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  • 22.12.23

How much do you know about thyroid health during pregnancy?

Pregnancy is a time of great change in a woman’s body, and the thyroid gland is no exception. Thyroid disease during pregnancy is a common concern, but with proper care and management, you can ensure a healthy pregnancy for both you and your baby. 

In this article, our in-house Gold Coast endocrinologist, Dr Aakansha Zala explores thyroid health during pregnancy, the types of thyroid disorders that can occur, and how to manage them for a safe and successful pregnancy.

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Understanding the thyroid gland

The thyroid gland is a small, butterfly-shaped organ located in the neck. It plays a crucial role in regulating various bodily functions, including metabolism, energy production, and the overall balance of hormones in the body. During pregnancy, the thyroid gland is under increased pressure to produce more hormones, as it needs to support both the mother and the developing baby.

Types of thyroid disorders in pregnancy

  1. Hypothyroidism: This condition occurs when the thyroid gland doesn’t produce enough thyroid hormones. In pregnancy, it can lead to complications such as an increased risk of preterm birth and developmental issues for the baby. The most common is Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis which is an autoimmune condition that can lead to hypothyroidism. It is essential to monitor and manage thyroid levels during pregnancy for women with Hashimoto’s.
  2. Hyperthyroidism: In contrast, hyperthyroidism results from an overproduction of thyroid hormones. This condition can be associated with complications like preeclampsia and preterm birth. A common cause is Graves disease, an autoimmune disorder that causes hyperthyroidism.  Graves’ disease can increase the risk of preterm birth and other complications if not properly managed during pregnancy.

The importance of diagnosis

Thyroid disorders can often be asymptomatic or have symptoms that mimic normal pregnancy discomforts. Therefore, regular screening is crucial for early diagnosis. Your healthcare provider will perform blood tests to monitor your thyroid hormone levels during pregnancy. If a thyroid disorder is detected, your healthcare team will work with you to manage it effectively.

Managing thyroid disorders during pregnancy

If you have been diagnosed with a thyroid disorder during pregnancy, there are several ways to manage it and ensure a safe and successful pregnancy. Specialist endocrinology input is highly recommended. 

  1. Medication: Your healthcare provider may prescribe medication to help regulate thyroid hormone levels.
  2. Regular monitoring: Frequent blood tests may be necessary to ensure that thyroid hormone levels remain within the desired range.
  3. Healthy lifestyle: Maintaining a balanced diet, staying physically active, and managing stress can support your overall health during pregnancy and may contribute to thyroid health.
  4. Regular prenatal care: Attending all prenatal appointments is crucial to monitor your baby’s development and overall health.

Thyroid disorders during pregnancy are manageable with the right care and support. Early diagnosis and ongoing monitoring are key to a healthy pregnancy. If you have a thyroid disorder or suspect you may be at risk, discuss it with your healthcare provider as early as possible. 

At Grace Private, our in-house endocrinologist, Dr Aakansha Zala, specialises in treating women with hormone-related conditions and she’ll create a personalised plan to ensure the best outcome for you and your baby. Thyroid health is an essential component of a successful pregnancy, and with the right care, you can look forward to a safe and joyful journey to motherhood.

For a referral to see Dr Zala, consult your GP! 

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