During pregnancy, your baby solely relies on your body for brain development. And in most cases, you are needed to assist your baby properly, like ensuring you consume healthy meals. While in other cases, issues beyond your control and understanding could come up, and you will be needing the assistance of your doctor to ensure that both you and your baby are on the safe side.
During pregnancy, the human chorionic gonadotropin and estrogen raise thyroid hormone levels in your body system. With this, you and your baby are assured of getting an adequate supply. But in most cases, thyroid levels rise or fall, and when this happens, it could be harmful to you both.
What Is Thyroid?
The thyroid is a tiny, shaped gland sited around your neck. This thyroid produces hormones that play a huge role in terms of your health. For instance, it can affect your heart rate, and metabolism as well.
When the thyroid gland produces too much or little hormones, it means you have a thyroid disorder. Most women have thyroid disorder which began way before the pregnancy. While others may experience it during pregnancy or after childbirth.
With proper care and treatment, thyroid disorder may not cause many casualties during pregnancy. On the other hand, untreated thyroid disorder could put you and your baby in harm's way.
What Causes Thyroid Disorder During Pregnancy?
Grave's disease is known to be a common cause of hyperthyroidism during pregnancy. This is a disorder whereby the thyroid gland is attacked by the immune system, making it produce too much thyroid hormone than the body requires.
However, your thyroid disorder should be considered underactive, given that you have undergone treatment with radioactive iodine ablation. Medications such as levothyroxine do not cross the placenta, and it's considered safe during pregnancy. Your dosage may require adjustment during pregnancy if you are on thyroid hormone replacement. Your doctor will have your levels checked during your pregnancy, and after childbirth, the dosage may be reduced.
Diagnosing Thyroid Disorder
Your doctor may not examine you for thyroid disorder unless you have an initial thyroid problem, or either of you thinks there's an actual problem. If it gets to this, the doctor will have to run a test to have your thyroid hormone levels measured.
If you experience symptoms such as fatigue, constipation, hoarseness, weight gain, muscle cramps, slow heart rate, increased heart rate, heat intolerance, etc, you should reach out to your doctor. Kindly note that symptoms such as fatigue are similar to the side effects of pregnancy, making thyroid disorder a bit difficult to determine.
Treatment During Pregnancy
If you are going through mild hyperthyroidism during pregnancy, then you might not require treatment. More critical cases should be tackled with antithyroid medications, as they hinder the thyroid from producing way too much hormone for your body. Your doctor will have the lowest effective dose prescribed for you to protect the baby from hypothyroidism. However, most women may opt for surgery to get rid of part of the thyroid.
Radioactive iodine, which is used to treat hyperthyroidism in most cases, is not recommended during pregnancy as it can destroy the baby's thyroid gland. On the bright side, hyperthyroidism caused by Grave's disease sometimes improves later on, so the treatment could be suspended in some cases. However, it could get a bit worse after childbirth.
If you experience thyroid disorder during pregnancy, you can still see to the health and protection of your unborn child. Just ensure you are aware of the effects of thyroid disorder during pregnancy, keep up with testing, and take all medications as prescribed by your doctor.