Your thyroid regulates many hormones that are integral to a healthy pregnancy. However, the intense changes that your body goes through can lead to thyroid diseases such as hyperthyroidism and hypothyroidism. Keep reading to find out more!
The importance of the thyroid during pregnancy
Outside of pregnancy, the thyroid typically regulates metabolism, weight, aspects of the cardiovascular and nervous system, and more. During pregnancy, it plays the unique role of handling brain and nervous system development of the fetus until 12 weeks old.
As other hormones such as estrogen and human chorionic gonadotropin rise during pregnancy, some experts predict that it may cause thyroid hormone levels to increase as well. If you have pre-existing thyroid conditions before pregnancy, make sure to notify your OBGYN about them, as you could be at higher risk for miscarriage and premature birth.
Symptoms of thyroid disease
Hyperthyroidism: Irregular heartbeat, nausea, insomnia, or low weight gain during pregnancy could be potential indicators of hyperthyroidism. While some of these symptoms are common during pregnancy, if you are experiencing heightened symptoms, it may be wise to consult your physician.
Hypothyroidism: Along with weight gain and fatigue, symptoms of hypothyroidism during pregnancy include constipation, muscle cramps, and forgetfulness. Due to the hormonal changes during pregnancy, developing hypothyroidism after birth is relatively normal and generally not a major cause for concern.
Treatments for thyroid diseases
If your symptoms are preventing you from living your daily life, it may be wise to consider different treatment options. Those with hyperthyroidism may be prescribed propylthiouracil, a medication that blocks production of some thyroid hormones. For those with hypothyroidism, levothyroxine is often prescribed to mimic the effects of the hormone T4.
After initial treatment, it is important to observe your symptoms and body for efficacy of the medication and potential side effects. Prescription dosage is often increased if the conditions become more severe, so always consult your physician to make the right decisions for you and your body!