Symptoms of Hyperthyroidism during Pregnancy

By  ,  Onlymyhealth editorial team
Sep 04, 2012

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Symptoms of Hyperthyroidism during Pregnancy

Out of 2000 pregnancies, only 1 pregnancy is diagnosed with hyperthyroidism, but its timely treatment is significant for the well-being of the expecting woman and her baby. Delayed treatment of hyperthyroidism can be fatal for both the expectant mother and her foetus. Mild hyperthyroidism or hyperthyroidism in its earliest stage mimics the signs and symptoms of pregnancy, thus at times going unnoticed during pregnancy. Educate yourself about the symptoms of hyperthyroidism during pregnancy to avoid its downsides. [Read: 10 Most Common Pregnancy Symptoms]


Maternal Symptoms of Hyperthyroidism

  • Exophthalmos— Also called proptosis, the eyes appear to bulge out of the face.
  • Despite of increased appetite, you’ll find yourself losing weight.
  • Your heartbeats will be more than 100 beats per minute even at resting period.
  • Fast breathing or even breathlessness at times.
  • Fatigue and nausea.[Read: How to Reduce Nausea during Pregnancy]
  • Increased sweating and intolerance to heat.
  • Diarrhoea.
  • Constipation.
  • You may feel the presence of a painful lump in your neck.
  • Restlessness and increased experiences of stressful situations.  
  • Difficulty in sleeping.
  • Blurred vision.
  • Anxiety and headache.
  • Hypertension, tremors and muscle weakness.


Foetal Symptoms of Hyperthyroidism

Hyperthyroid can be deleterious to the development of your baby. According to the American Thyroid Association, hyperthyroidism during pregnancy can be associated with:

  • foetal tachycardia
  • poor foetal intrauterine growth
  • spontaneous miscarriage
  • stillbirth and
  • congenital birth defects.


In an article titled “Thyroid Storm during Pregnancy: A Medical Emergency", the author Patricia Waltman has said that approximately one per cent of newborns of mothers suffering from hyperthyroidism are diagnosed with thyrotoxicosis, which is caused by thyroid-stimulating immunoglobulins that crosses the placenta and triggers thyroid production in foetus. Symptoms of thyrotoxicosis in foetus are

  • poor feeding
  • vomiting
  • diarrhoea
  • irritability
  • respiratory distress
  • high blood pressure
  • heart failure
  • jaundice [Read: Signs and Symptoms of Jaundice in Newborns]
  • low platelets
  • enlarged spleen
  • and heart arrhythmias.

Symptoms of thyrotoxicosis appear after five to ten days of birth after which the doctor will administer anti-thyroid medications to treat the condition.

Thyroid Storm


Although, thyroid storm is a rare condition, which occurs due to hyperthyroidism during pregnancy, out of all the total cases, it proves to be fatal in almost 20 to 30 per cent cases. Labour, delivery and stress can lead to occurrence of thyroid storm. This disease is treated using anti-thyroid medications and you may experience the following symptoms:

  • high body temperature
  • rapid heart rate
  • sweating
  • agitation and irritability
  • vomiting
  • abdominal pain
  • nausea and confusion.

In rare cases, thyroid storm can precipitate cardiovascular collapse, which is potential to cause maternal death.

If you notice any of the aforementioned symptoms, let your gynaecologist know about it. Your doctor will advise you to have a blood test done to diagnose hyperthyroidism.


Read more articles on Pregnancy.


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