"These findings add to the now increasing evidence from previous studies that all pregnant women, irrespective of their risk for thyroid problems, probably should be screened for thyroid dysfunction within the first three months of getting pregnant," said study lead author Jubbin Jagan Jacob, M.D., associate professor at Christian Medical College and Hospital, Ludhiana in Punjab, India.
Thyroid hormone is produced by the thyroid gland, which is located in the neck, and helps regulate the process of turning food into energy. Excessively low hormone production, or hypothyroidism, may cause symptoms like fatigue, sensitivity to cold temperatures, constipation, and depression.
During pregnancy untreated, hypothyroidism is associated with an increased risk of miscarriage, stillbirth, low birth weight, and other serious complications. Although previous research has suggested that women with moderate thyroid dysfunction, or subclinical hypothyroidism, also are more likely to suffer complications, the level of risk was uncertain.
In this study, investigators found that even mild thyroid dysfunction that did not meet the criteria for hypothyroidism greatly increased the risk of serious problems. Compared to pregnant women with normal thyroid function, the risk was:
- doubled for miscarriage (¡Ü20 weeks of pregnancy), premature labor, and low birth weight
- seven times greater for still birth
Screening for hypothyroidism involves taking a thorough history of symptoms, as well as a simple blood test to measure levels of another hormone, called thyroid-stimulating-hormone, or TSH, that promotes thyroid-hormone production. At this time, only pregnant women with clinical symptoms of hypothyroidism are routinely tested. Once diagnosed, the condition can be effectively controlled with medication that replaces natural thyroid hormone with a synthetic version.
Investigators recruited 1,000 pregnant women in their first trimester of pregnancy for the study, as part of a larger project of routine thyroid screening during early pregnancy. They then measured the level of thyroid functioning using the TSA test.
Normal thyroid function was identified in 533 patients, and 263 had mild dysfunction. The remaining patients were diagnosed with hypothyroidism and withdrawn from the study for treatment. Follow-up continued until the completion of pregnancy.
Jacob and his team then compared rates of miscarriage, stillbirth, premature labor, and low birth weight. They also analyzed several other complications, as well, but these did not differ significantly between women with normal versus moderately low thyroid functioning.
"Our conclusions are that all pregnant women need to be screened for thyroid dysfunction at their first visit," Jacob said. "This should form the basis for the national societies to make a change in their guidelines." Christian Medical College and Hospital funded the study.
Aaron Lohr | EurekAlert!
'Living bandages': NUST MISIS scientists develop biocompatible anti-burn nanofibers
16.02.2018 | National University of Science and Technology MISIS
New process allows tailor-made malaria research
16.02.2018 | Eberhard Karls Universität Tübingen
For the first time, a team of researchers at the Max-Planck Institute (MPI) for Polymer Research in Mainz, Germany, has succeeded in making an integrated circuit (IC) from just a monolayer of a semiconducting polymer via a bottom-up, self-assembly approach.
In the self-assembly process, the semiconducting polymer arranges itself into an ordered monolayer in a transistor. The transistors are binary switches used...
Breakthrough provides a new concept of the design of molecular motors, sensors and electricity generators at nanoscale
Researchers from the Institute of Organic Chemistry and Biochemistry of the CAS (IOCB Prague), Institute of Physics of the CAS (IP CAS) and Palacký University...
For photographers and scientists, lenses are lifesavers. They reflect and refract light, making possible the imaging systems that drive discovery through the microscope and preserve history through cameras.
But today's glass-based lenses are bulky and resist miniaturization. Next-generation technologies, such as ultrathin cameras or tiny microscopes, require...
Scientists from the University of Zurich have succeeded for the first time in tracking individual stem cells and their neuronal progeny over months within the intact adult brain. This study sheds light on how new neurons are produced throughout life.
The generation of new nerve cells was once thought to taper off at the end of embryonic development. However, recent research has shown that the adult brain...
Theoretical physicists propose to use negative interference to control heat flow in quantum devices. Study published in Physical Review Letters
Quantum computer parts are sensitive and need to be cooled to very low temperatures. Their tiny size makes them particularly susceptible to a temperature...
15.02.2018 | Event News
13.02.2018 | Event News
12.02.2018 | Event News
19.02.2018 | Information Technology
19.02.2018 | Ecology, The Environment and Conservation
19.02.2018 | Life Sciences