Hyperthyroidism is a condition in which your body produces excess of thyroid hormones. T3 and T4 are the thyroid hormones that control multiple body functions. When this condition occurs during pregnancy, it often results in anxiety and worry.
Hyperthyroidism cure requires regular medication and monitoring. Managing hyperthyroidism with the right doctor makes it easy.
This blog is geared towards: Women who are diagnosed with hyperthyroidism during pregnancy for the first time. Women who already have hyperthyroidism and want to plan a pregnancy. Women who have hyperthyroidism and find out they are pregnant and are now worried about how their medical condition will affect their baby.
If you belong to any of these categories, you’re in the right place.
Hyperthyroidism and pregnancy
So right at the beginning, let's answer the big question - Can you have a healthy pregnancy with hyperthyroidism?
The answer is YES! If you start treatment on time, follow your doctor's advice, and take care of yourself, you will have a happy and healthy baby.
If you are pregnant and diagnosed with hyperthyroidism, I’m sure you’re more worried about your baby than yourself. Let’s first understand how thyroid hormones affect the baby.
There is one very important organ in the body that the thyroid gland helps in the development of. It is the brain. High levels of hormones can slow down brain development and cause complications later in life. It has been linked with causing seizure disorders.
Hyperthyroidism cure is also needed to avoid complications in the current pregnancy. These include:
- Loss of pregnancy
- Premature birth
- Low birth weight
- High blood pressure during pregnancy
- In severe cases, it can even cause thyroid storm - a potentially fatal condition.
Grave’s disease is an autoimmune condition occurring because of antibodies that attack the thyroid gland and cause hyperthyroidism. These antibodies are very small and can cross the placenta and reach the foetus. In this case, symptoms of hyperthyroidism such as a fast heart rate, irritability, and neck swelling can be seen right at birth.
Managing hyperthyroidism in pregnancy
If your thyroid hormone levels are only mildly elevated, no specific treatment may be needed. Your doctor may only keep an eye on your hormone levels by testing regularly.
In case of higher hormone levels, antithyroid medication is prescribed for hyperthyroidism cure. As the name suggests, these tablets directly reduce thyroid hormone production by the gland. They are safe in pregnancy but your doctor may prescribe a lower dose so that hormone levels in the baby are not affected.
It’s possible that you may have heard about these medications affecting your baby negatively. Rest assured that your doctor would never suggest something that would harm your child. If you have any queries about managing hyperthyroidism, make sure to ask them to your doctor, not Google.
The main challenge in treating hyperthyroidism in pregnancy is finding the right balance where the mothers' hormone levels are regulated without affecting the levels in the baby. For this reason, it is important to take the medication only as prescribed.
Rarely, your doctor may suggest surgery to cure hyperthroidism if the disease is severe.
What if I already have hyperthyroidism?
If you have hyperthyroidism and are planning a pregnancy, here is what you should do:
Consult your doctor. They may choose to change your thyroid medication. If you are already pregnant, your medication dose may need to be changed. Always communicate with your doctor clearly.
Get your hormone levels checked. Your thyroid hormone levels can vary widely even from one week to the next. Hence, always get your blood tests done as advised.
Stick to the basics. Taking care of yourself is the core of thyroid treatment, whether you are pregnant or not. This means eating healthy foods full of vitamins, exercising regularly, and sleeping well.
Did you know that serum TSH levels naturally reduce in the first trimester of pregnancy? They return to normal on their own. Pregnancy also affects thyroid hormone levels by increasing the proteins to which T3 and T4 bind in the blood.
In short, this means that thyroid hormone levels in pregnancy need to be interpreted differently than usual. Always consult a doctor to understand your hormone levels and thyroid function.
The bottom line
Hyperthyroidism can cause several complications during pregnancy. You can have a safe pregnancy with hyperthyroidism if you start treatment with medication and lifestyle changes early.
Pregnancy is a special time for any family. Your and your baby deserve the best care at this time. Trust the thyroid experts at Jeevam Health who have helped thousands of thyroid patients improve their health.