- Pregnancy can cause hypothyroidism in women who have not previously had the condition.
- Left untreated, hypothyroidism can cause infertility in women and increase the risk of miscarriage.
- Thyroid levels in pregnant women have been shown to affect fetal brain development. Hypothyroidism has been shown to have a negative impact on a child's intellectual capacity.
- Because hypothyroidism can affect fetal brain development, The American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists and The Endocrine Society both recommend that all pregnant women have their thyroid levels checked.
- Another important reason to have thyroid levels checked is that many symptoms of hypothyroidism mimic pregnancy's symptoms, such as fatigue, weight gain and a change in menstruation. Other symptoms of hypothyroidism include constipation, confusion, muscle cramps and slow speech.
Treatment during Pregnancy
- Because synthetic thyroid hormones will not harm a growing fetus, women with hypothyroidism taking synthetic hormones may continue to do so during pregnancy. Often the dosage of hormone must be increased during pregnancy.
- A fetus depends completely on its mother for thyroid hormones until his or her own thyroid begins working. This usually occurs around the twelfth week of pregnancy.