One of the first signs of pregnancy for our great-grandmothers was an increase in the neck associated with increased work and growth of thyroid tissue. This small organ of the endocrine system is extremely important for gestation, not only because it supplies iodine necessary for the fetus, but also because it regulates the process of the formation of the nervous system of the crumbs through the synthesis of thyroid hormones. Disturbances in the functioning of the thyroid gland in the mother, deficiency of thyroid hormones and iodine threatens severe fetal pathology – congenital hypothyroidism. What is the role of this body during pregnancy?
Thyroid gland and conception
The thyroid gland is one of the most important organs of the endocrine system, which along with the sex glands, is directly involved in the processes of reproduction. When the organ’s function decreases – hypothyroidism, conception becomes impossible, infertility is formed, and against the background of an excess of hormones during thyrotoxicosis, the fetus may suffer from malformations and often pregnancy is interrupted.
Throughout pregnancy, the thyroid gland works in an enhanced mode, producing hormones containing iodine, for the body also of the fetus, so that the formation and formation of its thyroid gland takes place fully. If the mother’s thyroid gland malfunctions or during pregnancy she suffered from a pronounced iodine deficiency, the fetus can form a serious endocrine pathology requiring lifelong treatment – congenital hypothyroidism (cretinism). Without constant subsidy of hormones throughout their lives, such children will lag behind in physical and neuro-psychological development, up to the onset of severe mental retardation – debility or cretinism.
Why do you need thyroid hormones during gestation
The thyroid gland, although not related to the sex glands, is actively involved in the process of both conception and gestation. With a deficit of her hormones, if the conception has occurred, the pregnancy often stops or is constantly under threat. This is due to the fact that its hormones, T4 or T3, are the main suppliers of iodine for the fetus and help maintain metabolic processes at a proper level for a pregnant body. If the mother’s body suffers from iodine deficiency, iron compensates in size, trying to increase the production of hormones (an endemic goiter is formed), but gradually resources are depleted, which leads to hypothyroidism.
The mother’s thyroid hormones, during the period when the fetus’s own thyroid gland is only laid down and formed (this is the first half of pregnancy), regulate the metabolic processes of its body, responsible for protein metabolism and redistribution of energy in the tissues. If a woman has a deficiency of hormones, there is no incentive for the fetus’s own gland, the latter cannot fully develop, remains in its infancy, which is why the crumb is born into the world with its hypofunction (it cannot produce its own hormones).
In addition to the thyroid gland, depending on the thyroid-stimulating hormones, there are such organs and systems as the brain of the fetus and spinal cord, the heart and the vascular system, the skeleton and the genitals. If there is a deficiency of thyroid hormones, gross malformations, miscarriages of an early period, and functional deviations in fetal development can form . In the future, thyroid hormones are responsible for the growth and weight gain of the fetus, its maturation to childbirth.
Iodine deficiency during pregnancy
Doctors have long noticed that the lack of nutrition and drinking iodine leads to an increase in the number of children with congenital pathologies of the development of the thyroid gland. Iodine is part of the thyroid hormones, and without his participation, the maternal organism cannot synthesize the required amount of hormones for the sharply increasing needs of her body and fetus. There are a lot of regions endemic for iodine deficiency in Russia, it is practically all territories, except coastal zones. Therefore, today a federal program has been adopted with free provision of all pregnant women with vitamins and mineral components during registration. If during pregnancy the mother regularly takes iodine in the form of nutritional supplements or tablet preparations, this significantly reduces the number of fetal neural tube abnormalities and thyroid pathologies.
Hypothyroidism during gestation
If the thyroid gland functions are suppressed extremely strongly, pregnancy does not usually occur in these conditions with an acute hormone deficiency, infertility is formed due to hypothyroidism. If this is a compensated form of pathology, in which a woman regularly takes hormonal drugs, replacing her own hormones, pregnancy is quite possible, but it can be fraught with certain difficulties. Thus, the lack of hormones can adversely affect the development of the fetus, and therefore, especially in the first half of pregnancy, dose adjustment of injected drugs is needed. In addition, the woman may have to go to the preservation or examination, against the background of subclinical hypothyroidism often there are threats of miscarriage. Adequate selection of hormone replacement therapy and good nutrition, iodine intake correct this problem.
In addition, hypothyroidism can complicate the pregnancy itself, it can occur with toxicosis, weight gain, pressure fluctuations and other troubles. In this regard, future mothers require special monitoring, and pregnancy in women with thyroid abnormalities should be planned, with careful preliminary preparation and dose adjustment of drugs.
If hypofunction thyroid gland made itself felt only against the background of pregnancy, without a full examination and compensation, hypothyroidism threatened with miscarriages in late pregnancy, stillbirth or severe crumbs in development. Children with strabismus, dwarfism or deaf-mutuality, serious problems with intelligence can be born. This happens in untested women who neglected visits to the doctor and ultrasound, as well as those who refused to take vitamins and iodine, mineral supplements during pregnancy.