Graves’ Disease and Pregnancy

Dr. Raymond Douglas sits down with Dr. Pejman Cohan, an endocrinologist in Beverly Hills, to discuss Graves’ disease and pregnancy. The two physicians discuss things such as thyroid management during pregnancy and whether or not the baby is at risk for also having Graves’ disease.


Thyroid Management During Pregnancy

Graves’ disease is an autoimmune condition and pregnancy is generally a state of a down-regulated immune system. When a woman has Graves’ disease and becomes pregnant, a lot of times the condition actually gets better because the immune system is not as active. This is not always the case, however. So women who are pregnant need to be monitored very closely to make sure both the mom and the fetus are healthy. When Dr. Cohan has Graves’ disease patients who are pregnant, he works very closely with their obstetrician

Can I take my thyroid medications while I am pregnant?

This is a very controversial topic. In general, the consensus is that during the early part of the pregnancy (first trimester), if the woman needs to be on an anti-thyroid medication, the preferred choice is PTU. Then as the pregnancy continues we can change them over to Tapazole. Please understand, this is not a hard and fast rule. Different endocrinologists have different opinions. But Dr. Cohan states that they can all agree that when you are pregnant, the medication needs to be reduced and thyroid function tests need to be done to monitor the levels of the disease.

Will Graves’ Disease be Passed on to the Baby?

Since Graves’ disease is an autoimmune problem and there are antibodies that are released in the bloodstream of the mom, some of those antibodies can cross over into the placenta and now get directed against the fetal thyroid and cause the fetus to develop hyperthyroidism. This condition is called neonatal hyperthyroidism. We want to check the antibodies, generally in the second or third trimester, to see if we can find a high level of those antibodies. If we do, then we refer the mother to a high-risk obstetrician who can really monitor the fetus. These obstetricians can do a sonogram and evaluate the fetal thyroid and make decisions about adjusting the medications for the mom.

Graves’ Disease and Pregnancy – Contact Us

If you have Graves’ disease and become pregnant, please feel free to reach out to us for support. We can help refer you to excellent endocrinologists, like Dr. Cohan.

Posted in: Thyroid Eye Disease

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