Study finds link between thyroid trouble and pregnancy problems

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If you’re having trouble getting pregnant, you might ask your doctor to check your thyroid.

A study published Wednesday in the Endocrine Society’s Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism found that 1 in 5 women with a history of miscarriage or subfertility also had mild thyroid problems. Subfertility is a prolonged time span of trying to become pregnant.

“It is important to establish whether treatment of mild thyroid abnormalities can improve pregnancy outcomes, given the high proportion of women who could potentially be affected,” Rima Dhillon-Smith, of the University of Birmingham and the Birmingham Women’s and Children’s NHS Foundation Trust in Birmingham, U.K., said in Science Daily.

The thyroid gland plays a major role in the metabolism, growth and development of the human body. It helps to regulate many body functions by constantly releasing a steady amount of thyroid hormones into the bloodstream. If the body needs more energy in certain situations — for instance, during pregnancy — the thyroid gland produces more hormones.

This study was conducted across 49 hospitals in the U.K. over five years. The researchers studied more than 19,000 women with a history of miscarriage or subfertility who were tested for thyroid function.

“They found up to one in five women had mild thyroid dysfunction, especially those with an elevated body mass index and of Asian ethnicity, but overt thyroid disease was rare,” according to Science Daily. “Women who suffered multiple miscarriages were no more likely to have thyroid abnormalities compared to women who have conceived naturally with a history of one miscarriage.”


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