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Can I continue my pregnancy with a high TSH level?

Can I continue my pregnancy with a high TSH level?

The following is an actual conversation between an iCliniq user and a doctor that has been reviewed and published as a Premium Q&A.

Medically reviewed by

iCliniq medical review team

Published At September 27, 2017
Reviewed AtJuly 6, 2023

Patient's Query

Hello doctor,

Recently, I got conceived. My latest thyroid profile report showed the T3 and T4 to be normal and the TSH levels were abnormal at 22.96. We have heard that this TSH value affects the brain development of the newborn and also the newborn will not be mentally good. This is bothering us a lot and now we are in dilemma of going ahead or getting it terminated. Please share us your valuable thoughts on this. Currently, I am taking Thyroxine 50 mg.


Welcome to icliniq.com.

Yes, you are right. Hypothyroidism can affect the fetal brain development, especially in early pregnancy. Thyroid hormone is normally very important for many functions of the body. It helps in the early development of the fetus. The brain is one of the parts of early organ development. In early pregnancy, fetus mainly depends on mother's thyroid level because fetus itself cannot produce up to around 11 to 12 weeks (three months). There is no data available whether you have taken treatment early and adequately. But yes, there is data that hypothyroidism can affect brain development and function in baby permanently and whatever damage occurs is irreversible.

If you are taking Thyroxine (Levothyroxine) 50 mg and the level is this high, then you need to increase the dose. And, if you have started treatment just now, then continue and repeat according to the doctor. As far as termination is concerned, that is totally the couple's call. If you are prepared to take care of a mentally handicapped baby and related problems for the rest of life, then you can definitely continue. If you are not prepared for that, then you can go for termination. First, control thyroid level and thentry for pregnancy after you have a normal thyroid level. You will have to take tablets for hypothyroidism for the rest of your life. Only dose adjustment will be required time to time according to the thyroid level. So, the last choice is yours. You know what can happen. If you are ready for it, then go for it and do whatever you have to minimize that. Get treated for hypothyroidism more aggressively and control as early as possible.

Patient's Query

Thank you doctor,

The doctor whom we met told that I can continue the pregnancy. However, she has told me to go for a scan after two weeks and check for the heartbeat. If the heartbeat is normal, then we can continue the pregnancy. Otherwise, we will have to get it terminated. Will the rise in thyroid level definitely affect baby's mental condition? What if we treat hypothyroidism and continue the pregnancy, will it still be a problem? Please advise.


Welcome back to icliniq.com.

In hypothyroidism, due to the low level of thyroid hormone, it can affect total fetal development including the brain development. The other important organ to be affected is the heart. It may also affect many other systems. Sonographically, normal heartbeat is not a sign of healthy baby. You can see brain also in sonography but, we cannot predict how it will work. We will come to know whether the brain functions well or not only after the birth and specifically, after the baby grows up. Hypothyroidism can cause abortion also. Hence, your doctor has asked for a repeat scan to see whether the fetus is developing well or not. But, as I said no one can tell whether all organs are functioning well while the baby is inside the mother and especially in early pregnancy.

There is a major chance that baby may get affected. But, by saying that I am also saying that there is a minor chance of the baby developing normally if you get treated aggressively and ultimate decision comes to you both. Let me explain in detail some facts. There is 70 to 80% chance of affected baby and 20 to 30 % chance of a normal baby. It can be either side. So, the decision comes to you whether you both are prepared for both the thing. Like whatever happens either affected or not, you are going to care about the child, then go for it. If you are not ready to take care of a mentally handicapped child then just imagine the life you are going to give to that child. So, think of everything and decide.

Same symptoms don't mean you have the same problem. Consult a doctor now!

Dr. Mavani Jimesh Himatbhai
Dr. Mavani Jimesh Himatbhai

Obstetrics and Gynecology

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