Miscarriage May Be a Symptom of Thyroid Problems

By Temma Ehrenfeld  @temmaehenfeld
September 27, 2023
Miscarriage May Be a Symptom of Thyroid Problems

Miscarriages may be a symptom of thyroid problems. Don’t panic. Up to 60 percent of conceptions fail during the first three months, and treatment can be simple.

It happens all the time. You miss your period and may even have a positive result on a pregnancy stick, but the pregnancy doesn’t last. Don’t panic. Up to 60 percent of conceptions fail during the first three months. Often you never knew you were pregnant. You may simply be more aware of those failed conceptions.

It’s also true that a miscarriage may be a symptom of thyroid problems. The small gland, shaped like a butterfly, lies low in front of your windpipe, where you normally can’t feel it. The thyroid regulates your metabolism, heart and nervous system, weight, body temperature, and many other processes in your body, releasing thyroxine (called “T4”) and other hormones.

Your body needs more of those hormones during pregnancy. If your thyroid isn’t up to the challenge, called hypothyroidism, treatment could help you avoid miscarriages and other pregnancy complications. Too much thyroid hormone (hyperthyroidism) is dangerous for a baby as well.


YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE: Chances of Miscarriage


According to the National Institutes of Medicine, you suffer from recurrent pregnancy loss if you’ve lost at least two pregnancies within the first 20 weeks.

Looking for thyroid problems in women

Some women ask their doctors to test their thyroid function as soon as they decide to try to get pregnant. Don’t hesitate if you have type 1 diabetes, any other autoimmune problem, or a personal or family history of thyroid disease.

It’s also a good idea if you haven’t been feeling well, with unexplained symptoms. Many women fall in a gray area, with common issues like weight gain, fatigue, and trouble conceiving.

Up to 60 percent of Americans may suffer from a thyroid condition without knowing it. As your pregnancy progresses, thyroid symptoms can easily seem like normal side effects of pregnancy. That’s one reason to get tested early.

Symptoms of thyroid problems


If you have hypothyroidism, your gland doesn’t produce enough hormones. You may:

  • Be constipated
  • Be sensitive to heat or cold
  • Have dry skin, gain weight
  • Feel sore in your muscles or joints
  • Suffer from heavy or irregular periods
  • Find your hair thinning

You may also feel continually fatigued and depressed or become forgetful.

Untreated hypothyroidism also increases your risk of premature birth, preeclampsia, bleeding after birth, and anemia.

The good news is that the condition responds to medication, which is safe to take while you’re pregnant and dramatically lowers the risks. You should take your pills separately from any iron or calcium supplements, which can interfere with their action.

Levothyroxine sodium (you might see the brand names Synthroid, Levoxyl, or Levothroid) is a synthetic version of “T4,” thyroxine. The drugs Cytomel, Triostat, and Thryrolar contain other thyroid hormones.

You’ll get your TSH, or thyroid stimulating hormone, levels checked every six weeks or so, once your levels fall into a normal range.


If you have hyperthyroidism, your gland produces too many hormones. You may also lose weight and feel weak. You are more likely to be irritable or anxious than depressed. You may have vision problems or eye irritation. You might feel a heart flutter or suddenly become short of breath. Those symptoms can be normal during pregnancy, but you might want to check them out, especially if you’ve had two confirmed miscarriages.

About one percent of Americans have Graves’ disease, an autoimmune condition that causes too much thyroid hormone. It may emerge for the first time during your first trimester of pregnancy, often improve in the second and third trimesters, then flare up again after delivery.

Your doctor will monitor a mild case of hyperthyroidism to make sure it doesn’t get worse, since it is dangerous for you and the fetus.

Anti-thyroid drugs, if you need them, should stabilize your hormones. They do present some risk to your baby. To prevent them from affecting the baby’s thyroid gland, your doctors will use the lowest possible dose and most likely lower the dose once your tests show that you’ve reached a desirable level.

Thyroid testing

The tests won’t hurt you. In a review of research, the prestigious Cochrane group analyzed results from two high-quality clinical trials and concluded that testing all pregnant women didn’t reduce pregnancy complications, although more women were treated.

If you get tested, you’ll need at least two kinds of tests for an accurate diagnosis.  


YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE: Conceiving After Pregnancy Loss


September 27, 2023

Reviewed By:  

Janet O’Dell, RN