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World Thyroid Day - Thyroid problems during pregnancy: 5 facts you should know

Your inability to conceive might point to a deeper health crisis like a thyroid dysfunction.

Written by Debjani Arora |Updated : May 24, 2017 12:39 PM IST

Your desire to get pregnant can only be successful when your bodily functions work in tandem with your wishes. Various organ functions and processes that happen within the body can come in the way of conceiving. One such organ that can create havoc and shatter your dreams of getting pregnant is -- the thyroid.

Read more about causes, symptoms, diagnosis and treatment of thyroid disease.

Hypothyroidism is a condition where the thyroid gland doesn t produce enough of certain amount of hormones. This can have adverse consequences on your pregnancy either resulting in infertility or giving rise to a high risk pregnancy. Here are some facts about this organ that you ought to know:

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  • Low levels of thyroid hormone interferes with the functioning of the ovaries and makes them produce less progesterone leading to PMS or premenstrual syndrome. According to Indian Thyroid society about 70% of women with PMS have thyroid dysfunction and possibly resulted infertility.
  • The thyroid hormone regulates cellular function; abnormal thyroid function can affect your fertility. Undiagnosed and untreated thyroid disease can be a cause for infertility or frequent miscarriages. Moreover Dr Shobha Gupta an IVF expert attached to the Mothers Lap IVF centre, New Delhi says that, Often an underlying thyroid condition goes untreated in many women as standard blood tests in around 80 percent of cases misses to record low tissue thyroid levels that are causing or contributing to infertility.
  • Low levels of thyroid hormone can interfere with ovulation, which impairs fertility. In addition, some of the underlying causes of hypothyroidism such as certain autoimmune or pituitary disorders impair fertility.
  • Symptoms of this condition vary from person to person. Some women might show no symptoms and for some there would be some marked symptoms that point towards the crisis. The general symptoms are weight gain, fatigue, constipation, muscle and joint aches, sluggishness, and intolerance towards cold weather, abnormal and irregular periods, fatigue, and sleeplessness. The skin may turn dry and thick. The hair may become coarse or thin. At times eyebrows disappear and nails become brittle. Apart from this inability to conceive can also be a probable symptom.
  • The treatment for hypothyroidism differs from an individual to another. If you wish to plan your pregnancy then choose the right doctor for help. Depending on the severity of your condition your doctor might suggest a hormone replacement therapy to restore fertility. It may take about 1 or 2 months to normalize your thyroid hormone levels with medication; and once you start medication, you must check your TSH levels to confirm they are in the normal range. You will usually need to continue the medicines for the rest of your life and recheck your thyroid function every 6 months or so.
  • To keep your thyroid levels in check try to lose weight, follow your medications diligently, avoid stress and sleep well, don't ignore the symptoms and be regular with your check ups. All this can help you conceive soon and sail through pregnancy and labour with ease too.

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