Any woman in her reproductive years who intends to get pregnant or who is pregnant should be aware of the importance of a perfect thyroid balance for good pregnancy outcome. The negative effects of thyroid imbalance on pregnancy is more often related to low thyroid than to hyperthyroidism, simply because hypothyroidism is much more common than hyperthyroidism. The most common thyroid related issues that can affect reproduction are:
• Infertility – Infertility is a common condition and the thyroid seems to play a significant role in not being able to conceive. Research has shown that a many as 25% of women evaluated in an infertility clinic have low-grade hypothyroidism. The tricky part is that among these women, many have thyroid blood tests that are borderline or in the gray zone. If you have an infertility issue, before you spend a fortune and before going through a tremendous amount of hardship, insist on being evaluated for Hashimoto’s thyroiditis and have an endocrinologist perform a thorough evaluation of your thyroid. It sometimes only takes a small deficit of thyroid hormone for the ovulation to be affected.
• Miscarriage – Low thyroid is a very common reason for recurrent miscarriages. One of the reasons is that normal thyroid hormone is important for the ovaries to produce the right amount of progesterone. When your thyroid is low your progesterone level will be low and insufficient to sustain a pregnancy. You need to know that nearly 2-3% of pregnant women are found to be hypothyroid in the first trimester of pregnancy when tested systematically. Being hypothyroid in the early stages of pregnancy can also promote congenital malformations.
• Birth Defects - Being hypothyroid during pregnancy can also be a cause of birth defects.
• Mental Deficits - The babies born to hypothyroid mothers may suffer from a lower IQ and mental deficits because the brain development of the fetus depends to some extent on whether the mother’s thyroid levels are normal or not. Thyroid hormone is crucial for brain development. (Iodine is an important component of the thyroid hormone molecule)