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Can A Woman With Thyroid Problems Get Pregnant

What Is The Thyroid

Can You Get Pregnant with Thyroid Problems?

The thyroid is a tiny, butterfly-shaped gland in your neck. A gland is an organ that makes substances that help your body work. The thyroid makes hormones that play a big role in your health. For example, thyroid hormones can affect your heart rate and your metabolism .

Sometimes the thyroid gland makes too much or too little of certain hormones. When this happens, you have a thyroid disorder. Some women have a thyroid disorder that begins before pregnancy . Others may develop thyroid problems for the first time during pregnancy or soon after giving birth.

With treatment, a thyroid condition may not cause any problems during pregnancy. But untreated thyroid conditions can cause problems for you and your baby during pregnancy and after birth.

Effects Of Hyperthyroidism On Fertility

Getting pregnant with hyperthyroidism might be challenging for some women because thyroid hormones are necessary for the proper functioning of the ovaries and the maturation of the egg. Their imbalance might cause:

  • Menstrual cycle abnormalities, such as infrequent, long, or heavy periods, might make it more difficult to get pregnant.

  • Ovulation disturbance might occur even if a woman has regular periods and might lead to infertility.

How Hyperthyroidism Affects Ovulation

The more common of the two main thyroid disorders is hyperthyroidism, the over-production of thyroid hormones. This can happen over either a short or long period of time, and it can affect many different functions of the body because of the thyroid’s influence over metabolism .

When the thyroid produces too much hormone, it can send the body into a state of over-activity, including high blood pressure, an increased appetite, and intolerance to heat and frequent sweating, as well as other side effects. When it comes to a woman’s ovulation cycle, hyperthyroidism can cause irregular or even a complete lack of menstrual cycles .

Most instances of hyperthyroidism are cause by Graves’ disease, an autoimmune disorder that directly affects the thyroid. It is often treated by correcting the body’s output of thyroid hormones .

It is not impossible for a woman to get pregnant if she shows signs of hyperthyroidism. But, if she does have hyperthyroidism, it has to be treated and monitored by a doctor to protect both her and the baby during pregnancy.

Left unchecked, hyperthyroidism can lead to complications like preeclampsia, a spike in blood pressure late into the pregnancy, as well as premature birth, a low birth weight or even miscarriage . But these are only symptoms of severe hyperthyroidism. For women who have a mild case of the condition, treatment is not generally needed during pregnancy .

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Are You At Risk For Having A Thyroid Condition During Pregnancy

Youre at higher risk for a thyroid condition during pregnancy than other women if you:

  • Are currently being treated for a thyroid condition or you have thyroid nodules or a goiter. A goiter is a swollen thyroid gland that can make your neck look swollen.
  • Have had a thyroid condition in the past , or youve had a baby who had a thyroid condition
  • Have an autoimmune disorder or you have a family history of autoimmune thyroid disease, like Graves disease or Hashimotos disease. Family history means that the condition runs in your family . Use the and share it with your provider. The form helps you keep a record of any health conditions and treatments that you, your partner and everyone in both of your families has had. It can help your provider check for health conditions that may affect your pregnancy. If you have a family history of thyroid or autoimmune conditions, ask your provider about testing.
  • Have type 1 diabetes. Diabetes is a condition in which your body has too much sugar in the blood. Type 1 diabetes is a kind of preexisting diabetes, which means you have it before you get pregnant. If you have type 1 diabetes, your pancreas stops making insulin. Insulin is a hormone that helps keep the right amount of glucose in your body.
  • Have had high-dose neck radiation or treatment for hyperthyroidism. Radiation is a kind of energy. It travels as rays or particles in the air.

Management Of Hyperthyroidism During Pregnancy

Thyroid Disease and Getting Pregnant

Treatment for hyperthyroidism is very specific for each patient. The goal of treatment is to maintain normal levels of thyroid hormone. Treatment may include:

  • Frequent monitoring of thyroid levels throughout pregnancy
  • Use of anti-thyroid drugs that help lower the level of thyroid hormones in the blood
  • Surgery to remove part of the thyroid

The most commonly prescribed anti-thyroid medication, called Methimazole or Tapazole , may be associated with birth defects. Current recommendations are to stop MMI during the first trimester and to use Propylthiouracil with a switch back to MMI at the start of the second trimester and for the remainder of the pregnancy. Use of radioactive iodine, in the form of a pill or liquid, damages thyroid cells and is not safe during pregnancy or during lactation . For women who are given radioiodine ablation therapy to treat Graves disease, it is recommended that they wait at least one year after radioiodine treatment to become pregnant. Your healthcare provider will discuss the risks and benefits of treatment with you.

Women with hyperthyroidism can increase their chances for a healthy pregnancy by getting early prenatal care and working with their healthcare providers in the management of their disease.

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What Should I Eat During Pregnancy To Help Keep My Thyroid And My Babys Thyroid Working Well

Because the thyroid uses iodine to make thyroid hormone, iodine is an important mineral for you while youre pregnant. During pregnancy, your baby gets iodine from your diet. Youll need more iodine when youre pregnantabout 250 micrograms a day.1 Good sources of iodine are dairy foods, seafood, eggs, meat, poultry, and iodized saltsalt with added iodine. Experts recommend taking a prenatal vitamin with 150 micrograms of iodine to make sure youre getting enough, especially if you dont use iodized salt.1 You also need more iodine while youre breastfeeding since your baby gets iodine from breast milk. However, too much iodine from supplements such as seaweed can cause thyroid problems. Talk with your doctor about an eating plan thats right for you and what supplements you should take. Learn more about a healthy diet and nutrition during pregnancy.

Unusual Signs Or Symptoms After Delivery May Indicate Thyroid Complications

Some thyroid complications can occur postpartum. People with a history of thyroid problems are at an increased risk of postpartum thyroiditis, a condition that occurs in about 5%-10% of people with ovaries when the thyroid becomes inflamed after having a baby. It may first cause the thyroid to be overactive, but it can eventually lead to an underactive thyroid.

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Estrogen Tends To Get All The Attention But Balanced Thyroid Hormones Are Equally Important For Conception

With Elena Christofides MD and David Unuane MD PhD

Thyroid hormone imbalances can affect both female and male fertility, making it difficult for the sperm to enter the egg for implantation.

Your thyroid gland is the butterfly-shaped organ in the front of your neck that produces hormones that regulate your bodys metabolism and affect vital functions. Fertility refers to a couples ability to conceive and bring a baby to term. The relationship between your thyroid health and fertility is an important and sometimes complex part of conception.

What Are Signs And Symptoms Of Hyperthyroidism

Getting PREGNANT with a THYROID gland disorder

Hyperthyroidism thats untreated or not treated correctly is linked to problems for women and babies during pregnancy and after birth.

Problems for women can include:

  • Preeclampsia. This is a serious blood pressure condition that can happen after the 20th week of pregnancy or after giving birth . Its when a woman has high blood pressure and signs that some of her organs, like her kidneys and liver, may not be working normally. Blood pressure is the force of blood that pushes against the walls of your arteries. Arteries are blood vessels that carry blood away from your heart to other parts of the body. High blood pressure is when the force of blood against the walls of the blood vessels is too high. It can stress your heart and cause problems during pregnancy.
  • Pulmonary hypertension. This is a kind of high blood pressure that happens in the arteries in your lungs and on the right side of your heart.
  • Placental abruption. This is a serious condition in which the placenta separates from the wall of the uterus before birth. The placenta grows in your uterus and supplies the baby with food and oxygen through the umbilical cord.
  • Heart failure. This is when your heart cant pump enough blood to the rest of your body.
  • Thyroid storm. This is when your symptoms suddenly get much worse. Its a rare, but life-threatening condition during pregnancy. Pregnant women who have thyroid storm are at high risk of heart failure.

Problems for babies can include:

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What Can Cause Hypothyroidism To Appear During Pregnancy

During pregnancy, your body uses more thyroid hormone to keep up with the needs of your growing baby. So pregnancy itself actually makes hypothyroidism more likely, and previous miscarriages or preterm deliveries may be a sign of hypothyroidism. Women who take a thyroid medication may need a new dose that is 25% to 50% higher once they become pregnant. If not, their thyroid hormone levels may drop. If you become pregnant, your provider will check your hormone levels throughout your pregnancy and make adjustments, if needed.

  • Dry skin and hair

  • Constipation

The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists guidelines say providers should not routinely test for hypothyroidism in pregnant women. They only recommend testing for women who have related risk factors or symptoms. So always tell your provider how youre feeling and give them a full rundown of your medical history, including medications you take, how your previous pregnancies turned out, and if you have any family members with hypothyroidism. They will follow up and order blood tests, if necessary.

What Is Subclinical Hypothyroidism

This is a mild form of hypothyroidism that shows no apparent symptoms. It is found among two to three per cent of pregnancies. This can be detected in a TSH test. Even though it is mild, when subclinical hypothyroidism is discovered during pregnancy, treatment is recommended to ensure a healthy pregnancy.

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Trouble Getting Pregnant It Might Be Your Thyroid

Its a little gland in your neck shaped like a butterfly, but the thyroid is powerful. It regulates everything from body temperature to metabolism, but most of us never think about our thyroid until something goes wrong. In some cases, it can be an underactive gland that manifests as hypothyroidism and symptoms like hair loss or weight gain for others, its an overactive gland leading to hyperthyroidism and a rapid heartbeat or insomnia. And for a growing number of people, papillary thyroid cancer is the issue.

But some women have no idea their thyroid isnt working properly until theyre having trouble trying to conceive. Fortunately, with the right kind of diagnosis and thyroid treatment, its still possible for them to become mothers.

Hyperthyroidism And Getting Pregnant

Thyroid Disease and Getting Pregnant

    Many women planning to expand their family worry that their overactive thyroid might negatively affect their fertility and lower their odds of getting pregnant. Although hyperthyroidism in pregnancy requires thorough treatment and close monitoring to prevent serious complications, the good news is that most women with thyroid disease go on to have safe pregnancies.

    Keep on reading to find out what to include in your pre-pregnancy action plan that can help you get pregnant and bring your baby to term without difficulties.

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    What Causes Hypothyroidism

    The most common cause of hypothyroidism is an autoimmune disorder called Hashimotos thyroiditis. The bodys immune system mistakenly sends out antibodies to destroy the cells in the thyroid gland. This may cause the thyroid gland to enlarge, known as goiter.

    Hypothyroidism and goiter can also result from not getting enough iodine in your diet. Hypothyroidism also can occur after thyroid surgery or radioactive iodine therapy given to treat hyperthyroidism. In many cases, the specific cause of hypothyroidism is not known.

    What Is A Goiter

    A goiter is an unusually enlarged thyroid gland. It may happen only for a short time and may go away on its own without treatment. Or it could be a symptom of another thyroid disease that requires treatment. goiter is more common in women than in men and especially in women before menopause.

    Some common causes of goiter include:

      Usually, the only symptom of a goiter is a swelling in your neck. It may be large enough that you can see it or feel the lump with your hand. A very large goiter can also cause a tight feeling in your throat, coughing, or problems swallowing or breathing.

      Your doctor will do to see if it is caused by another thyroid disease.

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      Thyroid Disease + Pregnancy

      Pregnancy can be such a wonderful and joyful time, even though it has its struggles.

      But theres another side of pregnancy that can be heartbreaking and devastatingand that is infertility and loss. I recently shared a post about thyroid disease and the autoimmune condition often responsible for causing hypothyroidism, called Hashimotos thyroiditis. Not only can it cause debilitating fatigue, anxiety, hair loss, inability to lose weight, and so much more it can also cause infertility and problematic pregnancies.

      This is something that the conventional medical community acknowledges, but there dont seem to be many good resources for pregnant women with thyroid disease. During pregnancy and postpartum, our hormones go through the ringer. This isnt a bad thing by any means, but because of the overwhelming amounts of hormonal changes, it can trigger an adverse thyroid reaction.

      An undiagnosed or not properly managed thyroid problem can also lead to various complications with pregnancy and birth. In fact, untreated thyroid disease increases the chances of premature birth, preeclampsia, miscarriage, low birth weight, anemia, and even stillbirth.

      What Are The Signs And Symptoms Of Hyperthyroidism

      Can Thyroid Problems Affect Your Pregnancy? Dr. Subramanian Kannan

      At first, you might not notice the signs or symptoms of hyperthyroidism. Symptoms usually begin slowly. But, over time, a faster metabolism can cause symptoms such as:

      • Weight loss, even if you eat the same or more food
      • Eating more than usual
      • Diarrhea or more bowel movements than normal
      • Fewer and lighter menstrual periods than normal
      • Changes in your eyes that can include bulging of the eyes, redness, or irritation

      Hyperthyroidism raises your risk for , a condition that causes weak bones that break easily. In fact, hyperthyroidism might affect your bones before you have any of the other symptoms of the condition. This is especially true of women who have gone through menopause or who are already at high risk of osteoporosis.

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      How Is Hypothyroidism During Pregnancy Treated

      The treatment for hypothyroidism is often referred to as thyroid hormone replacement therapy. It uses the medication levothyroxine to bring your thyroid hormone levels back up to normal. According to the Food and Drug Association , levothyroxine is safe to take in pregnancy. What is unsafe is having hypothyroidism.

      Levothyroxine is available in different forms and brands, including:

        As we mentioned, women who take thyroid medications will usually need a higher dose during pregnancy, but hyperthyroidism is also dangerous to an unborn baby. Just remember, never change the dose of your thyroid medication without your provider first.

        If you have a history of thyroid issues, the sooner you see your doctor the better ideally, even before trying to conceive. This way, your doctor can make sure your hormone levels are normal as you prepare for pregnancy.

        Thyroid Disease And Infertility

        Experts have long believed that thyroid issues can affect fertility. A review published in The Obstetrician & Gynaecologist found that 2.3 percent of women with fertility problems had hyperthyroidism compared to 1.5 percent of those in the general population. The researchers also found that 0.5 percent of women of reproductive age have hypothyroidism. Some women with hypothyroidism are symptomatic, experiencing everything from fatigue and weight gain to hair loss and menstrual abnormalities, but many have no symptoms and are only diagnosed after a routine blood test. The researchers found that both clinically apparent and subclinical hypothyroidism are associated with infertility.

        Most women with hypothyroidism and hyperthyroidism have evidence of autoimmunity, which means their body makes antibodies that attack their own thyroid glands. Thyroid autoantibodies can, however, also be detected in many women with normal thyroid function, and its not clear whether these women are at an increased risk of infertility.

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        Can You Have Thyroid Surgery While Pregnant

        4.4/5Thyroid Surgery During Pregnancythyroidsurgery during pregnancy havedohavesurgery

        Keeping this in view, can you have a thyroidectomy while pregnant?

        For these patients, surgery could be safely performed during the mid-trimester or delayed until delivery without worsening prognosis 3034. Thyroidectomy during pregnancy has not been associated with adverse maternal or neonatal outcomes 3536. In the third trimester, surgery may induce premature labour.

        Secondly, what should my thyroid levels be to get pregnant? Thyroid levelsBefore conception it’s currently recommended that your TSH should ideally be kept in the lower half of the reference range as this has been associated with a lower risk of miscarriage.

        Correspondingly, how can I reduce my thyroid during pregnancy?

        Hypothyroidism is treated with a synthetic hormone called levothyroxine, which is similar to the hormone T4 made by the thyroid. Your doctor will adjust the dose of your levothyroxine at diagnosis of pregnancy and will continue to monitor your thyroid function tests every 4-6 weeks during pregnancy.

        Can you get pregnant after total thyroidectomy?

        In conclusion, the findings of this study suggest that it is safe to become pregnant at least 6 months after treatment with radioactive iodine after thyroidectomy for thyroid cancer. Premature delivery: birth of a baby before 38 weeks of pregnancy.


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