When you are pregnant your body has to work harder in order to fulfill the increasing demands for various nutrients and hormones by your body. Demand of the thyroid hormone and iodine in your body during pregnancy is greater than before; hence along with your other body organs your thyroid gland too has to work hard in order to meet your as well as your child’s demand.
If the increased demand is not fulfilled then it may lead to severe health problems for the child and the expectant mother. A condition in which an insufficient amount of thyroid hormones are produced by the thyroid gland is known as hypothyroidism.
It is a common disorder prevalent mainly among women of childbearing age. Some of the signs and symptoms of hypothyroidism during pregnancy are fatigue and weakness, flaky skin, muscle pain and ache, very slow heartbeat, excessive sleep, puffy eyes, trouble in breathing etc.
Women can suffer from hypothyroidism during or after pregnancy. If a woman already suffers from this condition then it may adversely affect her ability to bear a child. If a woman is diabetic or has another autoimmune disorder then her chances of becoming a victim of hypothyroidism increases by almost 25%.
Hypothyroidism can have severe impact on the pregnancy and can put her at a higher risk of miscarriage. If it is left untreated and the delivery time is near, the expectant mother can develop high blood pressure and have premature delivery.
Hypothyroidism may prevent the production of eggs and hence can cause infertility. If left untreated, hypothyroidism may cause birth defects and the babies born to such mother may be of smaller size and his/her intellectual potential would be low. The expectant mother can even experience heart failure and stillbirths can also occur.
One out of every 20 women is expected to suffer from hypothyroidism after pregnancy. This is due to the fact that such women develop antibodies against their own thyroid before pregnancy which caused thyroid to get inflamed post delivery. Generally this problem gets resolved by its own but if it persists for long then it can be conveniently treated.
If hypothyroidism is left untreated it can cause grave problems for an unborn baby. Hence all the pregnant women are recommended by the experts to get tested for thyroid function during their pregnancy. It is safe to take thyroid medication during pregnancy.