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Thyroid check-ups a must for expecting mothers and healthy development of fetus: Experts

Our Bureau, Mumbai
Monday, May 25, 2020, 16:45 Hrs  [IST]

With the COVID lockdown and people hesitant to visit hospitals, expectant mothers should still not miss their regular check-ups in case they suffer from thyroid issues, according to experts.

If you are experiencing fast and irregular heartbeat, having trouble dealing with the heat, are constantly tired, having unexplained weight loss or not gaining normal pregnancy weight, consult your doctor at once as both hypo and hyperthyroidism can gravely affect the mother and fetus, experts recommend.

Explaining how thyroid hormone can affect a woman's chances of getting pregnant, Dr S Padma, senior consultant & HOD, obstetrics & gynecology, Meenakshi Mission Hospital and Research Centre (MMHRC) said, “Uncontrolled hypo and hyperthyroidism can cause infertility, miscarriage, chronic anemia, preeclampsia in women. Excessive or too little secretion of thyroid hormone and can cause long-term developmental defects in the fetus such as congenital hypothyroidism, low birth weight, hydrops fetalis, cretinism as well as low IQ.”

Pregnancy can also affect the secretion of thyroid hormone, as the thyroid gland is affected due to the pregnancy hormones. “Pregnancy is an increased demand on the thyroid gland. In normal individuals, this does not appear to present much of a load on the thyroid gland, but in females with subclinical hypothyroidism, the extra demands of pregnancy can precipitate clinical disease. Hence, those with thyroid problems must exercise caution,” Dr Padma added.

Thyroid level testing in first antenatal visit is imperative and then it must be done at regular intervals to keep a tab on the levels as well as to keep the abnormally rising levels in check. For those who may be trying to conceive and are unable to do so due to elevated thyroid levels, thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH) and T4 levels must be monitored prior to becoming pregnant. This is especially true for those with low thyroid hormones or already had a miscarriage in the past.

“Untreated thyroid diseases can affect the mother and baby in serious ways even leading to miscarriage, premature birth, severely increased blood pressure and low birth weight. High risk factors include a family history of thyroid problems or any other autoimmune disease. Tackling hypothyroid symptoms early in the pregnancy planning stages allows for early treatment and smooth pregnancy,” Dr Padma concluded.


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