The thyroid gland is located at middle part of the front of the neck. Hypothyroidism is underactive thyroid gland in which, the thyroid gland does not produce enough thyroid hormones. These hormones play an important role in body metabolism.
Pregnant lady can be labeled as ‘hypothyroid’ patient in many ways. This includes; having Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis, thyroid nodules or goiter, elevated TSH (Thyroid stimulating hormone) etc. If she has had radioactive iodine (RAI) or any kind of surgery of the thyroid and now receiving any kind of thyroid hormone replacement then also she is labeled as person with hypothyroidism.
Statistically, woman has 25% higher risk to develop the hypothyroidism after pregnancy if she has diabetes or any other autoimmune diseases. During pregnancy, hypothyroidism can affect pregnancy in many ways like; it can cause infertility in woman as it prevents the egg production, pregnant lady is at higher risk for miscarriage if she has hypothyroidism. If the hypothyroidism is left untreated during the entire period of pregnancy, the lady is likely to develop high blood pressure and premature delivery.
One has to be very careful if she develops certain hypothyroidism symptoms like; dullness, droopy eyelids, abnormal weight gain, constipation, muscle cramps, thickening of skin, swelling around neck etc. However, during pregnancy, a lady is thoroughly checked by a doctor regularly, so any change in the blood report, they hypothyroidism is usually detected.
On the other hand, baby produced by mother who was untreated or partially treated hypothyroidism may not reach its full intellectual potential. The study was published in 1999, New England Journal of Medicine stating, “Women with untreated thyroid deficiency during pregnancy are four times more likely to have children with lower IQ scores”.
It is not that that hypothyroidism will take of your joy during pregnancy. It is to be well treated and total control over the disease will keep you as happy as normal. Once hypothyroidism is diagnosed, the thyroid hormone replacement therapy is started by doctor. The dosage is an important factor during pregnancy and is decided by your specialist. The treatment is safe and also essential to mother and fetus. One should not stop the medications by any means as this may result into dangerous irreversible situations. For the baby, it is quite rare case that you may give your hypothyroidism to your baby as hereditary. Congenital hypothyroidism appears one per 4 to 5 thousand infants. But be sure to have your thyroid treatment started as early as possible (like in first trimester) because untreated thyroid will not only affect the mother but will also make child’s physical and mental impairment.
After pregnancy also, your doctor may advise you to continue the pills for thyroid. As far as breastfeeding is concerned, trace amount of thyroid hormone medication are excreted in breast milk. But you have to see the doctor and continue nursing to baby. In fact, you must be having proper thyroid functioning and normal level of thyroid hormone to ensure enough breast milk to baby.
When a lady becomes pregnant, she is to be fed with high nutritional foods including iodine salt. She must follow the diet chart given by the specialist. All the elements like iron, vitamins, proteins, carbohydrates and fats should be supplied in well manner and with proper quantity. This will help her not only to prevent disease like hypothyroidism but also to produce a healthy child.