Thyroid disorders in pregnancy

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Disorders surrounding the thyroid gland, especially to women during pregnancy is a common onset. Hypothyroidism is one such instance where thyroid glands produce thyroxine (T4) and triiodothyronine (T3) needed for the proper metabolic process of the body. Ordinarily, T3 is required in abundance to regulate homeostasis and maintain the supply of adequate minerals for the development of the child’s brain and muscle tissue.

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Recommended ranges during pregnancy vary from 0.1 to 2.5 mIU/L in the first trimester, 0.2 to 3.0 mIU/L in the second trimester, and 0.3 to 3.0 mIU/L in the third trimester, during pregnancy. Conversely, anything beyond or less than this might result in hyperthyroidism or hypothyroidism.


Hypothyroidism as reported accounts mostly during pregnancy. Signs and symptoms are easy to notice which includes extreme fatigue, having cold and flu symptoms and severe muscle cramps. Unusual tendencies occur when a person is on the verge of memory loss and concentration. It is called as Hashimoto’s disease and can have an adverse effect on the child. The child can be faced with issues like low birth weight, and severe cases can lead to miscarriage.

If the conditions worsen, a medical supervision is required to make the unavailability of T4 prudent in the body. T3 doesn’t enter the new born’s brain as T4 does, hence medicines required to make T4 is usually administered. Levothyroxine, a thyroid hormone medicine which acts as T4, is the most common medication that is administered


Hyperthyroidism is the state where thyroid glands secrete more than require thyroid hormone which results in adverse complications. Similar to hypothyroidism, the occurrence is a bit less although can be noticeable in persons having an unhealthy and difficult lifestyle. Hyperthyroidism is often known as Graves’ disease which is termed as an autoimmune disorder.

The immune system causes thyroid glands to make too much of thyroid hormone causing an antibody called thyroid stimulating immunoglobulin rise in the body.

Symptoms usually appear after levels of T4 have been increased in the body. Irregular heartbeat, shaky hands, and unexplained weight loss or gain are normal symptoms affecting the mother.

Usually, an alarming presence of Thyroid hormones results in administration of certain drugs that would be beneficial in treating the disease. Often, women are given antithyroid medicine propylthiouracil (PTU) during the first 3 months of pregnancy. Methimazole,  another medicine is easier to digest with fewer side effects but is likely to cause more birth defects than former. Although, Birth defects cases are extremely rare.

A proper lifestyle and avoiding goitrogens while in hypothyroidism will help in tackling thyroid issues in pregnancy. Additionally, cooking food well enough makes the body absorb T3 and T4 insufficient amount.


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