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Maternal Hypothyroidism May Increase the Risk of ADHD in Offspring

Maternal Hypothyroidism May Increase the Risk of ADHD in Offspring

The thyroid plays a significant role in pregnancy. It makes hormones that enable your body to function and play a key role in the development of an early pregnancy. Maternal thyroid hormone works for the mother and the early fetus. The maternal source provides reinforcement until the fetal thyroid system is developed and starts to function. If a thyroid deficiency is untreated during early pregnancy, it can be associated with more severe complications with the pregnancy, including miscarriage, premature birth, and stillbirth. Recently it was found that maternal hypothyroidism may increase the risk of ADHD in offspring.

Hypothyroidism and ADHD in Offspring

A recent study published in the American Journal of Perinatology suggests that insufficient thyroid hormone during pregnancy may contribute to the development of attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (AD/HD) in offspring. This study included 330,000 children born between 2000 and 2016. Children in the study were followed until age 17. Low thyroid hormone levels in the first trimester were associated with a 28% increased risk of subsequent development of AD/HD.

Thyroid Levels and Pregnancy

We know that adequate maternal thyroid function is very important for the developing fetus and may impact the risk of miscarriage. This study suggests that maternal thyroid levels may influence offspring well beyond the pregnancy itself.

As a medical community, we are still trying to better understand the association between thyroid levels and a multitude of obstetrical and neonatal outcomes. The literature on this subject is confusing, and we still do not know if adverse outcomes can be prevented by treating women with thyroid hormones. Regardless, for patients struggling with fertility issues or miscarriages, thyroid assessment is an important part of prenatal care.

Contact Us

At Fertility Centers of New England, many patients come to us because they are struggling with infertility and/or miscarriages. We are proud to have helped thousands of patients realize their dream of becoming a parent. We want each of our patients to have the safest, healthiest pregnancy possible. If you have questions about how maternal hypothyroidism may increase the risk of ADHD in offspring or your fertility, please contact us for an initial consultation. 

Peltier MR, Fassett MJ, Chiu VY, Getahun D. Maternal Hypothyroidism Increases the Risk of Attention-Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder in the Offspring. Am J Perinatol. 2020 Oct 21.