Thyroid and its role in pregnancy
Importance of Thyroid in Pregnancy
Thyroid in pregnancy plays an important role in the lives of expecting mothers and their babies. Pregnancy is one of the most beautiful phases of woman’s life. The journey of nine months is a roller coaster for every expecting mother and it includes combination of various alterations of physiological as well as hormonal challenges.
Similar to other hormones and its actions, the role of thyroid in pregnancy is inevitable and is a necessary quotient in justifying the overall development of fetus. The brain development of the neonatal has an intense necessity of having adequate amount of thyroid.
Pregnancy phase is associated with majorly two main hormones, human chorionic gonadotrophin and oestrogen. These two hormones keep on increasing in blood during the pregnancy.
The higher level of oestrogen during pregnancy produces higher level of thyroid – binding globulin, which acts as a protein carrier that transports thyroid hormone in the blood.
The presence of hCG in blood offers a constant stimulation to thyroid gland and accelerates the production of thyroid. Either the thyroid is on lower side or the higher side, in both the cases it usually creates complications of thyroid in pregnancy.
The essence of thyroid is correlated with the normal development of baby’s brain and nervous system. In the initial weeks of growth of fetus in the womb, the presence of thyroid hormone from mother’s blood supplies the necessary supplements.
Thyroid hormone is essential in whole pregnancy for the proper well –being of mother as well as the child. Any disturbance in the level of thyroid hormone can be a reason for improper growth of the child’s brain as well as body’s development.
There are many cases that suggest the interrupted values of thyroid hormone can produce serious outcomes in a child as well as the expecting mother.
So, in short the importance of thyroid cannot be ignored and must be given a priority concern to make proper development of mental as well as physical growth of the child.
Similar to the lower level of thyroid hormone, the higher level of thyroid hormone can also bring unexpected results in child’s growth.
Thyroid Function in Pregnancy
Pregnancy brings a numerous changes in an expecting mother. The hormonal as well as physiological changes are a consequence of pregnancy. In a normal case, pregnancy induces the substantial changes in the thyroid function and the demand of the level of thyroid gets certainly high to meet the fetus requirements.
In the first trimester, the fetus depends upon the thyroid hormone of his mother. The level of thyroid hormone in the mother is vital as it is thinly source of supplying the thyroid hormone to the child in first three months of the pregnancy.
During these months, the entire growth of brain, nervous system and other vital parts of the child are interdependent upon the supply of thyroid hormone from the mother.
The primary function of thyroid in pregnancy is to ensure that the metabolic regulatory activities in the child as well as mother are being carried out normally and smoothly.
At around 12 weeks, the child’s thyroid gland starts secreting the thyroid hormone by its own. At this stage of growth, the needs of thyroid hormone are completed by fetus’s own thyroid supply.
The level of thyroid in pregnancy is met by the stimulation of thyroid by chorionic gonadotrophin. This hormone is secreted by the placenta and it acts as a catalyst to induce the requirement in the body.
Thyroid in pregnancy plays an important role as it acts a binder for nuclear receptors and modulating transcription for responsive genes. These thyroid receptors are well distributed in the brain area of the fetus and acts as an important part to target the development of brain.
Henceforth, it could be concluded that the presence of thyroid in pregnancy is very important and it plays the role of ensuring proper well being of the mental as well as physical growth of the child.
Function of Thyroid Stimulating Hormone in Pregnancy
Thyroid in pregnancy is essential for the proper growth of child as well as for the better health of the mother. However, with the onset of pregnancy, a constant stress is produced on the thyroid gland of the mother. This results in increase in the size of the thyroid gland.
The estimated enlargement of the gland is about 10% as compared to the normal growth of thyroid gland in non- pregnant women. It also marks the 50% increase in the production of thyroid hormones T3 and T4 level.
This creates a lower level of TSH hormone in an expecting mother as compared to non pregnancy level of women.
The level of TSH should be measured at prenatal visit too, to conclude the future considerations of thyroid hormone.
TSH level should always be kept under observation as they will help in getting the proper determination of the presence of the level of antibodies in the blood.
Hence, the function of TSH is to predetermine the risk of miscarriage if any and to allow the proper development of fetus inside the womb.
The accurate level of thyroid tests and TSH helps women to plan her pregnancy without any complications. Even in pregnancy also, it is recommended to measure trimester –specific reference ranges for eliminating the chances of high risk in pregnancy.
What Are Thyroid Issues or Problems in Pregnancy
The presence of precise thyroid in pregnancy is already discussed above. In case the level of thyroid gets disturbed and does not match with the required levels, there are certain dysfunctions that occur inside the body.
These clinical challenges with disturbed thyroid in pregnancy are often identified as the thyroid issues in pregnancy and should be given immediate attention.
Thyroid in pregnancy may leads to various dysfunctions that could be collaboratively known as hypothyroidism or hyperthyroidism, according to the pre- existing symptoms.
Hypothyroidism in pregnancy may mimic the onset of symptoms such as constipation, low concentration, poor memory, and increased sensitivity to cold temperature, muscle cramps and many more in an expecting mother.
In few of the cases, the initial symptoms such as extreme tiredness, weight gain are often misunderstood with the effects of pregnancy in the mother. It become little difficult to differentiate and identify the symptoms of hypothyroidism as they are mostly confused by pregnancy symptoms.
Hyperthyroidism in Pregnancy is also surrounded by the onset of few physical as well as hormonal alterations in the body. There identification is often misguided with the impact of pregnancy.
The symptoms of excessive thyroid in pregnancy may mimic with normal pregnancy symptoms such as irregular heartbeat, sensitivity to hot temperature, nervousness, nausea, slight tremors, troubled sleep, indifferent sleep patterns, weight loss or weight gain.
These symptoms are typically found in normal pregnancy and are confused with the presence of abnormal thyroid in pregnancy.
The causes of excessive of thyroid in pregnancy is classified as the presence of autoimmune disorder; Grave’s Disease. On the other hand, hypothyroidism is possibly caused by the presence of autoimmune disorder; Hashimoto’s thyroiditis.
Both the autoimmune disorders are responsible for introducing antibodies in the blood that further accelerated the phenomenon of disturbance in the normal functioning of thyroid gland.
Thyroid levels in Pregnancy
Pregnancy brings n- number of changes in the physical as well as hormonal levels of the body. These changes under the normal levels of physiological equilibrium, doesn’t produce any visible harm to the normal well being of the mother.
Thyroid in pregnancy should be evaluated on a regular basis to ensure the proper growth of the child and mother.
Thyroid Stimulating Hormone should be tested again and again to detect the any relevant disturbance of thyroid in pregnancy. In a Non – Pregnant adult, the normal thyroid level is 0.34 – 4.25 mlU/L.
However the level of thyroid in pregnancy, changes to a great extent. In every trimester, the level is different and needs to be checked at a pre- decided time frame.
In first trimester, the fetus does not have its own thyroid gland and is completely dependent upon the mother’s thyroid. The level of thyroid in first trimester of a normal pregnancy is 0.6 to 3.4 mlU/L.
In second trimester, the level of thyroid again gets changed. The normal range of thyroid hormone is 0.37 to 3.6 mlU/L. It occurs because, at this stage of pregnancy, the fetus thyroid gland starts producing little amount of thyroid hormone.
In the last and final trimester of pregnancy, the level of thyroid stimulating hormone is 0.38 to 4.04 4mlU/L. If the expecting mother’s thyroid remains under the above mentioned range, the level of thyroid in pregnancy remains under controlled.
However, any changes in the level of normal ranges of thyroid could bring the presence of various thyroid related diseases such as hypothyroidism or hyperthyroidism in mother. Elevated TSH level in blood during pregnancy, should be taken seriously and effective medical steps should be taken to correct the same.
How Thyroid levels effect in Pregnancy
The accurate level of thyroid in pregnancy is essential to be sure about the proper growth of the child and the mother. In case, there is any disturbance in the level of thyroid hormone in expecting mother, it might directly interfere with the mental as well as physical growth of the child.
Thyroid is a necessary hormone that takes care of the proper metabolic activities of the fetus as well as child. The excessive or less amount of thyroid can interfere with the development part of the child and can create delayed development in the baby.
In few of the cases, the lower level of thyroid hormone is a possible cause of abortion too. The inadequate growth of fetus inside the womb occurs due to inadequate supply of thyroid to the baby during his developmental growth.
The adequate level of thyroid in pregnancy is essential to meet the neuro as well as physiological demands of the fetus inside the womb. It is required to carry out the term of pregnancy without any impending threat or danger to the mother as well as child.
The level of thyroid has its own role from the initial conceiving of the baby to the proper delivery. In case of disturbed thyroid level, the expecting mother can experience palpitations too. The presence of disturbed thyroid can also induce premature delivery, pre-eclampsia and major other medical complications.
From the above information, we can summarize that thyroid level can create a serious impact on the health of mother and the child and should be given proper medical attention, throughout the pregnancy.
Thyroid symptoms in Pregnancy
Thyroid in pregnancy can be responsible to introduce major symptoms in mother as well as baby inside the womb. Here is the list of major symptoms induced by disturbed level of thyroid in pregnancy.
Symptoms induced by lower level of thyroid (hypothyroidism) in an expected mother:
- Restlessness: It is one of the most prominent features that are accompanied by the inadequate supply of thyroid in pregnancy.
- Emotionally hyper: Pregnancy itself is a roller coaster of emotions and it carries millions of mood swings to the expected mother. However, it has been seen that in mothers who have less amount of thyroid are subjected to emotionally more hyperactive as compared to others.
- Hot and sweaty: The regulatory mechanism gets disturbed in hypothyroidism and it might result in increase sweat production from the glands.
- Tremors: This happens in lower thyroid in pregnancy and is often associated with series of tremors that keeps on increasing.
- Trouble in concentration: Expecting mother with lower level of thyroid complaints about difficulty in proper concentration.
- Weight loss: Sudden and unexpected weight loss can also be documented in lower level of thyroid in pregnancy.
- Diarrhea: The disturbed digestive system results in occurrence of diarrhea in mothers.
- Irregular bowel movements: It is also one of the major symptoms of lower thyroid in pregnancy.
- Constipation: It occurs due to disturbed regulation of bowel system inside the body.
- Lethargy & Increased Fatigue: The inadequate level of thyroid compromises with the normal functions of the body and often introduces series of lethargy and fatigue in expecting other.
Symptoms induced by higher level of thyroid (hyperthyroidism) in an expected mother:
- Irregular heart beat: The cardiovascular system gets affected with increase level of thyroid in pregnancy and can be one of the reasons for the onset of irregular heart beat.
- Nervousness: This occurs as higher thyroid level triggers the neuron activities and results in nervousness.
- Severe Nausea: Vomiting accompanied by nausea is a major complaint among the expecting mother who is dealing with higher level of thyroid in pregnancy.
- Troubled sleeping patterns: The disturbed and altered sleep patterns occur due to disturbed thyroid level.
- Weight loss: Sudden weight loss can be easily justified with the regular episodes of high level of thyroid in pregnancy.
- Still birth: It occurs more common in cases where mother is already diagnosed with hyperthyroidism.
- Low birth- weight babies: The inadequate supply of thyroid can interfere with the normal birth weight of the new born child.
- Preterm labor: Hyperthyroidism may induce preterm labor in mothers and can be a reason for premature delivery.
- Pre- eclampsia: It is a rare case and is always seen associated with the high level of thyroid in pregnancy.
All the above discussed symptoms interfere with the normal pregnancy and could be characterized as symptoms of thyroid in pregnancy.
Thyroid normal range in Pregnancy
It is important to have adequate range of thyroid during the various trimesters of pregnancy. Pregnancy induced thyroid is one of the major risk that compromises with the normal well being of the child as well as expecting mother.
Frequent diagnostic tests to rule out the levels of thyroid before and during the pregnancy is essential to regulate proper metabolic activities in and outside the womb.
The levels of thyroid in pregnancy are certain and should be evaluated in expecting mothers with great accuracy.
The normal range of thyroid in expecting mothers are:
In a non pregnant mother, 0.34to 0.425 mlU/L is the normal range of thyroid hormone, that is essential to carry out the mandatory regulatory process in the body.
Once the pregnancy is started, the level of thyroid requirements also increases. In the very first trimester of pregnancy, the fetus does not have its own thyroid gland.
The dependency of thyroid requirement is fulfilled by the thyroid gland of the mother. It accounts for the increase in level of thyroid in mother. The normal range of thyroid in mother during her first trimester is around 0.6 to 3.4 mlU/L of thyroid.
In the second trimester, the range of thyroid in the expecting mother changes once again and it become 0.37 to 3.6 mlU/L. This reference value of thyroid helps in getting early detection of thyroid disease in the expecting mother.
The level and range of thyroid in third and final trimester reaches up to 0.38 to 4.04 mlU/L of thyroid. This occurs because during this stage, the thyroid gland of the baby gets developed. Few of the thyroid requirements could be easily met by the little tiny thyroid gland of the baby.
All the values of thyroid give a proper reference about the normal predicted thyroid values of the blood in a pregnant lady. These values works as proper identification criteria to know about the thyroid level in the pregnancy.
It also helps in offering early detection of any abnormal level of thyroid in pregnancy.
Thyroid test in Pregnancy
Pregnancy itself brings a list of tests and screening to ensure the normal well being of the child as well as the mother. For moms to be, thyroid test is one of the essential tests that should be carried out during the onset as well as during the course of the pregnancy.
The role of evaluating the thyroid is a matter of concern as it is directly associated with major health components of both; the mother and the child.
The inadequate level of thyroid in pregnancy may lead to introduce mild symptoms such as tremors, nervousness or could be a reason for major symptoms such as miscarriage, pre-term labor, and preeclampsia.
In such cases, it is mandatory and advisory to rule out any abnormality of thyroid levels in the initial stages itself. Some physicians also states that pregnancy is one of the opportune time where early detection of thyroid can be easily done through laboratory diagnostic tests.
The routine testing of thyroid in pregnancy is advisable as it helps in keeping mother as well as the child on the safer side of health.
Any abnormal level of thyroid can be dangerous and can be a high risk for both. Still birth, low birth weight, pre – eclampsia, premature delivery are some of the major risks that are associated with the health of mother and child.
Henceforth, the proper evaluation of thyroid in pregnancy should be done on a frequent basis.
Thyroid function test in Pregnancy
The thyroid level is little hyper-stimulated in pregnancy that can result in different level of thyroid in an expected mother. As discussed earlier, it is important to keep a regular check up of the level of thyroid in mother.
Thyroid function test in pregnancy are done to carry out the accurate assessment of the level of thyroid in pregnancy.
Trimester specific intervals are especially carried out to know and adjust the dose of thyroid during the various stages of pregnancy.
This is essential as it helps in judging the obstetric outcomes if any present with the thyroid levels and to offer on time medical attention to correct the same.
Gestational specific intervals tests are also conducted to know the value of thyroid in pregnancy.
With pregnancy, the circulating maternal steroid hormone and thyroid binding globulin concentrations are altered and keeping in account the variables of the values, thyroid functioning tests should be carried out.
However if a women is already on any drug that might interfere with the normal level of thyroid , the above interface should be always keep in mind while deciding the values of thyroid in a pregnant lady.
Henceforth, the thyroid function test in pregnancy is essential to detect any abnormality associated with the level of thyroid in pregnancy during the initial course of time.
High thyroid in Pregnancy
The abnormal level of thyroid in pregnancy can create serious complications in an expecting mother. The overactive thyroid in pregnancy may initiate symptoms related to hyperthyroidism in an individual.
In case, the level of thyroid in pregnancy shifts to higher range, anti-thyroid medications are prescribed to deal with the excessive production of thyroid hormone.
In cases where hyperthyroidism becomes uncontrolled during pregnancy, it can lead to various serious health complications in both the mother and the unborn child.
It can result in delayed or improper growth of the body as well as brain development of the child. Hence, it can impact the well being of the child.
Symptoms of high level of thyroid in pregnancy are often mimicked with the normal pregnancy symptoms. There is a sleek line that describes and identifies the symptoms of high thyroid and should be given proper medical attention, without wasting any time.
- Increased heart rate: The cardiovascular system of the body gets affected due to raised levels of thyroid for a prolonged time. The fluctuations in blood pressure, cholesterol level, initiate the increase heart rate in the expecting mother.
- Nausea: In few of the cases, nausea is often mimicked with the typical symptoms of pregnancy. However, the increased level of nausea is matter of concern and should be addressed to the doctor as soon as possible.
- Slight tremors: The shivering of extremities does occur because of the presence of raised thyroid level and can result in the onset of slight tremors.
- Troubled sleep: The change in sleep patterns with a difficulty to cope up with normal sleep is a sustainable impact of hyperthyroidism in an expecting mother.
- Weakness: The over -all generalized weakness in pregnancy is often accompanied with hyperthyroidism and should be treated at the earliest to overcome any undue presence of weakness in the mother and the child.
All the symptoms in cluster explain how high levels of thyroid in pregnancy can create major health issues in mother and the child.
Low thyroid levels in Pregnancy
Similar to high level of thyroid, the lower levels of thyroid in pregnancy also induce major health related issues in the mother and the child.
The underactive thyroid become incapable of inducing the proper amount of hormone in the body and it may interfere with the normal development of the child inside the womb.
In the initial 12 weeks of pregnancy, child is completely dependent upon the thyroid supply from the mother’s thyroid gland.
In case if the mother’s thyroid gland itself is secreting lower amount of thyroid in the body, it becomes difficult to meet the hormonal requirement of the mother and the child.
The inadequate supply of thyroid might be a possible risk of inducing high probability of health risk for the child and the mother.
Still birth, miscarriage, low weight birth, pre-eclampsia are few of the sudden irreversible impacts of hypothyroidism in pregnancy.
It is advised to keep a regular monitoring of thyroid level in expecting mother and should be given adequate amount of artificial or synthetic thyroid to meet the hormonal requirements of the body.
Complications in Pregnancy in Thyroid patients
With the abnormal values of thyroid in pregnancy, there are many health complications that are accompanied with the disturbed levels of thyroid. These complications are sudden and should be addressed to the dealing health practitioner.
If a child is born earlier than the normal gestational period, it is termed as premature birth. In thyroid dysfunction, it is one of the most common complications associated with pregnancy.
This medical condition occurs in pregnant mother suffering from thyroid. It includes series of high blood pressure followed by significant amount of protein secreted in urine.
The medical condition where pregnancy ends by its own within 20 weeks of gestation is termed as miscarriage. In cases with positive history of thyroid in pregnancy, the documented ratio is certainly high.
One of the major complications of thyroid disease in pregnancy is to have irregular bleeding and excessive blood loss in mother, soon after the delivery.
The lower level of hemoglobin can be seen in mothers, already suffering from thyroid. This medical condition is termed as anemia and is one of the complications associated with thyroid in pregnancy.
This condition occurs when the placenta gets detached from the inner wall of womb before the delivery. In such cases, the child may get deprived of required nutrients and oxygen.
All the above defined complications are associated with thyroid in pregnancy and may turn out to be fatal for both the child and the mother.
How to control Thyroid in Pregnancy- Treatment of Thyroid in Pregnancy
If you are already suffering from thyroid disorder, you should definitely go for a medical advice before opting for pregnancy. However in conditions, where you are at a high risk of getting exposure to the thyroid insufficiency, one can easily go for conservative treatment through natural ingredients.
In allopathy treatment, Levothyroxine is advised and recommended to keep your thyroid level in range.
There are certain home remedies that also help in preventing the thyroid in pregnancy.
- Vitamin B Complex: It compromises of certain vitamins in adequate amount and are essential to maintain the normal functioning of thyroid gland. One can have whole grains, fresh green vegetables, eggs that are one of the abundant sources of vitamin B.
- Cod Liver oil: It helps in fighting with the inflammation and increase the immunity of the body. It also serves in maintaining the proper functioning of the thyroid gland.
- Whole Wheat: Food such as oats, barley, and whole wheat bread is essential for the effective thyroid functioning.
- Herbal Tea: It is one of the most effective natural medium to fight against hypothyroidism in pregnancy. It serves as a catalyst that helps in offering the natural functioning of the thyroid gland.
- Coconut oil: Two spoons of coconut oil mixed with milk during night time can help in preventing the occurrence of hypothyroidism in pregnancy.
Pregnancy is one of the most beautiful phases of life. With few precautions and alterations in your eating habit, you can enjoy the bliss of motherhood more healthily and happily while keeping the thyroid in pregnancy in mind at the same time.
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We wish you a happy and healthy pregnancy !