The Role of Thyroid during Pregnancy
The thyroid hormone is one of the most significant hormones that support your metabolic needs and your growing baby during pregnancy. But when you are pregnant, the body may produce more or less of this hormone, and this could show in the form of a few sign. The good news is that you can track the thyroid levels in your body through some tests and learn to manage it better by making a few lifestyle changes.
The thyroid is a small gland located in the lower part of the neck, below your Adam’s apple. It is about two inches and resembles a butterfly. It produces the thyroid hormone that controls several physiological activities such as managing energy, heartbeat, and metabolism. Too much (hyperthyroidism) or too little (hypothyroidism) of this hormone can reason thyroid problems during pregnancy.
Thyroid hormones play a significant role in the health and development of your baby’s nervous system. In the first trimester, the baby relies on the mother for the supply of the thyroid hormone via the placenta. In the 12th week of pregnancy, the baby’s thyroid gland begins to work, but it cannot make adequate thyroid hormone until about the 18th or 20th week.
What Is The Role Of Thyroid Hormones In Pregnancy?
The thyroid gland produces the hormones called triiodothyronine (T3) and thyroxine (T4) and releases them into the bloodstream. These hormones travel to different body parts such as the heart, bones, brain, skin, liver, and kidneys to regulate their functioning.
- Women with high thyroid function and low hCG are at risk of preeclampsia.
- Women with any autoimmune disorders, who have had a thyroid situation before, or whose family members have a history of thyroid dysfunction may have a risk of thyroid dysfunction during pregnancy.
- Either of the two thyroid situation could be risky in the following ways.
- Thyroid dysfunction could increase the risk of diabetes during the first trimester and half of the second trimester.
- Hypothyroidism early in pregnancy could affect the brain development of the baby.
What Are The Main Types Of Thyroid Conditions?
In this situation, the thyroid gland produces more thyroid hormone than required. This happens when the gland is hyperactive. In the US, around 1% of people have hyperthyroidism. The condition could speed up certain functions such as the heart rate and also the metabolism of the individual. Hyperthyroidism is more likely to happen in women than in men.
When the thyroid gland is unable to make adequate amounts of T4, it results in hypothyroidism. This happens when the gland is underactive or when the hypothalamus or pituitary gland is not working. About 5% of the population has hypothyroidism, which is more common in women than in men.
Causes of Hyperthyroidism
Any of the following factors could result in excess production of the thyroid hormone.
Graves’ disease: Around 80 to 85% of hyperthyroidism cases in pregnancy are reason due to Graves’ disease. However, its likelihood is around 1 or 2 in 1000 cases. The situation makes the immune system overactive, which enlarges the gland and produces more of the thyroid hormone.
Hyperemesis gravidarum: Excessive nausea and vomiting during pregnancy could also be responsible for hyperthyroidism in pregnant women.
Others: Some other rare reason of hyperthyroidism in pregnancy includes the formation of the nodules in the gland, high levels of hCG, and gestational hyperthyroidism.