Thyroid issues can lead to many problems during pregnancy; which can be detrimental to the baby’s development. If you are about to become pregnant, or are already, you need to pay more attention to your thyroid.
Hypothyroidism affects many aspects of women's reproductive system. It can cause irregular and heavy menstrual periods, miscarriages, and infertility. Hypothyroidism affects as many as 7 to 8% of women in their reproductive years. The incidence of hypothyroidism during pregnancy ranges from 0.3 to 5% and the most common cause is Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis. Mild or subclinical hypothyroidism is common in pregnant women. It is diagnosed when thyroid hormone levels (T4 and T3) are normal and TSH levels are slightly high. There are many side effects from untreated hypothyroidism in pregnancy even when it is mild. There is an increased risk of neuropsychological impairment in newborns as well as an increased risk of pre-term birth, low birth weight, increased admission to the neo-natal intensive care unit, and increased baby morbidity and mortality. In the pregnant mother, untreated hypothyroidism can result in pregnancy-induced high blood pressure, preeclampsia, abruption (separation of placenta from the uterus), anemia, and postpartum hemorrhage.
Currently, there is a well established link between thyroid dysfunction during pregnancy and labor difficulties. Recent studies show that low T4 levels in the mother can result in a higher risk of abnormal fetal head presentation during childbirth. Women who presented abnormal fetal head positions had significantly lower thyroid hormone levels than women who had normal head position. Studies also showed that the lower the thyroid hormone levels in the 36th week of gestation, the higher the risk for abnormal fetal head presentation. Hypothyroidism also increases the risk of preclampsia and eclampsia. As you can see, it is very important to pay attention to your thyroid hormone levels if you are pregnant. Low thyroid can clearly affect the outcome of your pregnancy.