bring the thyroid levels back to normal before getting pregnant. It has majorly two reasons. Firstly, thyroid disorders lead to irregular periods. It can make it harder to conceive a pregnancy. Secondly, the baby’s thyroid gets fully developed approximately by the end of the first trimester. Until that happens, the baby needs the supply of thyroid hormones from the mother. If the thyroid levels are not corrected, it hampers the supply of the thyroid hormones that the baby requires for growth and development. It affects major organ development.

During your pregnancy

Once your thyroid levels are normal, your body is ready for pregnancy. However, you will have to continue taking care even when you become pregnant.

Take medications based on your doctor’s advice: Keep the doctor informed about your thyroid disorder and the current medications and their dosage. Your doctor may advise you to increase the dosage of your medicines in the first trimester based on your reports.

Go for regular follow-ups: Repeat investigations for thyroid in every trimester of the pregnancy and after the delivery. Your doctor will keep changing the dose of the medications according to your thyroid levels.

Never skip your medicines: Take the medications on time and never forget to take a single dose.

After your pregnancy

Post-birth too, the thyroid care needs to be continued.

Continue medications: You will need to continue the thyroid medications for 6 weeks after your delivery.

Repeat blood tests: The hormone levels tend to change post-delivery. Hence, you need to take the blood tests again to check them. In some women, the thyroid levels may get back to normal and the doctor may stop the medications for them. But some may need to continue getting treatment for thyroid.

Can you get thyroid during pregnancy?

Yes, it is possible to get diagnosed with thyroid disorder during the pregnancy as well. It can be detected during the first pregnancy checkup. If diagnosed with it, do not panic. Your doctor will immediately start you on the required treatment and care to prevent any repercussions later.

To conclude, thyroid can affect your chances of conceiving. It can also affect your baby once you get pregnant if the thyroid levels are not monitored and kept under control. Having said that, it is still possible to avoid all complications and have a healthy pregnancy provided you follow your doctor’s advice sincerely and take your medications on time. Before you conceive, go for prenatal counselling to ensure that your body is ready for the pregnancy.

Disclaimer - This information is provided for educational purposes and should not be construed as medical advice. Please consult with your healthcare practitioners before undertaking any changes in your diet or adding supplements.

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