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Testing Thyroid Function in Pregnancy

By Elaine Moore on 1/3/2012

Routine testing for thyroid dysfunction in pregnancy makes sense. Even slightly low levels can be detrimental to pregnancy and proper fetal development.

Researchers at Quest Diagnostics report that about 1/4 of all pregnant women are tested for thyroid function. Of these, about 15 percent of patients show evidence of hypothyroidism. Numerous studies have shown than hypothyroidism can increase the risk for miscarriage, premature birth, and a lower IQ for the baby. 

The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists recommends only testing pregnant women with a history of autoimmune disease or who have symptoms of thyroid dysfunction. The American Thyroid Association recomends testing all pregnant women who have had thyroid problems in previous pregnancies, have enlarged thyroids or who are 30 years old or older or who are obese.

In my opinion, all pregnant women should be tested as well as women who are planning to become pregnant if they've not been tested previously.

Women being treated for hyperthyroidism should also have regular tests to make sure that their treatment is not causing their thyroid levels to fall too low.

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