Affect of Hypothyroidism during Pregnancy

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Affect of Hypothyroidism during Pregnancy

Affect of Hypothyroidism during Pregnancy

Thyroid is a big ductless gland inside the neckline that secretes thyroid hormone into the bloodstream that controls the growth of a human body and also regulates metabolism. There are three hormones secreted, T3, T4 and Calcitonin. The two main hormones are T3 and T4 that affects the metabolism rate.

When does thyroid turns into a thyroid disease?

When there is an overproduction of these hormones, it is known as hyperthyroidism and when there is less production of these hormones, it causes hypothyroidism during pregnancy.

The more the production of the thyroid hormones, the more is the energy required by the body like when the body is maturing or during pregnancy. When the body is producing less hormones, all the functions in the body slows down. Grave’s disease happens during hyperthyroidism, which means immune system disorder leading to overproduction of hormones.

During pregnancy, it is sometimes difficult to diagnose thyroid, even thyroid tests fail. Reasons could be high thyroid hormones, enlarged thyroid and fatigue. Diagnostic thyroid tests usually done are T3, T4 and TSH levels via blood test. When a woman conceives, two pregnancy-related hormones, hCG and estrogen are responsible for regulating thyroid’s function.

hCG (human chorionic gonadotropin) alike TSH (thyroid stimulating hormone) doesn’t have much role in the production of the thyroid gland. Estrogen, however, is accountable for higher production of quantities of thyroid-binding globulin or thyroxine protein in the bloodstream.

How thyroid affects baby’s development?

During the first few weeks, fetus will depend on the thyroid hormone supply from its mother through placenta. By the end of the first trimester, baby’s own thyroid gland starts functioning.

Hypothyroidism during Pregnancy

Symptoms like excessive fatigue, quite sensitive to cold, etc. Indicated by higher TSH levels and lower free T4 levels


1. Untreated hypothyroidism before or during pregnancy results in libido (decreased sexual desire)
2. Thyroid removal treatment
3. Hashimoto’s disease that is an autoimmune disorder resulting in chronic inflammation (irritation, swelling, soreness, etc.) of the thyroid gland. The gland’s inability to produce thyroid hormones decreases resulting in less secretion
4. Infertility leading to male infertility or rarely primary ovary failure


1. Preterm birth
2. Anemia- Lesser RBC or red blood cells causing lesser oxygen supply inside body
3. Low birth weight- Might lead to low immune system of the baby
4. Stillbirth- Baby expiring after 24 weeks but before birth
5. Miscarriage- Pregnancy loss
6. Infertility
7. Preeclampsia- High blood pressure
8. Improper neurological development
9. Congestive heart failure of the fetus- Rarest case though, but will cause improper nervous system or brain development during the first trimester.

Important Concerns

Infertility due to thyroid dysfunction can either be a woman’s inability to conceive normally, male impotency, not having a normal full-term pregnancy or even recurrent early pregnancy loss.

Improper neurological development in fetal develops usually at first trimester if a pregnant mother has untreated or uncontrolled thyroid. This results in lack of cognitive skills of the baby after birth, low IQ level, brain disorders, abnormal facial development, and death in rare cases.

Thyroxine (i.e., synthetic thyroid hormone) higher dose is recommended for hypothyroidism during pregnancy to regulate normal functioning of the thyroid and is safe to use.

In addition, multivitamin and iodine (mineral) supplements should be taken by mother during pregnancy.

A mother must avoid radioactive iodine treatment as it may harm the fetal’s thyroid gland.

If you have any questions related to pregnancy, please feel free to Ask Your Queries here at MediMetry.


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About the Author

Gynaecologist (8 years of experience)
Past Experience:
Haryana Civil Medical services
Empanelled at Alchemist, Panchkula

MBBS Gynaecologist

SCO 7-8, Lifecare Hospital
Sai market , near panchkula sec -20 barrier
Peermuchalla, Peermuchalla
Punjab - 140603