THYROID AND PREGNANCY
A healthy thyroid is fundamental in every life stage, though during pregnancy its “pilot” role doubles to preserve the best body functioning.
Even before pregnancy, it can influence female fertility: normal thyroid hormones values lead to regular periods, conception and embryo implantation. In the opposite case, we face infertility.
During pregnancy, the butterfly gland “allows” the changes occurring in the mother’s body, adjusting it to the new life that has just begun.
Proper thyroid functioning is fundamental to foetal health and crucial for brain development. The mother’s thyroid has to produce more T3 and T4 hormones to fulfil the needs of the foetus who cannot do it on its own. An increased thyroid activity is associated with an increased request for iodine.
If iodine is not sufficient
Why is iodine so important during pregnancy? If iodine lacks, thyroid hormones cannot be produced and both the mother and the foetus may be at risk of developing goiter.
Moreover, proper iodine supplementation prevents cretinism and other neurological diseases. According to the National Institute of Health and the Ministry of Health, pregnant women should take at least 250 mg of iodine per day: recommended dose during breastfeeding as well.
How can I make sure my thyroid works well during pregnancy?
It is good practice to check TSH during the first weeks of pregnancy, when thyroid activity starts to change. TSH values should be below 4.0mUI/l during the whole 9 months.
Women who suffer from previous hypothyroidism may take a higher dosage of levothyroxine to handle such a change. Pregnancy can lead to temporary hypothyroidism, as well as to post-partum thyroiditis, so it is recommended to check TSH and autoantibodies after birth, as well.
Pregnancy hyperthyroidism occurs in case of previous hyperthyroidism; therapy is evaluated according to pregnancy state.