How Your Thyroid Affects a Pregnancy

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Keith Eddleman, MD, Maternal-Fetal Medicine
Why should I worry about my thyroid during pregnancy? Thyroid disease is really very, very common, and unfortunately, often not diagnosed. And it's important in two different areas, one, women who have abnormal thyroid function sometimes don't ovulate regularly and can't get pregnant, so that's where it affects pregnancy initially is that it's difficult to get pregnant sometime if you're not, if your thyroid function is not normal. And then secondly, if you do have abnormal thyroid function, and that's not controlled well during the pregnancy, there are complications that can arise from that. Growth issues for the fetus, and very uncontrolled thyroid disease, you can develop something called thyroid storm, which is really a life threatening situation, where your thyroid function is so abnormal that it not only compromises the fetus but it can compromise the mother's life as well.

So is that a regular test that women normally get, or should they ask for that?

Keith Eddleman, MD, Maternal-Fetal Medicine
It's not part of the routine prenatal tests. Examining the thyroid on a physical exam, is part of the routine prenatal care, and if the thyroid is enlarged or if you feel any masses or lumps, then certainly it would be advocated that you'd check thyroid functions at that point, but it's actually not part of the battery of routine prenatal tests in most areas.