Hypothyroidism During Pregnancy: What You Should Know

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Pregnancy is an important time in a woman's life and has a major impact upon her entire body, especially the endocrine system which controls the hormones in the body. The thyroid gland is an important component of that endocrine system. Get to know some of the facts about the thyroid and one of the most common thyroid problems during pregnancy, hypothyroidism, so that you know what to look out for when you are pregnant. That way, you can get the thyroid treatment you need to ensure you maintain your health and that of your unborn child.

Pregnancy Affects The Thyroid Even In Healthy Women

You do not have to have a history of thyroid issues for your thyroid to behave differently during pregnancy. Because being pregnant has such a major impact on the endocrine system as a whole, it also changes the amounts of thyroid hormones that your body produces and releases. These fluctuations are considered to be a normal part of pregnancy. However, there are extreme cases of hypothyroidism or hyperthyroidism in women who had no known predisposition to such issues.

Hypothyroidism During Pregnancy

Hypothyroidism is the medical term for an underactive thyroid or a thyroid that is producing insufficient amounts of thyroid hormones for a person to remain healthy. During pregnancy, this condition may be difficult to detect if the pregnant woman has never been treated for thyroid issues before.

This is because many of the symptoms of hypothyroidism can be confused with other conditions including symptoms of pregnancy itself. These include extreme tiredness and fatigue, weight gain, constipation, and mood swings (among many others). However, if you have weight gain that is abnormal for where you are in your pregnancy or your fatigues lasts beyond the early stages of pregnancy, this may be a good indicator that something more is going on.

Screening and Treatment During Pregnancy

Screening for hypothyroidism involves a simple blood draw that you can have done at any time during pregnancy. Some physicians recommend that all pregnant women get screened while others only screen women with a personal or family history of hypothyroidism.

Treatment during pregnancy is similar to any other point in life in that the patient takes a thyroid hormone pill to replace the hormone their body is not producing. Dosages are often higher in pregnant women, though, to make up for the extra demand pregnancy places on the body. An endocrinologist or an ear, nose, and throat specialist will be able to help you get the dosage just right during your pregnancy.

Now that you know about the thyroid and hypothyroidism during pregnancy, you can be sure that you are doing everything you can to stay healthy while you are pregnant.  

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