Thyroid Problem During Pregnancy

Thyroid Problem During Pregnancy

Thyroid Problem During Pregnancy Thyroid is the major endocrine gland in human body. It produces 2 hormones triiodothyronine(T3) and thyroxine(T4). Thyroid hormones regulate metabolism, brain development, breathing, heart and nervous system functions, body temperature, muscle strength, skin dryness, menstrual cycle, weight, and cholesterol levels in human body. So thyroid is the important gland that affects almost all the organs in human body.

Coming back to the two thyroid hormones, the production of T3 and T4 is regulated by TSH(thyroid stimulating hormone) which is produced by pituitary gland in brain. TSH regulates the release of T4 which in turn produce T3 as per there levels in the blood. So, high level of thyroid hormone production or less of its production signifies the thyroid problem.

A high level of thyroid hormone production is called Hyperthyroidism and causes many of the body’s functions speed up. And less of its production is called Hypothyroidism and cause many of the body’s functions slow down. Apart from these two another type of thyroid problem crops up in women during the first year after delivery. This is called as Postpartum Thyroiditis, which is inflammation of the thyroid and leak of stored thyroid hormone into blood raising its level.

Thyroid Needs During Pregnancy

During pregnancy, mother’s thyroid gland need to expand its functioning. Thyroid hormone is needed for the fetus brain and nervous system development. Till the fetus’s thyroid get developed and start its own functioning it depends on the Mother’s reserve of thyroid hormone which is carried via placenta. This is mainly during the first trimester, as by 12th week the fetus develops its thyroid gland and starts functioning. In healthy women without any iodine deficiency the thyroid enlarges 10% in size during pregnancy, where as with iodine deficiency it enlarges from 20% to 40%.


Hyperthyroidism is caused during pregnancy due to graves disease, an autoimmune disorder. With this problem the immune system produces



Thyroid stimulating immunoglobulin (TSI) which triggers thyroid hormone high production during first few months of pregnancy. Severe nausea and vomiting which are triggered by pregnancy hormones also lead to temporary hyperthyroidism which will be corrected during second half of pregnancy.

Effects On Mother And Baby

Congestive heart failure
Premature birth.
Low birth weight.
High blood pressure

This problem can be treated with anti thyroid medications but excessive usage of these medicines may trigger mild hypothyroidism in baby. So many precautions must be taken in the usage of these medicines.


This problem is caused due to inflammation of thyroid gland and interfering with its ability to produce thyroid hormones which is also called as hashimoto’s disease.

Effects On Mother And Baby

High blood pressure
Low birth weight
Still birth

Low Birth Weight

This situation is treated with thyroxine a synthetic hormone similar to thyroid hormone. This treatment helps enhancement of the thyroid hormone level which help fetus brain and nervous system development. This medication is safer than an untreated situation with hypothyroidism.

Postpartum Thyroiditis

This situation is often mistaken as postpartum blues and is unidentified. This postpartum thyroiditis causes a brief period of hyperthyroidism due to excessive leak of stored thyroid hormone due to inflammation, which is latter on followed by hypothyroidism that usually goes within one year after the delivery. If the symptoms like extreme fatigue, cold intolerance, muscle cramps, constipation and problems with memory and concentration persist for longer time after delivery, it signifies that hypothyroidism is becoming permanent and need urgent medical supervision.