-- Mary Elizabeth Dallas
WEDNESDAY, May 29 (HealthDay News) -- 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 U.S. National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD), said in a news release from the Endocrine Society.
"These women are at increased risk of having serious adverse pregnancy outcomes, including hypertension and preterm birth. They also have a higher rate of labor inductions and other birth interventions," Mannisto explained.
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
"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 cause-and-effect relationship.
The study appears in the current issue of the
Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism.
The U.S. National Library of Medicine has more about
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