Mild thyroid dysfunction during early pregnancy could significantly increase the risk of serious complications, revealed new research by experts from Christian Medical College (CMC) and Hospital, Ludhiana in Punjab, India. Thyroid hormone is generated by the thyroid gland, which is located in the neck.
Thyroid hormone helps regulate the process of turning food into energy. The excess production of this hormone that is called hypothyroidism causes symptoms such as fatigue, constipation, depression and sensitivity to cold temperatures. If left untreated, hypothyroidism, during pregnancy could increase the risk of miscarriage, stillbirth, low birth weight and other serious complications.
Hypothyroidism can be accessed through screening that involves taking a through history of symptoms plus simple blood test to evaluate levels of another hormone known as thyroid stimulating-hormone or TSH, which triggers thyroid-hormone production. Presently, pregnant women with clinical symptoms of hypothyroidism are tested usually. Once diagnosed timely, it can be controlled effectively with medications, which replace natural thyroid hormone with an artificial edition.
As a part of large-scale study, researchers conscripted about one thousand pregnant women in their first trimester of pregnancy, who participated in routine thyroid screening during early pregnancy. Then their measured the level of thyroid functioning with the help of TSA test. Two hundred and sixty three women had mild thyroid dysfunction and five hundred and thirty-three women had normal thyroid function.
The remaining patients were diagnosed with hypothyroidism and withdrawn from the study for treatment. Follow-up of all study participants continued until the completion of pregnancy. Then researchers compared the rates of miscarriage, stillbirth, low birth weight and other serious complication. They found that even mild thyroid dysfunction that did not meet the criterion for hypothyroidism significantly increased the risk of serious problems.
In comparison pregnant women with normal thyroid function, twice the risk for miscarriage, premature labor, low birth weight and seven times higher risk for still birth. Lead author Dr Jubbin Jagan Jacob, an associate professor at CMC, stated these findings add to the now increasing evidence from previous studies that all pregnant women, irrespective of their risk for thyroid problems, probably should be screened for thyroid dysfunction within the first three months of getting pregnant.
The study findings will be presented at The Endocrine Society’s 94th Annual Meeting in Houston.