Risks Of Hyperthyroidism In Pregnancy: Its Symptoms And Management

In pregnant women, any function that is not normal is bound to affect the unborn child. Pregnancy is all about hormones. Some increase and some decrease, all to make the body receptive to developing and caring for a baby.

The thyroid gland is the largest endocrinal gland in the human body. Hyperthyroidism is when the thyroid gland is overactive and produces high quantities of T3 and T4. Occasionally hyperthyroidism is the side effect of conditions like the Graves’ disease. With pregnancy, most women can develop some degree of hyperthyroidism by the end of the first trimester.

This condition in pregnant women is known as thyrotoxicosis. Gestational or transient hyperthyroidism is also very common.

Sometimes in pregnant women, gestational hyperthyroidism can also lead to hyperemesis gravidarum. Excessive vomiting, severe nausea and imbalance in electrolytes are symptoms of hyperemesis gravidarum. This condition usually happens in the first trimester due to the Hcg hormone flooding the body. Such hyperthyroidism corrects itself in the subsequent trimesters. Hcg is the hormone that indicates the woman is pregnant.

Hyperthyroidism can cause serious complications in the pregnancy if left unchecked. It can lead to miscarriages, still births or pre term babies and low weight babies. Preeclampsia and heart failure are also possible complications.

Management Of Hyperthyroid During Pregnancy

Management of hyperthyroidism is typically done with drugs. If you know you are suffering from hyperthyroidism, you should immediately start to receive treatment. If you are not sure, tests will help confirm whether you are suffering from hyperthyroidism. Drugs are usually the recourse if hyperthyroidism is due to Graves’ disease. In other cases, it is usually diagnosed as gestational hyperthyroidism.

Pregnant women are not readily given drugs as there is some indication that thyroid drugs can cause birth defects. The drug used, if at all, is propylthiouracil.

The regular drug used is methimazole but this drug is avoided in the first trimester.

Beta blockers are also occasionally used for treatment. Beta blockers do not harm the baby but can have some effect on the mother’s health. Radiation is also a treatment for extreme cases of hyperthyroidism but that is not an option for a pregnant woman.

If a pregnant woman is allergic to the drugs or needs high doses, surgery might be also considered as a treatment. This surgery is usually done in the second trimester to least endanger the baby.

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