Pregnant Women Have a Higher Risk for Thyroid Disorders
The thyroid, or the thyroid gland, is a butterfly-shaped gland located at the base of the neck. The main function of the thyroid is to produce thyroid hormone from iodine and thyroxine, which controls the metabolic processes to convert food into energy and regulates body temperature.
Thyroid diseases may occur when the thyroid gland is underactive or does not produce enough thyroid hormone (hypothyroidism) or produces excessive amounts of thyroid hormones (hyperthyroidism). Women, particularly during pregnancy, are more likely to experience hypothyroidism than men because the female sexual hormones can cause the thyroid gland to not function properly.
Because it regulates the body' s metabolism, the excessive amounts of thyroid hormones can affect all other organs especially the heart. The excessive amounts can also cause a rapid heartbeat leading to hypermetabolism. As a result, patients show up underweight, sweat frequently, experience palpitation, have prominent eyes, and deal with problems in their reproductive hormones. Aside from affecting the pregnant women, it may also cause heart defect on the conceived fetus.
In normal pregnant women, the thyroid hormone level can also be higher, because pregnancy increases the body' s metabolism and hormone production. Therefore, the hormone in women with thyroid disorders should be controlled, particularly during pregnancy, and restored to a normal level.
Hypothyroidism frequently results in fetal death, premature birth, hypertension during pregnancy, placental damage, and problems in a newborn such as mental retardation and delayed growth. While, most severe cases of hyperthyroidism can lead to 'thyroid storm' . And when left untreated, thyroid storm is almost invariably fatal.
Thus, the baby delivered by a mother suffering from thyroid disorders should be checked for the disorders soon after birth. If the result indicates that the baby has thyroid disorders, the baby should receive a therapy before one month of age in order to have a normal growth like other normal children.