Research have shown that hypothyroidism during pregnancy can significantly affect the child’s psychological development and result in low I.Q. The thyroid hormones are responsible for metabolism, growth and development, but the thyroid gland of the fetus usually does not come into action until the middle trimester of pregnancy. Hence, the baby has to depend upon the mother. But if the mother is suffering from hypothyroidism the lack of hormones can affect the psychological development of the baby.
In a study the I.Q. levels of children between the ages of 5-9 years was measured. The researchers compared the children born to 124 women with normal thyroid gland with children born to 62 women with underactive thyroid gland. It was observed that the children born to women with hypothyroid did not perform too well on the various intelligence and IQ tests used for measurement with about 19% of the children scoring I.Q. levels of 85 or less (normal I.Q. level is 100). Experts say that an I.Q. level of 85 can mean a significant impairment for children and they may face developmental challenges (problems with attention, language, reading).
The study also showed that women who did not get treated for their hypothyroid state during pregnancy are almost 4 times more at risk of having children with low I.Q.
Hence it is important that all pregnant women should be screened early for hypothyroidism and adequately treated for the condition.