There is ample evidence that despite an overall improvement of iodine intake, not only in Germany but also in many European countries pregnant woman may be deficient of this trace element.
Healthy pregnant women (n=66) without a thyroid history volunteered for an ultrasound scan of the thyroid and for a blood sample; TSH, free T ¾ and TPO - antibodies were measured of the thyroid.
21 (32%) of the pregnant women exhibited an increased thyroid volume ( > 18 ml); 6 had lumps and 8 cysts. Anti-TPO was elevated ( > 30 IU/ml) in 14 (21%) and this was well correlated with the findings of the ultrasound. 3 women had an elevated TSH ( >3μU/ml), 2 of those had a subclinical hypothyroidism due to a Hashimoto thyreoiditis (HT); 2 pregnant woman were hyperthyroid, 1 with HT's.
Much to our surprise there was a high goiter incidence; the occurrence of Hashimoto's was also higher as expected. An ultrasound screening of the thyroid in early pregnancy is suggested; depending on the scan anti-TPO should be determined at least.
08 - 11 Apr 2002
British Endocrine Societies