We all want to have a healthy and uncomplicated pregnancy. But sometimes, no matter how careful you are, you can have a health condition like hypothyroidism. It's important to know that you did not cause this thyroid disorder so don't beat yourself up over it. However, it needs to be addressed as soon as possible because it carries serious risks for you and your little one.
What is hypothyroidism?
The thyroid is a gland in your body that's responsible for producing hormones. These hormones, in turn, influence how your body uses energy and have an effect on each organ in the body. The thyroid also affects the development of the little one in your womb.
Hypothyroidism is a medical condition brought about by an underactive thyroid gland. Often, it is caused by Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, an autoimmune disorder. While it typically occurs when you're not expecting, hypothyroidism may also present itself while you're pregnant.
Find out more about hypothyroidism here.
How different is it from hyperthyroidism?
Aside from hypothyroidism, another thyroid condition is hyperthyroidism, which as you could probably glean is the opposite of hypothyroidism. This happens when the thyroid gland produces excessive amounts of the thyroid hormone. To help you remember, hypothyroidism is underproduction while hyperthyroidism is overproduction.
Hyperthyroidism in pregnant women is also often caused by Grave's Disease.
What to look out for
It may differ from one person to another, but often someone with hypothyroidism may experience the following symptoms:
- dry skin due to your body's tendency to not sweat enough
- sensitivity to cold
- weight gain
- slow movements
- muscle pains, weakness, and cramps
- loss of sex drive
- pain, numbness, and tingling sensation in the hand and fingers
How does it affect my baby?
Nothing can be scarier for a pregnant lady than finding out that your baby may be in danger. The little one in your womb is understandably your top priority. That's why it's best to find out early on if you have a medical condition that needs to be addressed.
Pregnant ladies with undiagnosed or untreated hypothyroidism may develop anemia, for one. It also increases the risk of premature birth, stillbirth, and miscarriage. Furthermore, too little or too much thyroid hormone may also cause IQ deficits in childhood.
Hashimoto Hypothyroid Postpartum (HHP) can creep in after you've given birth. With this condition, your white blood cells attack the thyroid. What happens is after your little one is born, you can develop hyperthyroidism (aka overactive thyroid) that will make you lose weight quickly.
But it doesn't stop there. This can turn into hypothyroidism (aka underactive thyroid) and result in symptoms like lack of energy, dry skin, and lethargy.
These symptoms may easily be attributed to being a mom to a newborn that's why it's easy to miss this condition. But you know your body well, so if something is not quite right, you should consult your doctor. This can be a recurring problem and may occur again in your succeeding pregnancies.
It can be challenging to diagnose thyroid problems while you're pregnant. At this time, you have higher levels of thyroid hormones, not to mention symptoms that are similar to those of pregnancy. It's really important to keep an eye out and know when something's amiss with your body.
If you're diagnosed, it is also prudent to have regular thyroid tests to monitor your thyroid levels. It's also crucial to take the prescribed medication to avoid the risks we've mentioned earlier.
Aside from this, it also helps to have healthy nutrition. This is true for pregnant women, whether you have a thyroid problem or not. Keep taking your prenatal vitamins and your maternal milk. In terms of thyroid health, you can consume iodine-rich foods like dairy, seafood, eggs, meat, poultry, and iodized salt.
There are also iodine tablets you can take, but as always, do so with caution. It is best to consult your doctor before taking anything new.
Hypothyroidism is a condition that may affect pregnant women. It is brought about by an underactive thyroid gland. Some symptoms include weight gain, fatigue, muscle pains, and numbness or tingling sensation in the hands and fingers.
It is important for this condition to be addressed right away as it increases the risk for premature birth, stillbirth, and miscarriage. If you suspect you may have this condition, consult your healthcare provider right away.
Original Publisher: theAsianparent