Often infants appear normal at birth but deteriorate over several months. Infants can have severe retardation, deafness and muteness. This is the most common cause of mental retardation worldwide. If delay in treatment of congenital hypothyroidism is beyond 3 months, the chance of normal development is low.
Hypothyroidism in pregnancy is a condition that should be recognized and treated so severe maternal and fetal complications can be avoided.
If thyroid disease exists prior to pregnancy, women should be followed closely and adjustments made to medication throughout the pregnancy. Care should be taken not to miss postpartum thyroid problems which can be transient but have a tendency to reoccur in subsequent pregnancies.
Thyroid dysfunction during pregnancy, both overt and sub-clinical, can predict later thyroid disease. There is also a corresponding six fold risk of diabetes later on in life.
On the other hand, most pregnant women and their babies will not experience significant problems if the hypothyroidism is mild to moderate and, if properly treated, the pregnancy can be expected to progress normally. When treatment is complete, most women feel much better than before their treatment and are able to do more and to enjoy the activities of their daily lives.
Dr. Brown, founder of Beauté de Maman, is a board-certified member of the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology, a member of the American Medical Association, the Fairfield County Medical Association, Yale Obstetrical and Gynecological Society and the Women's Medical Association of Fairfield County. She is a magna cum laude graduate of Tufts University, completed her medical training at George Washington University Medical Center and completed her internship and residency in obstetrics and gynecology at Yale-New Haven Hospital. Dr. Brown has a busy obstetrical practice in Stamford, Connecticut and, as a clinical attending, actively teaches residents from Stamford Hospital and medical students from Columbia Presbyterian Hospital in New York.
Copyright © Michele Brown. Permission to republish granted to Pregnancy.org, LLC.