Medically reviewed on July 18, 2023 by Amy Harris, MS, RN, CNM. To give you technically accurate, evidence-based information, content published on the Everlywell blog is reviewed by credentialed professionals with expertise in medical and bioscience fields.
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Whether you’ve already been diagnosed with thyroid issues or only suspect that your symptoms are related to a thyroid condition, existing health challenges are sometimes magnified while trying to conceive.
So, can a woman with thyroid problems get pregnant? Yes—but women working through thyroid challenges can encounter unexpected hurdles on their fertility journeys.  Thyroid dysfunction could also be the underlying condition behind fertility problems you may experience.
In this article, we’ll explore numerous topics related to pregnancy and thyroid issues. We’ll discuss how thyroid function impacts menstruation, fertility, and pregnancy — as well as how hypothyroidism and hyperthyroidism can impact soon-to-be parents. We’ll also answer some frequently asked questions about thyroid issues and fertility to help you navigate the conception process while managing a thyroid condition.
Your thyroid gland is a small organ located in your throat that produces a wide variety of hormones—chemical messengers directing essential body functions such as how your body uses energy (your metabolism). [2,3] Diseases of the thyroid cause it to make either too much (hyperthyroidism) or too little of thyroid hormone (hypothyroidism)Let’s explore how thyroid issues can impact your reproductive health.
Thyroid issues in women, including those assigned female at birth (AFAB), are more common than in cisgender men: One in eight women will experience thyroid dysfunction in their lifetime.  Since your thyroid produces a wide variety of hormones, you might experience menstruation changes or issues if you’re struggling with thyroid disease.
There are a few important things to note about thyroid issues and menstruation :
Since thyroid function and the menstrual cycle are closely linked, the latter can also impact your ability to get pregnant.  Why? Because changes to your menstrual cycle (and your ovary function) can impact ovulation.
Ovulation occurs when an egg is released from the ovaries and moves into the fallopian tubes, where sperm can fertilize it—a critical step in the fertility process.5 After ovulation, most people experience one of three outcomes:
What's the link between thyroid and fertility problems? Since thyroid hormone production can impact both ovarian function and menstrual cycles. By changing the timing of ovulation and available egg’s ability to implant, thyroid disorders can delay the time it takes for someone to conceive. 
Some pregnant people don’t experience symptoms of a thyroid problem until they are pregnant..1 There are two explanations for why this happens. First, pregnancy puts increased stress on your thyroid. Two hormones higher in pregnancy (human chorionic gonadotropin or HCG and estrogen, impact thyroid function, potentially taxing your underactive or overactive thyroid gland for the first time. 
Second, diagnosing thyroid conditions during pregnancy can be difficult because many of the symptoms of the two most common thyroid disorders (hypothyroidism and hyperthyroidism) are also possible pregnancy-related symptoms. 
People with hyperthyroidism have an overactive thyroid—they produce more thyroid hormones than needed.1 Hyperthyroidism appears in every 1 to 4 pregnancies in the USA.  Graves’ disease, an autoimmune condition caused by a combination of environmental triggers and genetic factors, is the most common cause of hyperthyroidism in women of childbearing age.  Very high levels of the pregnancy hormone hCG, seen in severe forms of morning sickness (hyperemesis gravidarum), may cause transient hyperthyroidism in early pregnancy.  The most common symptoms of an overactive thyroid, or hyperthyroidism, (regardless of pregnancy status) include :
Pregnant people with hyperthyroidism may have trouble gaining enough weight during pregnancy. Often this lag in pregnancy weight gain can clue healthcare providers into a possible thyroid disorder. 
Here’s a snapshot of average weight gain during pregnancy (for single-child births) based on your general weight status before getting pregnant :
If any of these symptoms sound familiar, or you know you have a family history of hyperthyroidism or Graves’ disease, make sure to talk to your provider. Hyperthyroidism can lead to miscarriage, low birth weight, preeclampsia (a life-threatening condition for mothers), stillbirths, birth defects, and premature birth. [1,7] Fortunately, when healthcare providers can prepare for treating hyperthyroidism or Graves’ during pregnancy, monitoring of the pregnancy, fetus, and even treatment can reduce these risks. [7,9]
People with hypothyroidism (both before and during pregnancy) have an underactive thyroid gland, meaning they don’t produce enough thyroid hormone. [1,6] Some of the telltale symptoms of underactive thyroid, or hypothyroidism, include:
Hypothyroidism can be difficult to identify during pregnancy for two reasons [3,6]:
Hashimoto’s disease is the most common cause of hypothyroidism in pregnancy.  Hashimoto’s disease is an autoimmune disease like Graves’ disease in which your immune system makes antibodies that attack your own thyroid, causing inflammation and damage. This inflammation and damage make it harder for your thyroid to make the thyroid hormones and levels necessary for a healthy pregnancy (Barbor, ATA).
Hypothyroidism can also cause your body to make too much of another hormone called prolactin. Prolactin is the hormone that tells your body to make breast milk once you deliver your baby. Too much prolactin (as with hypothyroidism), can block ovulation, making it impossible for you to get pregnant. 
Untreated hypothyroidism in pregnancies can lead to [1,6]:
Pregnant people with severe or untreated hyperthyroidism may have problems with their placenta, postpartum hemorrhage (bleeding), congestive heart failure. 
Hypothyroidism can also have severe and life-altering consequences for the fetus. Thyroid hormones are necessary for normal brain development. If pregnant people with hypothyroidism do not receive treatment (replacement of thyroid hormones through medication during pregnancy), their babies may have severe cognitive, neurological, and developmental abnormalities.6 Routine screening of pregnant people’s thyroid hormone levels throughout pregnancy can help safeguard against such devastating consequences of hypothyroidism during pregnancy. 
If you’ve had thyroid challenges and want to get pregnant, you likely have many questions. Everlywell is here to answer some of the most common questions those trying to conceive (TTC) have about thyroid health:
Research shows that treating thyroid disorders (either hypo- or hyperthyroidism) improves fertility and results in successful pregnancies. [10, 11] For instance, in a 2012 study of 394 women struggling with hypothyroidism-related infertility, nearly 80% of the participants conceived within one year after starting hypothyroidism treatment. 
Despite this evidence, it’s hard to say how long it will take you to conceive after starting treatment for thyroid disease. Your timeline will likely depend on factors like:
Yes, unfortunately thyroid problems can lead to miscarriage in some cases. [1,6,7] Both hyperthyroidism and hypothyroidism can ultimately lead to pregnancy loss if not correctly untreated.
A miscarriage is a serious medical event with physical and mental impacts. It’s also very common—medical experts estimate that over 25% of pregnancies end in miscarriage.  If you’ve had a miscarriage, talk to your provider about having your thyroid levels checked — they may order a test to monitor your levels and start treatment if necessary.
Yes, thyroid problems can also lead to infertility if they are not diagnosed or treated.[1,3,6,7,11]
Medical experts believe that there are three general ways that thyroid problems can cause infertility or “subfertility” (which typically means that you are able to conceive, but it might take you longer to difficulty conceive) [8,11,15]:
If you’re having difficulties conceiving and you suspect that your thyroid function may be playing a role, consider learning more about your thyroid issue and seeking treatment.
Here’s a quick overview of how to start thyroid treatment before trying to get pregnant:
Thyroid issues make getting pregnant more complicated, but not impossible.
If you’re looking for thyroid treatment, look no further than Everlywell. With licensed telehealth clinicians, prescription services, and at-home test collection kits, we can help you start to investigate your thyroid health, easily and conveniently. While Everlywell can’t provide medical care for you once you are pregnant, we can help you optimize your thyroid health and overall preconception health.
Learn more about Everlywell’s online thyroid treatment options, and start your journey to a better you today.