Hypothyroidism During Pregnancy

If you've got hypothyroidism, you're probably wondering how it will affect you and baby during pregnancy — and how you can safely treat it. Look no further.
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ByAshley Roman, MD
OB-GYN
Updated
Feb 2017
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What is hypothyroidism during pregnancy?

Hypothyroidism is when your thyroid gland isn’t producing enough hormones. It can cause some bodily functions to slow.

What are the signs of hypothyroidism?

Weight gainfatigue and swelling. Sounds like a normal pregnancy, right? That’s why hypothyroidism can be tough to diagnose during pregnancy.

Are there any tests for hypothyroidism?

Yes, your doc will likely run a  blood test to see how much of the thyroid hormones are running through your bod.

How common is hypothyroidism during pregnancy?

It’s actually not so common to see pregnant women with hypothyroidism, since women with the untreated condition tend to have high rates of infertility.

*How did I get hypothyroidism?
*
 
We don’t know! Causes of hypothyroidism aren’t clear. It’s been linked to autoimmune disease, treatment for hyperthyroidism, radiation therapy, thyroid surgery and certain medication.

How will my hypothyroidism affect my baby?

If left untreated, hypothyroidism can cause an increased risk of miscarriage, preterm birth, low birth weight babies and learning disabilities later in baby’s life. Here’s the good news: Generally, pregnancy won’t worsen your condition, and it’s not likely that you’ll pass it on to baby since the fetus has its own thyroid gland that kicks in after birth.

What’s the best way to treat hypothyroidism during pregnancy?

Hypothyroid medications (like levothyroxine) are actually completely safe during pregnancy and can reduce the risk of complications. Women with hypothyroidism may require a higher dosage of medication while pregnant to control the disease, so expect monthly check-ins with your health care provider to make sure that you, your thyroid and baby are all in check.

What can I do to prevent hypothyroidism?

Sorry, but there’s nothing you can do since the condition is so mysterious.

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What do other pregnant moms do when they have hypothyroidism?

“It’s important that I take my medication every day so that the hormones and symptoms don’t affect the baby. My doctor has even been checking my thyroid every month since I’ve been pregnant to ensure it stays normal.”

“My doctor just called and wants to put me on thyroid medication because of hypothyroidism. She made it seem like it was a pretty common occurrence. She wants to check my levels every six weeks, which puts my mind at ease. I was planning on taking my thyroid pill in the morning, before eating breakfast, and my prenatals at night.”

“I have a hypoactive thyroid. I take Synthroid for it. I started the pregnancy at 88 mcg and then was checked monthly for my T4 levels. I’ve gradually worked my way down to 25 mcg. It’s important to get your levels checked often because of the amount of hormones in your body while you’re pregnant.”

Are there any other resources for hypothyroidism during pregnancy?

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