Tags: Thyroid Disorders | pregnancy | hyperthyroidism | graves disease

Pregnancy and Hyperthyroidism: What You Should Know

By    |   Thursday, 03 March 2016 04:30 PM

Changes in thyroid function can affect your pregnancy, and there are some things you should know about hyperthyroidism if you are planning to become pregnant.

Located at the base of the throat, the thyroid is a butterfly-shaped gland that produces hormones to regulate metabolism. It sounds simple, but this small gland impacts nearly every function in the body.

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Hyperthyroidism occurs when the thyroid gland produces too much thyroid hormone. According to Hormone Health Network, hyperthyroidism is not common during pregnancy, but it can be challenging to detect an overactive thyroid during pregnancy because its symptoms such as feeling hot or having anxiety and fatigue are similar to those that occur naturally in the early stages of pregnancy.

The most common cause of hyperthyroidism during pregnancy is the autoimmune disorder called Graves' disease, says the American Thyroid Association. For women who have Graves’ Disease prior to becoming pregnant, the condition may become worse during the first trimester of pregnancy, or women can develop the disease during this time.

There are risks to both mother and baby if hyperthyroidism goes untreated during pregnancy. Pregnant women with hyperthyroidism have an increased risk of developing pre-eclampsia, a condition marked by a sudden and sharp increase in blood pressure, says the American Academy of Clinical Endocrinologists. They also can develop congestive heart failure, anemia, and a serious, sometimes life-threatening condition called thyroid storm.

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According to the AACE, untreated hyperthyroidism can result in a higher risk of miscarriage, still birth, and low birth weight. Fetuses can develop an abnormally rapid pulse, a condition called tachycardia. Women with Graves’ disease produce an antibody that stimulates the overactive thyroid. These antibodies can be passed on to the fetus resulting in neonatal hyperthyroidism.

Hormone Health Network says that treatment of Graves’ disease during pregnancy is achieved through medications that prevent the thyroid from overproducing thyroid hormone. If the hyperthyroidism is not due to Graves’ disease and is a temporary condition called gestational hyperthyroidism, careful monitoring without treatment is usually sufficient.

Since it is the most common cause of hyperthyroidism, women with Graves’ disease should seek the advice of their doctor and get the condition under control prior to pregnancy.

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Changes in thyroid function can affect your pregnancy, and there are some things you should know about hyperthyroidism if you are planning to become pregnant.
pregnancy, hyperthyroidism, graves disease
Thursday, 03 March 2016 04:30 PM
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