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Dr. Andrew Rynne
Dr. Andrew Rynne

Family Physician

Exp 50 years

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Article Home Women's Health Hypothyroidism in pregnancy

Hypothyroidism in pregnancy

During pregnancy, there is an increased demand of the thyroid hormone and iodine in the body. This increased need may not be met and may cause serious health problems for the mother and the child. Pregnancy also makes your body, including the thyroid gland; work harder for both you and for your growing baby.


Hypothyroidism is a condition wherein the thyroid gland produces an inadequate amount of thyroid hormone, is a common disorder particularly in women of childbearing age.

The health of women who get pregnant while having hypothyroidism may become worse during these times. A past history of hypothyroidism or other thyroid problems may increase the chance of recurrence during pregnancy. Hypothyroidism of the mother during pregnancy may result in developmental delay in the child. Having this condition while you are pregnant may put you at risk for any of the following:

  • Babies with birth defects or low birth weight
  • Abortion (miscarriage).
  • Preterm labor. In this the baby is born earlier than the due date.
  • Stillbirths or babies dying inside the womb before delivery.
  • Heart failure.

  • Pre-eclampsia. This is hypertension (increased blood pressure), low platelet count, protein in the urine during pregnancy leading to high risk of death of the fetus.

Signs and symptoms of hypothyroidism in pregnancy

  • Weakness and fatigue (feeling more tired than usual).
  • Dry, thin, flaky skin
  • Thin, brittle fingernails and hair
  • Feeling depressed, irritable, and anxious
  • Feeling too cold when the temperature is just right or normal
  • Muscle pain, muscle ache, muscle weakness
  • Enlarged thyroid gland or goiter
  • Hoarseness or a change in voice
  • Excess of sleep and problems in thinking, forgetful and easily confused.
  • Difficulty in swallowing
  • Puffiness around the eyes.
  • Sudden weight gain.
  • Very slow heartbeat

  • Trouble in breathing.

Treatment of hypothyroidism in pregnancy

Treatment for hypothyroidism will depend on the age, health, pregnancy, and the level of the thyroid hormones. Treatment of hypothyroidism requires thyroid hormone medication. The treatment goal of hypothyroidism in pregnancy is to maintain a thyroid hormone level within high normal range. Thyroid medicines are given to replace and raise the thyroid hormone levels back to normal. Medications may be given to decrease the symptoms of hypothyroidism. Pregnant women who are on thyroid hormone needs blood testing frequently during pregnancy as requirements may change. There may be indications to start thyroid hormone therapy in women who are borderline in thyroid function and who are either pregnant or desiring pregnancy.

Also it is advised to increase the amount of iodine in the diet during pregnancy. Iodine is found in milk, fish and other seafood.