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Women's Health

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Hypothyroidism - What Happens

Hypothyroidism during and after pregnancy

Women who have hypothyroidism or mild hypothyroidism before they become pregnant may have more severe hypothyroidism during their pregnancy. If not treated, pregnant women who have hypothyroidism can develop preeclampsia and have a premature delivery. Children born to women who have untreated hypothyroidism during pregnancy are at risk for having hypothyroidism at birth and low birth weight and may score lower on intelligence tests than children of healthy mothers.2

After delivery, women may have a thyroid disorder called postpartum thyroiditis. This condition occurs in about 5% of women who do not have a history of thyroid disease.2 It is often mistaken for depression.

Women who have postpartum thyroiditis often develop hypothyroidism 3 to 6 months after delivery. The hypothyroidism may last up to several months. It sometimes occurs after an initial episode of postpartum thyroiditis that causes symptoms from too much thyroid hormone. Hypothyroidism may become permanent in women with postpartum thyroiditis. Even if thyroid gland function returns to normal, postpartum thyroiditis usually comes back during later pregnancies.

WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

Last Updated: November 14, 2014
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.
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