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Mild Thyroid Deficiency Can Cause Serious Problems in Pregnancy

Whether to test every pregnant woman's blood for thyroid deficiency is controversial, yet even a mildly underactive thyroid--too mild to cause symptoms--may cause serious problems during pregnancy, such as premature birth or babies born with lower IQs. A sluggish thyroid can also cause a miscarriage. Obstetricians say there isn't enough evidence yet to warrant testing all 4-million-plus pregnant women each year to find the roughly 2.5 percent thought to have asymptomatic hypothyroidism. But the American Thyroid Association is pushing the government to fund such research now, saying potentially thousands could be affected. Now specialists have come up with a compromise: a call to test women who are at high risk for thyroid disease, before they conceive or when they are in very early pregnancy, while pushing for major studies to settle whether even more should be checked.

So who's at high risk?

  • Women who have thyroid disease in the family
  • Whomen who themselves have a history of thyroid problems or other autoimmune disorders such as Type 1 diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis or lupus

Duluth News Tribune May 10, 2004

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