Thyroid dysfunction during pregnancy: Risks and strategies for management by experts | Health - Hindustan Times

Thyroid dysfunction during pregnancy: Risks and strategies for management by experts

ByZarafshan Shiraz, New Delhi
May 22, 2024 03:09 PM IST

Did you know thyroid issue affects the foetus during pregnancy? Experts share insights for managing thyroid levels for healthy pregnancy outcomes

The thyroid is the most important gland in our body as it secrete hormones T3+T4 which regulate metabolism, growth, stress levels and response to injury. Thyroid levels impact maternal and fetal well-being hence, the changes that the thyroid undergoes during pregnancy to meet the growing foetus demands to be well understood.

Thyroid dysfunction during pregnancy: Risks and strategies for management by experts (File Photo)
Thyroid dysfunction during pregnancy: Risks and strategies for management by experts (File Photo)

In an interview with HT Lifestyle, Dr Juhee Jain, MBBS, MD, Director-Obstetrics and Gynecology at Madhukar Rainbow Children's Hospital in Delhi, revealed, “Any disruption in thyroid levels can have profound implications on mother and baby both. An underactive thyroid gland (hypothyroid) can lead to adverse outcomes in pregnancy like miscarriage, preterm birth, low birth weight of baby developmental delays and lower IQ of baby.”

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She added, “An overactive gland (Hyperthyroid) can lead to advanced outcomes like Preeclampsia in the mother—growth retardation, preterm birth, and fetal goiter in foetus. Regular monitoring of the thyroid levels of mothers is essential to ensure the best outcome for the mother & baby. Specially the Neurocognitive and intellectual function of the baby. Need to maintain TSH level <3 mU/L in pregnancy.”

Bringing her expertise to the same, Dr Dhivyambigai, Obstetrician and Gynecologist at Apollo Cradle and Children’s Hospital in Chennai, shared, “During pregnancy, the thyroid plays a crucial role in fetal development, affecting the baby's growth and overall health. When the thyroid gland functions abnormally, it can impact the fetus in various ways. Some women may experience thyroid dysfunction when their thyroid becomes either underactive or overactive.”

According to her, it can be classified into numerous forms, which include -

  • Hypothyroidism is a condition where the thyroid gland produces less amount of hormones, leading to stunted growth, low birth weight, and developmental delays in the baby.
  • Hyperthyroidism is a condition where the thyroid gland produces too much thyroid hormone, increasing the risk of preterm birth, low birth weight, and even heart complications in the fetus.

Highlighting that untreated thyroid disorders during pregnancy can result in complications like preeclampsia, miscarriage and stillbirth, Dr Dhivyambigai asserted, “Pregnant women with thyroid disorders require regular monitoring and appropriate treatment to keep thyroid hormone levels within the normal range. Thyroid hormones are essential for brain development, organ formation, and overall fetal growth. Therefore, managing thyroid health during pregnancy benefits the mother and ensures the unborn child's well-being and healthy development. Regular health screening with obstetricians and endocrinologists is essential. Ensuring optimal thyroid function through medication, dietary changes and regular monitoring can mitigate these risks and support healthy fetal development.”

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