As mothers, we always try our best to prepare for a healthy and safe pregnancy. But some things are just beyond our control. Like how our body undergoes tremendous changes to accommodate a growing and developing child within us. One of these changes includes an often overlooked butterfly-shaped organ at the base of our neck, the thyroid gland.1
When you are pregnant, your body needs enough thyroid hormones to support not only your own increased metabolic needs, but also your unborn baby. If your thyroid gland is healthy, you will be able to naturally meet the increased demand for thyroid hormones by your baby.2
Unfortunately, some women’s thyroid gland may be unable to cope with the increased demand resulting in maternal hypothyroidism – a thyroid disorder where insufficient thyroid hormones are produced.2 This can cause serious consequences to both the mother and child.3
As a result, the inadequate supply of thyroid hormones may cause various bodily functions to be affected leading to symptoms such as fatigue, inappropriate weight gain, constipation and increased sensitivity to cold among others.1
However, pregnant mothers are often all too familiar with these symptoms and may brush them off as just part of pregnancy.2 Some women may even have mild (subclinical) hypothyroidism where symptoms are either mild or absent thus causing the disorder to remain undiagnosed and therefore untreated.1
If this condition persists, it may lead to pregnancy-induced hypertension, stillbirth, preterm delivery and placental abruption.4 These complications could threaten your life and your baby’s future.
So, if you are pregnant or are planning to get pregnant, consider getting checked for hypothyroidism because good thyroid health is so important for both you and your baby.
- Sahay RK, Nagesh VS. Hypothyroidism in pregnancy. Indian J Endocrinol Metab. 2012 May-Jun; 16(3): 364–370.
- AACE Thyroid Awareness. The Thyroid and Pregnancy [Internet]. n.d. [cited2016 Apr 28]. Available from: http://www.thyroidawareness.com/the-thyroid-and-pregnancy#top
- National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases. Pregnancy and Thyroid Disease [Internet]. 2013 [cited 2016 Apr 28]. Available from: http://www.niddk.nih.gov/health-information/health-topics/endocrine/pregnancy-and-thyroid-disease/Pages/fact-sheet.aspx#sup2
- Thyroid Screening in Pregnant Women. Putrajaya: Medical Development Division, Ministry of Health Malaysia. 2008 December.