Thyroid in pregnancy, what is the problem?
Surely you have often heard of thyroid gland problems in pregnancy, but do you know what they consist of? Thyroid abnormalities are the second cause of complications of the endocrine system during pregnancy.
The thyroid gland is located in the anterior part of the neck. It is responsible for secreting hormones that influence both metabolism and growth. These hormones are triiodothyronine (T3) and thyroxine (T4).
Both are also responsible for the brain, heart and muscles functioning properly. Curiously, the development of pregnancy and the neurological system of your baby also depend on them.
Due to its multiple functions and its importance during pregnancy, in this article we explain the possible problems that may appear in the thyroid gland in pregnancy.
What happens to the thyroid gland in pregnancy?
Disorders of this gland may be present from before pregnancy, however, It is quite common for abnormalities to develop during the period of pregnancy.
The functions of this gland, as we have already mentioned, are diverse and have a great relationship with the development of the baby. First, the thyroid influences fertility. This means that any involvement in it can decrease your chances of pregnancy.
This occurs because a low level of thyroid hormones is related to the alteration of menstrual cycles. In fact, There are numerous studies that relate the lack of menstruation (amenorrhea) with thyroid pathologies.
On the other hand, the hormone T4 is one of the protagonists in the neurological development of the fetus. This is one of the key aspects: if your thyroid gland does not work properly, your baby will have neurological problems, such as mental retardation, for example.
During pregnancy, there is a risk that the function of this gland is disturbed. Mainly, two things can happen:
- The thyroid gland increases its activity: hyperthyroidism. It causes the growth of the fetus to be slow or less than normal. In addition, it can lead to the death of the fetus.
- The thyroid gland decreases its activity: hypothyroidism. The intellectual development of the baby is not carried out correctly. It can also cause miscarriages.
Hyperthyroidism in pregnancy
In this case, the gland is overactive and more thyroxine is generated than normal. It is not as frequent as hypothyroidism, it only appears in 0.2% of pregnancies.
The symptoms are usually nervousness and anxiety in the mother. Further, usually gives hypertension and weight loss. However, complications can be much more serious.
Hyperthyroidism causes the fetus to have a higher heart rate. In the end, the baby's growth is less than expected. It can cause the baby to be born prematurely and even die inside the womb.
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Hypothyroidism in pregnancy
The thyroid gland in pregnancy increases, both in size and in hormone production. This requires a kind of ‘overexertion’ for the gland. When the pregnant woman has a limited thyroid reserve or an iodine deficit, hypothyroidism can occur.
This occurs in almost 4% of pregnant women. The thyroid works slowly and does not produce the amount of hormones needed. The symptoms are often confused, so it is necessary to know them:
- Tiredness and weakness.
- Weight gain.
- Dry skin and weakness of hair and nails.
- Pain in muscles and joints.
The repercussions of hypothyroidism on the fetus can be serious. If it is not detected, the baby itself can be born with hypothyroidism. This can cause the baby to suffer mental retardation.
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How to avoid thyroid problems in pregnancy?
Fortunately, Today, there are numerous controls to detect possible complications during pregnancy. First of all, if you are thinking about getting pregnant, you should go to your doctor first.
He will make you blood test to check your thyroid function. If you don't plan it, the same thing happens during pregnancy. Your gynecologist will routinely check you to check that your thyroid hormone level is stable.
Ideally, you go to the doctor frequently and have all the relevant tests. Thyroid problems in pregnancy are relatively frequent. In addition, these pathologies are easy to detect and, in doing so, you will avoid numerous complications that can put your pregnancy at risk.