Neonatal Hyperthyroidism: The Mystery Inside the Mother’s Womb

A woman with hyperthyroidism during pregnancy is most likely to have a risk of passing it on to her baby. This condition is known as fetal thyrotoxicosis or better known as neonatal hyperthyroidism. Even if it rarely happen, it can happen to a new born child with a mother having a history of Grave’s disease or from a mother who had been diagnosed and cured for hyperthyroidism or went through thyroidectomy or radioactive iodine in the past.

Neonatal hyperthyroidism happen when the mother’s antibodies caused the receptor stimulating antibodies to cross over the placenta and then do an over activity there while the fetus is still inside the mother’s womb. Do you know that the higher the levels of the antibody in the mother, the riskier it will be for the baby to have neonatal hyperthyroidism. It’s best to know the sighs of neonatal hyperthyroidism so that you will not worry that your child will have it once he/she is born. Some signs are as follows:

  1. Small size of the head based on the circumference
  2. Prominent forehead
  3. Fetal hydrops or accumulation of fluid
  4. Enlargement of the spleen or liver
  5. Low weight upon birth
  6. Premature birth delivery
  7. High blood pressure at birth
  8. Fast heartbeat
  9. Heart rhythms that are not regular
  10. Restlessness
  11. Irritability
  12. Lack of sleep
  13. Hardness in breathing
  14. Poor appetite
  15. Protruding eyes
  16. Vomiting
  17. Diarrhea

Being a mother who worries so much for her unborn child, one of the most common questions that rise is when does neonatal hyperthyroidism occur? Well, neonatal hyperthyroidism may happen when the mother doesn’t get any amount of antithyroid drug during the time of pregnancy even if she was detected of having hyperthyroidism. If the mother has been said to have normal thyroid function and yet previously cured for having hyperthyroidism the unborn baby may still have neonatal hyperthyroidism.

Though a mother is taking antithyroid medicine for the treatment of hyperthyroidism, the baby is still likely to have it after few days of birth even if the baby was born with normal thyroid levels in the blood. Neonatal hyperthyroidism may show up in few weeks’ time after birth even while the mother is taking an antithyroid drug because the passing of the drug to the placenta of the baby wears of in time especially after giving birth to the baby.

Monitoring of the condition of the mother is essential but what is more important is to monitor the baby because he/she would likely develop hyperthyroidism for babies. Women who suffers from Grave’s disease needs to be monitored especially during pregnancy. This is to provide adequate amount of supplements or drugs that can help the baby inside. The heart rate of the baby should be monitored during pregnancy because that is fatal when the mother is suffering from hyperthyroidism. The heart rate of the baby shouldn’t be over 160 beats per minutes to make sure that the baby is healthy while inside the womb.

It’s best to have a regular ultrasound to check the baby’s condition inside the womb of the mother because ultrasound can help in the early detection of onset of retardation, enlargement of the thyroid between fetus and possible hyperthyroidism that may happen to an unborn child. When the mother reached the 3rd trimester of her pregnancy, TSHR-Sab antibody levels of the body should be measured all the time for every woman especially those with Grave’s disease in the past. Once the levels elevate, it may help a lot in knowing if the unborn child is affected or not.

More Articles