Pregnancy is a time when a woman starts to harbor feelings of gentle nurturing and care about her baby even before she has brought the little bundle of joy into the world. However, many pregnant women are unaware of certain conditions that may have a negative impact on their baby’s health. These conditions may sometimes show very subtle or almost no signs and are almost always neglected. One such condition pregnant women suffer from is Hypothyroidism.
What is Hypothyroidism?
Also called underactive thyroid disease, Hypothyroidism is a common disorder in which the thyroid gland fails to produce sufficient thyroid hormones.
Thyroid hormones play a crucial role in the metabolism, growth and maturation of the body. They are also very important for proper development of fetal and neonatal brain. The demand on the thyroid gland to perform well specifically increases during pregnancy due to several physical changes.
Apart from this, in case a woman suffers from hypothyroidism, it can drastically affect fertility and make it difficult for her to get pregnant. Hypothyroidism can also create a lot of complications during an ongoing pregnancy and increase the chances of miscarriage. Therefore it’s essential for all aspiring mothers to stay on guard against this disease and take proper precautions.
Relationship between Hypothyroidism and Pregnancy
Hypothyroidism disrupts the balance of reproductive hormones and can also lead to various menstrual cycle abnormalities. These include irregular periods, or excessive bleeding. Along with several other factors, this can make it difficult for a woman to conceive.
It is also not very uncommon for women to develop hypothyroidism during pregnancy. The thyroid gland needs to produce 20-50% more hormone to meet up for the increased metabolic requirements of the mother and fetus. In case the thyroid gland is unable to produce enough hormones, appropriate medication becomes essential to ensure proper development of the baby.
If a pregnant woman has hypothyroidism, a thyroid hormone medication must be taken regularly to help regulate the thyroid hormone level within a normal rate and in control. The medication is given in a synthetic form and the doses may vary according to the need of the body. Pregnant women need to constantly monitor their thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH) levels.
Some studies find that women who have untreated borderline thyroid have babies with a lesser IQ or underdeveloped psychomotor skills.
How to have a safe pregnancy?
One of the main causes of thyroid disorders is lack of sufficient daily intake of iodine. All pregnant women should pay heed to their dietary needs. It’s essential to have a nutrient rich and well-balanced diet. Apart from the supplements advised by the gynecologist, women should include the following in their regular diet as well.
Sources – Dairy products, Iodized salt, Strawberries, Yogurt, Eggs, Seafood
- B Vitamins
Sources – Spinach, beans, poultry and dairy, whole grains
Sources – Cucumber, Spinach, Kidney beans, Shrimp
Sources – Brown rice, Broccoli, Spinach, Cabbage, Chicken, Egg
All expecting mothers are advised to get a thyroid screening done in order to avoid neglecting any thyroid activity that may harm the baby. A woman already suffering from hypothyroidism should immediately consult her doctor in case she gets pregnant.
Few precautions and proper medical care is all that is required to ensure a safe and healthy pregnancy. Don’t let hypothyroidism affect your plans of having a happy family. Stay aware and spread the word to help all aspiring moms.