Under active thyroid or hypothyroidism is a medical condition where the thyroid glands do not produce enough thyroid hormones. This is relatively quite common in pregnant women, especially women above the age of thirty. Under active thyroid gland have many symptoms like fatigue, cold, muscle cramps, constipation etc. Sometimes an under active thyroid might not even show any symptoms until screening. Hypothyroidism can be dangerous to the fetus. It can affect the nervous system of the fetus. There are other risks of hypothyroidism during pregnancy as well. Miscarriage, premature labor, hypertension are a few risks associated with under active thyroid during pregnancy. It is therefore very dangerous during pregnancy.
What is hypothyroidism?
When your thyroid glands do not produce sufficient hormones it causes hypothyroidism. The hormones released from the thyroid gland travel to every part of the body through blood. This hormone regulates the absorption of energy from food by the cells of the body. When the thyroid gland does not produce sufficient hormones, there is not enough energy absorbed by the cells from the food you eat. As a result, your body becomes sluggish and weak.
Pregnancy can sometimes cause inflammation of the thyroid gland. This induces hypothyroidism. Women who have a history of thyroid disorders in their family are also susceptible to under active thyroid during pregnancy.
Mild hypothyroidism has similar symptoms like pregnancy. This is why it is difficult to detect under active thyroid during pregnancy. These include:
- Extreme fatigue
- Sensitivity to cold
- Hair loss
- Dry hair
- Sudden weight gain
- Slow heartbeat
- Swelling of thyroid gland
- Muscle pain
- Dry skin
- Hoarse voice
- Tingling sensation in hand
- Poor concentration
- Swelling of the face
It is important to get a thyroid screening done if you experience any of these symptoms during pregnancy. Hypothyroidism can prove fatal to you and your baby if it is not detected and treated in time.
Here are some of the risks of under active thyroid during pregnancy.
- Under active thyroid during pregnancy can be fatal for the fetus. During the first trimester of your pregnancy, your baby receives the thyroid hormones from your body. If you have hypothyroidism, the fetus will not be able to get sufficient thyroid hormone. This will negatively impact the development of the baby’s brain functions. Thyroid hormones are necessary for proper functioning of the brain. Lack of this hormone will have long lasting effect on the baby.
- Hypothyroidism is a potential cause of miscarriage. The lack of thyroid hormone will cause slow metabolism. A weak body might not be able to carry the pregnancy to its full term. This will lead to miscarriage.
- Stillbirth is another fatal consequence of hypothyroidism during pregnancy. If your body does not absorb energy from the food, it cannot provide sufficient energy and nourishment to the baby. Lack of nourishment can cause stillbirth of the baby.
- Hypothyroidism can also cause premature delivery. Insufficient thyroid hormone can lead to rupture of the membranes. This results in unexpected miscarriage. It is one of the significant risks of having under active thyroid during pregnancy.
- When your body is unable to derive energy from the food, it cannot transfer energy to the fetus. Your baby derives nourishment and energy from your body. Hypothyroidism affects your metabolism. As a result, your baby is likely to have very low weight after birth. This can have lasting impacts on the overall health of your baby.
- Untreated hypothyroidism can cause preeclampsia. This is a severe condition where the baby develops high blood pressure. This can damage the organs of his body. It can cause stillbirth as well. Preeclampsia can be equally harmful for you.
- If you have hypothyroidism, it is likely to cause severe anemia. Slow metabolism can increase the number of unhealthy blood cells in your body. It also hampers the production of red blood cells. Lack of red blood cells will disrupt the passage of oxygen and other nutrients to your body tissues and the fetus. Severe anemia is a threat to you and your baby.
How to tackle hypothyroidism?
Once you are diagnosed with under active thyroid during pregnancy, it is important to follow a few measures. When you are pregnant, you have to take care of the little one growing inside you as well. It is therefore necessary to tackle this condition as advised by your doctor.
- A balanced diet is very important if you have under active thyroid. Strictly follow the diet advised by your doctor. The prescribed medicines should also be taken to treat this condition.
- Keeping your mind stable is necessary during this time. Meditation is the best way to keep your mind calm and stress free. Studies show that meditation helps to control thyroid problem to a great extent. Doctors also suggest meditation to treat thyroid disorders. Doing it regularly for about an hour will give excellent results.
- Unexplained weight gain is a consequence of hypothyroidism. Weight gain can cause severe problems in your pregnancy. It is very important to lose the excess weight to prevent complications. Light exercises are very useful in losing weight. Exercise will also keep your body active and increase your metabolism. Proper metabolism can also ensure sufficient production of thyroid hormone. Therefore regular exercise can also prevent hypothyroidism.
Under active thyroid can be very dangerous, especially if you are with child. It is very likely to affect pregnant women who are above thirty or have a history of thyroid problems. Hypothyroidism can lead to fatal complications during your pregnancy. It can affect you as well as the growing fetus as early as in the first trimester. Hypothyroidism can leave lasting impacts on the baby. It can affect the nervous system as well as other functions of his body. Mild hypothyroidism is difficult to detect during pregnancy. Therefore, it is crucial to go for a thyroid tests when you are pregnant. Consult your doctor immediately if you experience any symptoms of hypothyroidism during pregnancy.