How the thyroid changes once you become pregnant

Once pregnancy is recognized by the human body, the maternal thyroid immediately begins to undergo changes in order to provide the offspring the ability to develop normally. Thyroid hormone regulates the health of the placenta and is an essential chemical for normal brain development. Gestation strongly influences the maternal thyroid and in turn, the maternal thyroid is stimulated to produce more thyroid hormones needed for fetal development.

Mild thyroid disfunction can be difficult to diagnose during pregnancy because thyroid hormone levels and TSH levels do change as a result of the pregnancy itself. For this reason, gestational reference ranges for thyroid function tests have been established to avoid diagnostic errors. Thyroid tests should be obtained during pregnancy and monitored carefully to detect thyroid disfunction and promptly corrected with the right treatment to prevent miscarriages and pregnancy complications.

Iodine levels are another important essential of thyroid hormones and play a role in fetal development. Iodine deficiency causes brain damage to the fetus and pregnancy interruptions. Prenatal multivitamin containing adequate amounts of iodine are important to ensure adequate iodine levels for optimal pregnancy outcome.

About the Author:

Dr. Ridha Arem is board certified in endocrinology, and metabolism. He is the author of over 40 peer reviewed articles in the fields of thyroid disease, endocrinology, and metabolism.