World Thyroid Day: Untreated thyroid diseases can affect expecting mother & baby in serious ways

As per experts, untreated thyroid diseases can affect the mother and baby in serious ways even leading to miscarriage, premature birth, severely increased blood pressure and low birth weight

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New Delhi: With the COVID lockdown and people hesitant to visit hospitals, expectant mothers should still not miss their regular check-ups in case they suffer from thyroid issues. If you are experiencing fast and irregular heartbeat, having trouble dealing with the heat, are constantly tired, having unexplained weight loss or not gaining normal pregnancy weight, consult your doctor at once as both hypo and hyperthyroidism can gravely affect the mother and fetus.

Explaining how thyroid hormone can affect a woman’s chances of getting pregnant, Dr S. Padma, Sr. Consultant & HOD, Obstetrics & Gynecology, Meenakshi Mission Hospital and Research Centre (MMHRC) said, “Uncontrolled hypo and hyperthyroidism can cause infertility, miscarriage, chronic anemia, preeclampsia in women. Excessive or too little secretion of thyroid hormone and can cause long-term developmental defects in the fetus such as congenital hypothyroidism, low birth weight, hydrops fetalis, cretinism as well as low IQ.”

Pregnancy can also affect the secretion of thyroid hormone, as the thyroid gland is affected due to the pregnancy hormones. Said Dr. S. Padma, “Pregnancy is an increased demand on the thyroid gland. In normal individuals, this does not appear to present much of a load on the thyroid gland, but in females with subclinical hypothyroidism, the extra demands of pregnancy can precipitate clinical disease. Hence, those with thyroid problems must exercise caution.”

Thyroid level testing in first antenatal visit is imperative and then it must be done at regular intervals to keep a tab on the levels as well as to keep the abnormally rising levels in check. For those who may be trying to conceive and are unable to do so due to elevated thyroid levels, thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH) and T4 levels must be monitored prior to becoming pregnant. This is especially true for those with low thyroid hormones or have already had a miscarriage in the past.

Dr. S. Padma advised, “Untreated thyroid diseases can affect the mother and baby in serious ways even leading to miscarriage, premature birth, severely increased blood pressure and low birth weight. High risk factors include a family history of thyroid problems or any other autoimmune disease. Tackling hypothyroid symptoms early in the pregnancy planning stages allows for early treatment and smooth pregnancy.”