New research offers bad news for women who develop a condition known as pre-eclampsia during pregnancy. They are at higher risk for reduced thyroid function in later life.

About Preeclampsia

Preeclampsia develops in the second half of pregnancy and can cause serious problems, such as extremely high blood pressure. The causes aren't clear, but may have something to do with high levels of proteins in the body.

The Study

Researchers in the United States and Norway looked at two groups of pregnant women—those who developed preeclampsia and those who didn't. The study was published in an online edition of BMI (British Medical Journal).

In the US study, researchers compared 140 healthy pregnant women who developed preeclampsia with 140 women who didn't. Those who had the condition showed double the levels of thyroid-stimulating hormone, an indication that the thyroid is not functioning properly, as those who didn't develop preeclampsia.

The Norwegian study examined 7,121 pregnant women and found that those who developed preeclampsia, especially in two pregnancies, were more likely to have high concentrations of thyroid hormone 20 years later.


The researchers suggest that doctors should closely follow women who develop preeclampsia, keeping an eye out not just for heart and kidney disease, which are known risks, but also thyroid disease.

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