Hypothyroidism and Pregnancy
For a pregnant woman with hypothyroidism, careful monitoring is essential since the condition can lead to several problems in both the mother and the fetus if inadequately controlled. Medicines used to treat an underactive thyroid are generally safe during pregnancy, although the dosage will likely need to be increased. How much it will be increased will be based on blood tests.
Things to Consider Before Becoming PregnantWomen being treated for hypothyroidism should discuss their condition with their healthcare provider before becoming pregnant. This will allow everyone to be on the same page as it relates to what should be done not only to help a woman get pregnant, but also to decrease the chance for complications during or after pregnancy.
Impact of Uncontrolled Hypothyroidism During PregnancyLike many other conditions, hypothyroidism should be monitored during pregnancy. Uncontrolled or inadequately controlled hypothyroidism during pregnancy increases the chance of:
- Preterm delivery
- Preeclampsia, which is a potentially serious complication that increases blood pressure
- Gestational hypertension
- Placental abruption
- Cesarean section.
Untreated hypothyroidism during pregnancy may also affect the baby's growth and brain development.
Treatment for Hypothyroidism During PregnancyTreatment for pregnant women with an underactive thyroid is similar for women who are not pregnant, and involves thyroid hormone replacement therapy. These medications can help prevent problems and are safe to take during pregnancy.
About three out of four women will need to have their medication dosage increased during pregnancy. This can occur when a woman is just five weeks pregnant. Healthcare providers will test TSH levels and make any necessary adjustments to the dose. The goal is to have normal TSH levels during pregnancy. Each time the dose is adjusted, the blood is tested again.
Never adjust your dose without talking to your healthcare provider. Taking too much thyroid medicine can cause problems as well.