Extending the number of pregnant women given the common drug levothyroxine to boost thyroid hormone levels may lead to a reduced number of stillbirths, early caesarean sections and low-weight babies.
2-3% of pregnant women have mild hypothyroidism, meaning they have positive antibodies and mild elevation of TSH. This can be treated with a hormone replacement drug called levothyroxine.
Levothyroxine had lowered the risk of giving birth to low weight babies, and early caesarean. Untreated women with mild hypothyroidism were more likely to have a stillbirth than women with normal thyroid function and no stillbirths occurred in the treated group. However, there was no significant difference between the other obstetric outcomes or when all outcomes were combined.
Comment; All pregnant women should be tested for thyroid antibodies and TSH when they are considering a pregnancy.
Richard Guttler MD,FACE,ECNU
A press release from the Society of Endocrinology UK.