Pregnant women with thyroid disorders are at greater risk for premature
delivery and other pregnancy complications, a new study indicates.
Researchers caution that these complications could have both short-term and
long-term health consequences for women and their babies. Thyroid disease occurs
when the thyroid gland - located at the front of the neck - doesn't supply the
proper amount of hormones needed by the body.
"In the United States, at least 80 000 pregnant women each year have thyroid
diseases," study lead author, Dr Tuija Mannisto, of the US National Institute of
Child Health and Human Development (NICHD), said in a news release from the
"These women are at increased risk of having serious adverse pregnancy
outcomes, including hypertension and preterm birth. They also have a higher rate
of labour inductions and other birth interventions," Mannisto explained.
How the study was done
In conducting the study, the researchers examined medical records from more
than 223 000 pregnancies. The investigators found that women with thyroid
conditions were more likely to develop preeclampsia, a complication marked by
protein in the urine and a sharp rise in blood pressure during pregnancy. These
women were also admitted to the intensive care unit more often, were more likely
to develop gestational diabetes and had a higher rate of caesarean
"Women need appropriate thyroid hormone levels to support a healthy
pregnancy, so it is very important to carefully monitor expecting mothers who
have thyroid diseases," said one of the study's authors, Pauline Mendola, from
the NICHD. "We also need more research to identify ways to reduce the risks
these women currently face."
Although the study found an association between having a thyroid condition
and higher risk of pregnancy complications, it did not establish a
The US National Library of Medicine has more about thyroid