Debate on Thyroid Checks During Pregnancy

A debate is brewing in the physician community : Should all pregnant women should be screened for thyroid function? And  should women with milder cases of hypothyroidism be diagnosed and treated? The problem is that there is little evidence regarding the effectiveness of treatment for milder cases. Scientists are unsure whether diagnoses and subsequent treatment sufficiently help pregnant patients or, instead, waste money on blood testing and thyroid medication.

I was first reviewer for a HNR review on a recent Quest Diagnostics study that looked at records and surveys from half a million pregnant women. The AP ran the story.

Overall, the story does an excellent job weighing the pros and cons of thyroid screening and treatment in pregnant women.

Our Review Summary

The article gives extensive context to the recent Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism study and refers to other research done in the field.

Why This Matters

The article effectively breaks down and explains a complex debate in the physician community – whether all pregnant women should be screened for thyroid function and whether women with milder cases of hypothyroidism should be diagnosed and treated. The story says this will “add pressure” for science to settle this issue, but that pressure already exists from endocrinologists and obstetricians – with, as the study shows, about 1 in 5 pregnant women being tested from 2005-8. []

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