The thyroid is a butterfly-shaped gland that is found in the neck. Thyroid glands play a big role in your health. It controls how fast your heart beats and even controls the speed of processing the food. This gland at times can secrete too low or too high hormones during pregnancy causing various effects on the mother and baby. To know more about thyroid during pregnancy and in what way it can affect your pregnancy if untreated have a look below.

What are the two types of thyroid conditions that can occur during pregnancy?
Hyperthyroid - It is when the gland is overactive and makes too many hormones. It also usually occurs due to an autoimmune disease (Grave’s disease) where the body’s antibodies attack the thyroid gland. At times excessive nausea and vomiting during pregnancy also cause the thyroid gland to be active and secrete high hormones. In rare cases, lumps develop in the thyroid gland which causes hyperthyroidism.

Hypothyroid - Hypothyroid is when the thyroid gland doesn’t make enough hormones. It usually occurs due to an autoimmune disease (Hashimoto’s disease) where the body’s antibodies attack the thyroid gland. Every 2 out of 10 pregnant women are affected by this.

Who is at risk of having thyroid during pregnancy?
(1) If you already have thyroid, the condition worsens during pregnancy
(2) Family history of thyroid or any autoimmune disease
(3) History of thyroid in the previous pregnancy
(4) If you have diabetes there is a risk of having thyroid during pregnancy

In what way does having thyroid affect pregnant women?
Hyperthyroid - It results in high blood pressure, especially after 20 weeks of pregnancy. If left untreated it increases the bp tremendously in such a way that it affects your heart, lungs, kidney, and liver and makes them fail to do their function. It also increases the risk of having premature birth, miscarriage, or stillbirth.

Hypothyroid - It decreases the blood in your body causing anemia. It also increases blood pressure. It increases the risk of having heavy bleeding during birth or post-delivery.

In what way does it affect your baby?
Hyperthyroid - It results in a low birth weight of the baby. In rare cases, it results in placental abruption where the placenta is separated from the uterus inside the womb which affects the growth of the baby. Babies are also at risk of having hyperthyroidism during birth if the mother had it during pregnancy.

Hypothyroid - Similar to hyperthyroid it also results in low birth weight and placental abruption. If untreated it causes reduced IQ in the baby. It also results in dwarfism where the baby grows no more than 4 feet in their adult life. It affects the development of the brain resulting in intellectual disabilities.

What is the usual treatment involved for thyroid during pregnancy?
         In mild cases usually, treatment is not necessary and thyroid levels are monitored then and there. In severe cases, medications are prescribed.

Does the thyroid problem during pregnancy continue post-birth too?
        Only in 20 percent of the women, it continues for one-year post-birth while in the majority of the women it usually disappears.