WHAT IS THE THYROID GLAND?
The thyroid gland is a butterfly-shaped endocrine gland that is normally located in the lower front of the neck. The thyroid’s job is to make thyroid hormones, which are secreted into the blood and then carried to every tissue in the body. Thyroid hormones help the body use energy, stay warm and keep the brain, heart, muscles, and other organs working as they should.
WHAT ARE THYROID DISEASES DURING PREGNANCY?
Thyroid disease is a condition that affects the function of the thyroid gland. Thyroid disease results in production of too much or too little of the thyroid hormone.
- Hyperthyroidism is the disorder that occurs if the thyroid gland produces too much thyroid hormone and may cause the body’s functions to speed up
- Hypothyroidism is the disorder that occurs if the thyroid gland produces too little thyroid hormone and may cause the body functions to slow down
- Postpartum thyroiditis is inflammation of thyroid gland that occurs after childbirth. It occurs within the first year after delivery, usually from one to eight months postpartum. Thyroiditis can cause both hyperthyroidism and hypothyroidism
Some women have a thyroid disorder that may begin before or during pregnancy or soon after delivery. Thyroid disorders during pregnancy may affect both mother and baby. But with proper treatment, most women with thyroid disorders can have a healthy baby.
WHAT ARE THE NORMAL CHANGES IN THYROID FUNCTION ASSOCIATED WITH PREGNANCY?
Human chorionic gonadotropin (Hcg) and Estrogen are the hormones produced during pregnancy that causes increase in measured thyroid hormone levels in your blood. Estrogen increases the amount of thyroid-binding globulin, a protein that is responsible for carrying thyroid hormone. Sometimes the interpretation of tests for thyroid disease is difficult because of the normal changes in the thyroid activity that occurs during pregnancy.
WHAT IS THE INTERACTION BETWEEN THE THYROID FUNCTION OF THE MOTHER AND THE BABY?
Thyroid hormone is very essential for the normal development of the foetal brain and nervous system. During the first trimester of pregnancy, the foetus is completely dependent on the mother for supply of thyroid hormone. At 10 to 12 weeks, the baby’s thyroid gland begins to produce thyroid hormone on its own. The baby, however, remains dependent on the mother for supply of iodine, which is essential to make the thyroid hormones. During pregnancy women need about 250 micrograms (µg) of iodine per day which can be ensured by use of iodized salt, salt supplemented with iodine.
During pregnancy, the thyroid can slightly increase in size but is not apparent on physical examination by the physician. However a significantly enlarged gland can be a sign of thyroid disease and should be assessed. The symptoms such as fatigue, higher level of thyroid hormone in the blood, and enlarged thyroid size are common to both pregnancy and thyroid disease can make the diagnosis difficult.
Do consult your obstetrician and gynecologist and get your thyroid function evaluated during and after pregnancy.
Amber Clinics team of obstetrician and gynecologist are ready to assist you during your pregnancy.