hypothyroidism in pregnancy
Although, hypothyroidism can happen to both men and women, females are five times more likely to develop thyroid problems. Diagnosis is also problematic because many of the hypothyroidism symptoms in women mimics the symptoms of menopause.
Hypothyroidism is a condition that occurs when the thyroid gland, located in the front of the neck, doesn’t produce enough thyroid hormone. This hormone is important to the regulation of many of your body’s functions and an imbalance can cause a number of problems. Hypothyroidism can result from many causes, diet and environment being the most important factors.
Because hypothyroidism and menopause share many of the same symptoms, including insomnia, moodiness, weight gain, depression, skin changes, constipation and cold intolerance, many times doctors don’t realize they are dealing with two separate conditions and misdiagnose the problem. This acceptance of these symptoms as part of the natural aging process or a byproduct of menopause is reinforced by seeing older family members going through the process and treating it as a natural part of aging. Doctors can also strengthen this attitude of treating these symptoms as ‘normal’ hormonal changes resulting from menopause.
Hypothyroidism in pregnancy can harm both the mother and the baby if undiagnosed and untreated. Care should be taken for early detection, or prevention, but if you are pregnant and are diagnosed with hypothyroidism or you have hypothyroidism and get pregnant, following relatively simple rules and advice will keep both the mother and child safe and healthy.
The first thing to do is to consult with a physician. Regular checkups and maintaining proper treatment for hypothyroidism and pregnancy are important enough without the complications of having both. Treatments for hypothyroidism will need to be modified while you are pregnant.
Because you need to take additional nutrients to support the baby, you will need to modify your diet.These modifications can include an increase in your iodine intake and you and your physician can go over any special or changing dietary needs you will have.
Prenatal vitamins contain calcium and iron. Both of these minerals can interfere with thyroid hormone replacement absorption, so a schedule will need to be worked out to get the benefits of both medications. Usually, if you take the prenatal vitamins three to four hours after the hormone treatment, the absorption of both into your body will be smooth.
Although, physical fatigue will be a concern, you need to maintain the proper exercise level during your pregnancy for both your health and the health of the baby. Exercise can minimize weight gain and keep your blood circulating properly. Both of these can help prevent complications in the pregnancy.
Monitoring your thyroid levels should be done on a regular basis. Your body’s ability to manufacture thyroid hormone will be going through changes during the pregnancy and you should have the levels checked at least once in each trimester to determine any changes that need to be made to your hormone therapy levels.
Although it is possible for a baby to be born with hypothyroidism, the incidences are rare. This condition should be screened for as a newborn and, again, if the baby displays any of the symptoms of hypothyroidism. These symptoms can include poor eating; very little crying, but is always sleeping; a large tongue, belly or head; below normal heart rate and blood count; and others. Blood tests can accurately determine if your child has this condition and it is important to get it treated as quickly as possible.
With the proper diagnosis, you can work to minimize the effects that hypothyroidism can have on your pregnancy and on the health of your child.Although this disease will complicate your pregnancy, the risk of miscarriage is four times higher in women with hypothyroidism, it can be controlled and the risk to you and your baby minimized.