Scans & Tests
Written on 14 June 2022
Pregnancy is considered one of the most beautiful phases of a woman's life. Yet there are a lot of changes you must be ready to experience pre and postpartum. The majority of the changes you see in your body result from hormonal activities. The thyroid gland is one of the major glands that regulate the hormonal activity in your body. The thyroid gland produces thyroid hormones, which are shaped like a little butterfly on the front of your neck. Thyroid hormones control how your body uses energy and affect almost every organ in your body, including the rate at which your heart beats. Thyroid hormones are also essential for your baby's brain and nervous system to develop normally. Therefore, you must monitor your thyroid health during pregnancy and know how often to check thyroid levels during pregnancy.
In some women, the thyroid is overstimulated during pregnancy. This results in alterations in thyroid hormone concentrations. When this increases, this condition is known as hyperthyroidism. The thyroid gland is understimulated during pregnancy in a different group of women. This also alters the thyroid hormone concentrations. The difference here is that the thyroid hormone concentration is decreased. This condition of reduced thyroid activity is called hypothyroidism. Both hyperthyroidism and hypothyroidism are unfavourable conditions. It is, therefore, important that you understand these two conditions and monitor your thyroid activity at the right intervals. Hence, you are aware of how to keep yourself and your child healthy during and after your pregnancy.
Compared to hyperthyroidism, pregnant hypothyroidism has a higher prevalence (2.5%) and can result in neonatal and infant cognitive abnormalities and maternal obstetric problems. Hypothyroidism during pregnancy manifests as extreme tiredness, inability to cope with cold conditions, muscle cramping, severe cases of constipation, and difficulties with memory and the ability to concentrate on things. In some cases, hypothyroidism is mild and might not display external symptoms during pregnancy. The cause of hypothyroidism during pregnancy is often an autoimmune condition known as Hashimoto's disease, and 2 or 3 out of any random hundred pregnant women could be affected. If you have Hashimoto's disease, your immune system attacks the thyroid, which results in inflammation and damage that impairs the thyroid's ability to produce thyroid hormones. Hypothyroidism could have the following effects on you and your child if left untreated:
Hyperthyroidism after pregnancy/during pregnancy: Hyperthyroidism during pregnancy is not very common. In normal pregnancies, some signs of hyperthyroidism, such as tiredness, a faster heart rate, and difficulty adjusting to the heat. Some other symptoms of hyperthyroidism that you have to look out for are: Irregularities in your heartbeat, trembling or shaking in your hands, weight loss that is unexplained, or not experiencing normal pregnancy weight gain. Graves' disease is the most common cause of hyperthyroidism in pregnancy. Graves' disease is an autoimmune disease that affects the body's immune system. Your immune system produces antibodies that cause the thyroid to produce too much thyroid hormone due to this condition. Untreated hyperthyroidism could lead to the following situations or conditions:
On a concluding note, you must monitor your thyroid levels during pregnancy. Depending on your condition, the frequency changes. If you have hypothyroidism, thyroid blood tests should be done every four to six weeks during pregnancy. If you have hyperthyroidism, you have to undergo tests every four weeks or at a frequency set by your endocrinologist. We hope that this article's information helped you know when to check thyroid levels after pregnancy and how often to check thyroid levels during pregnancy.
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