Hypothyroidism During Pregnancy (Thyroid Deficiency During Pregnancy)

  • Medical Author:
    Ruchi Mathur, MD, FRCP(C)

    Ruchi Mathur, MD, FRCP(C) is an Attending Physician with the Division of Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism and Associate Director of Clinical Research, Recruitment and Phenotyping with the Center for Androgen Related Disorders, Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center.

  • Medical Editor: William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR
    William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR

    William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR

    Dr. Shiel received a Bachelor of Science degree with honors from the University of Notre Dame. There he was involved in research in radiation biology and received the Huisking Scholarship. After graduating from St. Louis University School of Medicine, he completed his Internal Medicine residency and Rheumatology fellowship at the University of California, Irvine. He is board-certified in Internal Medicine and Rheumatology.

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Quick GuideThyroid Anatomy, Symptoms, and Disorders

Thyroid Anatomy, Symptoms, and Disorders

Hypothyroidism during pregnancy facts

  • Hypothyroidism, wherein the thyroid gland produces an inadequate amount of thyroid hormone, is a common disorder particularly in women of childbearing age.
  • Hypothyroidism of the mother during pregnancy may result in developmental delay in the child.
  • Treatment of hypothyroidism requires thyroid hormone medication.
  • There may be indications to start thyroid hormone therapy in women who are borderline in thyroid function and who are either pregnant or desiring pregnancy.
  • The treatment goal of hypothyroidism in pregnancy is to maintain a thyroid hormone level within high normal range.
  • Pregnant women who are on thyroid hormone should have blood testing frequently during pregnancy as requirements may change.
  • Early studies found that children born to mothers with hypothyroidism during pregnancy had lower IQ and impaired psychomotor (mental and motor) development. If properly controlled, often by increasing the amount of thyroid hormone, women with hypothyroidism can have healthy, unaffected babies.

What is Hypothyroidism?

  • Thyroid disease is particularly common in women of child-bearing age.
  • As a result, it is no surprise that thyroid disease may complicate the course of pregnancy.
  • Frequency varies among different populations and different countries. While pregnancy itself is a natural state and not a "disease," thyroid disorders during pregnancy affect mother and baby.
  • This article focuses specifically on hypothyroidism and pregnancy. After a general description of normal and abnormal thyroid function, recent data on long term consequences in children of mothers who had hypothyroidism during pregnancy will be reviewed.
Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 2/3/2016

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