Thyroid problems and pregnancy

  • By Team TDO

Things you should know before getting pregnant, if you are suffering from thyroid trouble.

Thyroid troubles influence reproductive system drastically, along with other systems. If you have thyroid problems, then you should first talk to your doctor and control the condition with medication, because it may lead to difficulty in conception.

Thyroid disorders significantly affect a woman’s fertility. The problems associated with improper functioning of thyroid include irregular menstrual cycles and failure to ovulate. An excess of hormones (hyperthyroidism) or a lack of hormones (hypothyroidism) interfere with the normal production of egg. And obviously, if a female is not ovulating, it is difficult for her to conceive. Women with hypothyroidism are also at a higher risk of developing polycystic ovaries, marked by formation of cysts in ovaries which prevent normal ovulation and can lead to fertility problems.

Sadly, conceiving is like winning half the battle, but, thyroid problems can also complicate pregnancy. Thyroid problems affect fetal and maternal well-being drastically. Excess thyroid hormones produced (hyperthyroidism) by the thyroid can be harmful, both to the mother and the fetus. If the condition is untreated, it may cause early miscarriage, a condition called Pre-eclampsia, marked by excessive increase in blood pressure during pregnancy, causing threat to normal delivery, premature birth, growth retardation of fetus in mother’s womb, maternal heart failure and death of the fetus.

Thyroid hormones are crucial for the development of brain and nervous system of the fetus. As a result, insufficient levels of thyroid hormones (hypothyroidism) in the mother affect the brain and nervous system development.

Two crucial hormones of pregnancy, estrogen and HCG, cause increased thyroid hormone levels in blood and this overproduction of thyroid hormone affects the health of mother and the baby. The condition may worsen, if the previous thyroid disorder remains unnoticed.


Hyperthyroidism during pregnancy is treated with anti-thyroid medications. Radioactive iodine treatment is not considered a good option, because it can damage the thyroid gland of the fetus. In very rare cases, surgery is the option, if the mother is not responding to the anti-thyroid medications.

In hypothyroidism during pregnancy, synthetic thyroid hormone is used to treat the condition.

A woman with a thyroid disorder can have a safe and uneventful pregnancy and delivery. Early diagnosis, proper medication, monitoring thyroid levels and visiting a thyroid specialist, in addition to the gynecologist, can prevent the harmful effects of thyroid disorders in pregnancy.