What If Getting Pregnant With Thyroid – Precautions and Treatment
Created by Chayanika Sen Updated on Oct 12, 2018
The thyroid gland is a small butterfly shaped organ located in the lower front part of the neck. It is an important part of the endocrine system. Improper functioning of thyroid gland may impact a woman's ability to conceive. A doctor would always check and ensure thyroid levels are proper before any woman plans a baby. Approximately five to ten percent of ladies trying to conceive are found to have impaired thyroid levels.
How Does Thyroid Gland Function?
Hyperthyroidism and Hypothyroidism refer to conditions when a woman's body produces too much or too little thyroid hormones respectively. These conditions impact a woman's normal menstrual cycle, impacting ovulation and thereby impeding chances of conception. Treatment and medication can help in regaining fertility. A few effects of impaired thyroid functioning are as follows.
- Anovulatory cycles: A condition when ovulation is improper and may make pregnancy impossible
- Issues in Leutal phase: The second half of the menstrual cycle and a phase when the fertilised egg fails to implant itself and miscarriage occurs with bleeding at the same time as regular period
- Impacted Prolactin levels: Lower levels of thyroxine combined with high levels of thyroid releasing hormones may result in poor or missing ovulation
- Hormonal Imbalance: Reduced levels of SHBG, dominance of oestrogen levels and deficiency of progesterone may all cumulatively impact the reproductive system and impair fertility
This condition is far more common in women during their child bearing years. This disorder may develop in woman either over a short period of time or a longer span. Grave's disease is considered to be the most important cause of over-active thyroid. Thyroid function does influence metabolism on the whole and hence may impact various functions in a female's body. It impacts the woman's menstrual cycle such that she may have irregular cycles or may completely miss her monthly cycles.
A woman suffering from hyperthyroidism may find it impossible to get pregnant without adequate medication. Even if she manages to conceive with improper thyroid levels, she may face serious consequences like miscarriage, premature labour or preeclampsia during later stages of pregnancy.
Recommendations from experts in the field suggest that TSH concentration should be aimed within the lower half of the reference range when a woman is trying to get pregnant. This would not only improve odds of conceiving but also help in preventing miscarriage after conception.
This is reverse of hyperthyroidism and is a condition when thyroid gland does not produce sufficient T3 and T4 hormones. With this condition, ovulation cycle may or may not be regular. However, this condition will have to be treated before a woman becomes pregnant. Hypothyroidism may lead to a rare but severe condition referred to as “Myxedema coma”. This condition arises when thyroid hormone levels drop significantly, leading to a sharp drop in the woman's body temperature, blood sugar levels, blood pressure and may also affect her ability to breathe properly. This condition can lead to conditions of infertility and may also result in miscarriage in case of a pregnant woman.
Treatment For Thyroid Before Getting Pregnant
When a patient approaches a doctor with a complaint of not being able to conceive, the doctor would definitely get her thyroid levels tested. In case the levels are found to be out of normal range, the woman is recommended treatment according to her condition. The right dose to get back thyroid levels to normal would be a mandate before a doctor accords his go ahead to the couple to conceive.
What Are The Precautions To Keep In Mind Post Pregnancy?
After becoming pregnant, maintaining right levels of thyroid is absolutely essential. Levels within normal range will not only prevent miscarriage and keep the pregnancy going but will also be of extreme important in helping development of the growing baby's brain. The Doctor would recommend levels of thyroxine to keep thyroid levels under control. Regular blood tests would be recommended to keep a tap on the changing levels.
Thyroid levels undergo tremendous change as the pregnancy progresses, and hence frequency of blood tests is one test every four weeks especially during the early weeks of pregnancy.