Pregnancy with thyroid disease - what are the risks?

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Pregnancy with thyroid disease - what are the risks?
Pregnancy with thyroid disease - what are the risks?

Diseases of the thyroid gland during pregnancy can affect the he alth of both mother and child – before and after birth. Impaired function of the thyroid gland in women of childbearing age is increasingly common. Unregulated thyroid dysfunction during pregnancy has adverse effects on fetal and maternal he alth.

The harmful effects of thyroid dysfunction can affect the subsequent development of the baby, including intellectual development. The need for hormones of the thyroid gland increases during pregnancy and their lack leads to aggravation of already existing thyroid disorders

The hormone thyroxine produced by the thyroid gland is supplied to the fetus through the placenta, since at the beginning of fetal development the baby receives thyroxine only through the mother. During pregnancy, the iodine in the mother's body is lost through the urine and placenta, contributing to the relative iodine deficiency directly related to thyroid dysfunction.


In hypothyroidism, a reduced function of the thyroid gland is observed. The most common form of hypothyroidism is the result of chronic autoimmune thyroiditis, in which the production of thyroid hormones is reduced.

What are the risks to mother and baby?

With unregulated reduced thyroid function, there are risks of miscarriage, anemia during pregnancy, preeclampsia, placental disorders, postpartum hemorrhages.

In terms of potential dangers to the baby with hypothyroidism, there are risks of premature birth, low birth weight, breathing problems. In addition, severe thyroid deficiency can cause the baby to be severely mentally retarded and be born with a profound mental deficiency.

Thus, careful monitoring of thyroid hormones is extremely important during pregnancy, and not only then.


Hyperthyroidism is characterized by overproduction of thyroid hormones, which during pregnancy is observed in much rarer cases compared to reduced function. In most cases, the increased production of thyroid hormones is due to an underlying disease. It is sometimes difficult to distinguish hyperthyroidism from gestational transient thyrotoxicosis because of similar symptoms. The distinction is important because transient thyrotoxicosis usually does not require specific thyrostatic treatment. But this should be judged by a specialist.

What are the risks to mother and baby?

Uncontrolled hyperthyroidism during pregnancy is associated with an increased risk of severe preeclampsia and up to a 4-fold increased risk of low birth weight. But these unpleasant results have been found in women who discovered their problem during pregnancy.

Uncontrolled overproduction of hormones can also lead to the appearance of hyperthyroidism in the baby as well, which is due to the transfer of antibodies to the fetus through the placenta. This type of hyperthyroidism occurs in only 1% of children born to mothers with Based's disease.

Again, timely monitoring of hormonal balance is very important for the he alth and proper development of the baby. Adequate assessment of thyroid status is of utmost importance. Preventive examinations are also recommended before pregnancy, as the incidence of the thyroid gland has increased several times in recent years. Particular attention should be paid to people with a family history indicating the occurrence of disorders in the hormonal balance.

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