Should Pregnant Women Be Routinely Tested for Thyroid Problems?

I came across this article today:


It's pretty compelling, and after reading it I think it would be a good idea for pregnant women to be tested for thyroid problems.  I've never had any thyroid problems personally that I'm aware of, but I haven't been tested either.  The article states that thyroid problems have been linked to such complications as miscarriage, high blood pressure, preeclampsia, gestational diabetes, premature delivery and low birth weight babies.  These are common complications, and I'm always looking for ways to help women stay low risk.

I'm skeptical about unnecessary testing and screening during pregnancy, and I think each woman should weigh her options carefully before deciding which to do.

I'm curious if any of you have had thyroid problems and how it's affected your pregnancy if at all.  Do you think routine thyroid tests during pregnancy would be a good thing?

Tags: pregnancy, routine, screening, test, thyroid

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my doc runs a tsh yearly as part of my annual medical... i think its an important test but not just for pregnancy.
I think you're right. Thyroid problems are common with women, and I think it's important to be tested at any time, not just during pregnancy. I do think it's something that should be discussed at prenatal visits, especially because of the increased risk during pregnancy. Something along the lines of "Have you had your thyroid tested? Maybe we should check, just in case".
My doctor also does this test yearly. I have a hypoactive thyroid and with my pregnancy I just had to get it retested every 3 months to see if my perscription needed to change.
I don't think standardized testing is the way to go. The TSH test can be subjective. I read an article a little while back written by an endocrinologist that indicated that is is possible, and somewhat frequent for an individual who has a thyroid condition to actually test negative on the lab test. Their recommended method of diagnosis was a mix of lab results and an extensive questionnaire. They based their diagnosis more heavily on the symptomology than the labs. I've got a thyroid that is between 3 and 5 times the natural size, to the point of making me choke on food, my labs come back negative... and yet my thyroid is abnormal and does not function at an optimum level. I have chosen to treat mine with a natural suppliment, which is beneficial for me.
You bring up a good point Lee-Ann. I'm thinking maybe the questionnaire can be given to pregnant women to fill out at a prenatal visit. If a woman is proactive about her health and has already been tested and screened for thyroid problems then it shouldn't be too much of a concern, but for those who are unaware of the risk there is a definite need to catch those cases where the woman may be completely unaware that there is a problem. One thing the article above mentioned is that thyroid problems can often be present without any obvious symptoms. Some of the symptoms could also be erroneously contributed to simple pregnancy complaints and not taken seriously enough.
I read an article recently linking low thyroid hormone levels and fetal malpresentations--I wish I could remember where I read it! (I'll look it up tonight) Anyway, it basically stated that women with hypothyroidism were more likely to have posterior babies at time of delivery than women with normal thyroid function. Interesting!
I'd love to see that if you find it.
Okay--I've been searching the web and PubMed.org for about an hour now, and of course, I can't find the article (I swear I didn't make it up! LOL) But I did find a few other interesting articles regarding maternal thyroid levels and breech presentation, which I've included here:

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19832853?ordinalpos=1&itool=...$=relatedarticles&logdbfrom=pubmed

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15327606?ordinalpos=1&itool=...$=relatedarticles&logdbfrom=pubmed

Hope these make some sense!
They are abstracts, but have a reasonably easy conclusions to decipher.
Oh, wait! I found the article! I knew I wasn't imagining it--HA! Here it is:

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19320651?ordinalpos=1&itool=...$=relatedarticles&logdbfrom=pubmed
Thank you Katie! My last baby was breech, and this topic has me thinking I should have my thyroid levels tested. I really appreciate all the input.
How interesting! I discovered my thyroid problem after my first homebirthed baby was a little over one year old. My adrenals crashed as a result. I had no prior knowledge of hypo symptoms. My first baby, born naturally in a hospital (but c-section was threatened more than once) was posterior!
i got tested a few months after having my son when i wasnt loseing weight but yet eating right and running and MAJOR hair loss. my OB this time around (im 11 weeks) checks my levels every visit and adjusts my meds to keep it in line. so far no issues just have to test and make sure im not really out of wack. oh and im hypo not hyper :)

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