Thursday, July 13, 2006

symptom thyroid : Thyroid Problems & Pregnancy

The most common thyroid disorder occurring around or during pregnancy is thyroid hormone deficiency, or hypothyroidism. The details of hypothyroidism are covered on several other pages on our site, so only those factors pertaining to pregnancy are discussed here. Hypothyroidism can cause a variety of changes in a woman's menstrual periods: irregularity, heavy periods, or loss of periods. When hypothyroidism is severe, it can reduce a woman's chances of becoming pregnant. Checking thyroid gland function with a simple blood test is an important part of evaluating a woman who has trouble becoming pregnant. If detected, an underactive thyroid gland can be easily treated with thyroid hormone replacement therapy. If thyroid blood tests are normal, however, treating an infertile woman with thyroid hormones will not help at all, and may cause other problems.

Because some of the symptoms of hypothyroidism such as tiredness and weight gain are already quite common in pregnant women, it is often overlooked and not considered as a possible cause of these symptoms. Blood tests, particularly measuring the TSH level, can determine whether a pregnant woman's problems are due to hypothyroidism or not.

Since thyroid medications (particularly Levothyroxine) are essentially identical to the thyroid hormone made by the normal thyroid gland, a woman with an underactive thyroid gland can feel confident that it is perfectly safe to take thyroid hormone medication during pregnancy. There are no side effects for the mother or the baby as long as the proper dose is used. In the case where hypothyroidism in the mother is NOT detected, the thyroid will still develop normally in the baby.

Women with previously treated hypothyroidism should be aware that their dose of medication may have to be increased during pregnancy. They should contact their doctor, who should check their blood level of TSH periodically throughout pregnancy to see if their medication dose needs adjustment. Thyroid function tests should continue to be reviewed every 2-3 months throughout the pregnancy. After delivery, the thyroxine dose should be returned to the pre-pregnancy dose and thyroid function tests reviewed two months later.

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