TSH, Pregnancy

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The following is a list of what is included in the item above. Click the test(s) below to view what biomarkers are measured along with an explanation of what the biomarker is measuring.

Also known as: TSH Pregnancy

TSH, Pregnancy

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The TSH, Pregnancy test contains 1 test with 1 biomarker.

Brief Description: The Pregnancy TSH test is a specialized laboratory assay designed to measure the level of Thyroid Stimulating Hormone (TSH) in the blood of pregnant individuals. This test is particularly crucial as thyroid function plays a vital role in both maternal health and fetal development.

This test is not used to determine pregnancy, it is a TSH test that provides reference ranges for patients that are pregnant. The correct test to determine pregnancy is hCG, Total, Qualitative #8435

Also Known As: Thyroid Stimulating Hormone Test, Thyrotropin Test, TSH test, Thyroid Test, TSH Screen Test

Collection Method: Blood Draw

Specimen Type: Serum

Test Preparation: No preparation required

When is a TSH Pregnancy test ordered?

Pregnancy lowers TSH levels, especially during the first trimester. Recent clinical research has demonstrated a link between poor pregnancy outcomes and even moderately raised TSH during pregnancy.

Additionally, in the United States, TSH screening is routinely performed on newborns shortly after birth as part of each state's newborn screening program.

What does a TSH Pregnancy blood test check for?

The pituitary gland, a small structure beneath the brain and beyond the sinus cavities, produces thyroid-stimulating hormone. TSH causes thyroxine and triiodothyronine to be released into the bloodstream by the thyroid gland. These thyroid hormones aid in the regulation of the body's energy usage. This test determines how much TSH is present in the blood.

The feedback mechanism that the body utilizes to maintain consistent quantities of thyroid hormones in the blood includes TSH and its regulatory hormone, thyrotropin releasing hormone, which comes from the hypothalamus. TSH synthesis by the pituitary gland increases as thyroid hormone concentrations fall. TSH stimulates the thyroid gland, a small butterfly-shaped gland that lays flat against the windpipe at the base of the throat, to produce and release T4 and T3. Thyroid production turns on and off to maintain generally steady levels of thyroid hormones in the blood when all three organs are operating regularly.

When the thyroid produces excessive amounts of T4 and T3, the affected person may have hyperthyroidism symptoms such as high heart rate, weight loss, agitation, hand tremors, itchy eyes, and difficulty sleeping. The most prevalent cause of hyperthyroidism is Graves disease. It is a chronic autoimmune condition in which the immune system creates antibodies that mimic TSH, causing the thyroid hormone to be produced in excessive levels. As a result, the pituitary gland may produce less TSH, resulting in a low blood level.

Weight gain, dry skin, constipation, cold intolerance, and weariness are all symptoms of hypothyroidism, a condition in which the thyroid produces fewer thyroid hormones. In the United States, Hashimoto thyroiditis is the most prevalent cause of hypothyroidism. It's an autoimmune disease in which the immune system attacks the thyroid, causing inflammation and destruction as well as the generation of autoantibodies. The thyroid generates low levels of thyroid hormone in Hashimoto thyroiditis. The pituitary gland may create more TSH, resulting in a high blood level.

TSH values, on the other hand, do not necessarily indicate or predict thyroid hormone levels. TSH is produced abnormally in some persons and does not work properly. Despite having normal or modestly increased TSH values, they frequently develop hypothyroidism. Thyroid hormone levels can be high or low in a variety of thyroid illnesses, regardless of the amount of TSH in the blood.

TSH levels may be elevated or lowered in rare cases due to pituitary dysfunction. In addition to pituitary dysfunction, an issue with the hypothalamus can cause hyperthyroidism or hypothyroidism.

Lab tests often ordered with a TSH Pregnancy test:

When a TSH test is ordered during pregnancy, it's usually part of a broader assessment of thyroid health and pregnancy wellness. Here are some tests commonly ordered alongside it:

  1. Free Thyroxine (Free T4):

    • Purpose: To measure the level of free T4, the unbound and biologically active form of thyroxine.
    • Why Is It Ordered: To provide a more comprehensive assessment of thyroid function, as TSH alone may not give a complete picture, especially in pregnancy.
  2. Free Triiodothyronine (Free T3):

    • Purpose: To measure the level of free T3, another active thyroid hormone.
    • Why Is It Ordered: Usually, Free T3 is not routinely checked during pregnancy, but it may be ordered in certain cases where hyperthyroidism is suspected.
  3. Thyroid Peroxidase (TPO) Antibodies:

    • Purpose: To detect the presence of antibodies against thyroid peroxidase, an enzyme involved in thyroid hormone production.
    • Why Is It Ordered: To identify autoimmune thyroid disease, such as Hashimoto's thyroiditis, which can affect pregnancy and fetal development.
  4. Complete Blood Count (CBC):

    • Purpose: To evaluate overall blood health.
    • Why Is It Ordered: To check for anemia or other blood-related issues common in pregnancy, which can sometimes be related to thyroid disorders.
  5. Urinalysis:

    • Purpose: To analyze various components of the urine.
    • Why Is It Ordered: Routine during pregnancy to check for infections, proteinuria, or other issues that can be influenced by thyroid function.
  6. Human Chorionic Gonadotropin (hCG) Level:

    • Purpose: To measure the level of hCG, a hormone produced during pregnancy.
    • Why Is It Ordered: To monitor pregnancy progression, as hCG can influence TSH levels, especially in the first trimester.
  7. Glucose Screening:

    • Purpose: To test for gestational diabetes.
    • Why Is It Ordered: As part of routine prenatal care and because thyroid disorders can affect glucose metabolism.

These tests, when ordered alongside a Pregnancy TSH test, provide a comprehensive evaluation of both thyroid function and general pregnancy health. They are crucial for ensuring the well-being of both the mother and the developing fetus, as thyroid hormones play a vital role in fetal development, particularly brain development. The specific combination of tests will depend on the individual’s health status, history of thyroid disease, and the stage of pregnancy.

Conditions where a test TSH Pregnancy is recommended:

The Pregnancy TSH test is essential for evaluating thyroid function during pregnancy, especially in cases of:

  1. Hypothyroidism: Elevated TSH levels during pregnancy can indicate hypothyroidism, a condition that requires treatment to prevent adverse effects on maternal health and fetal development.

How does my health care provider use a TSH test?

Thyroid function and/or symptoms of a thyroid problem, such as hyperthyroidism or hypothyroidism, are frequently assessed with the thyroid-stimulating hormone test.

The pituitary gland, a small structure beneath the brain and beyond the sinus cavities, produces TSH. It's a part of the body's feedback system that keeps the thyroid hormones thyroxine and triiodothyronine in check and helps regulate the pace at which the body burns calories.

TSH tests are typically ordered in conjunction with or before a free T4 test. A free T3 test and thyroid antibodies are two further thyroid tests that can be ordered. TSH, free T4, and free T3 are sometimes ordered as part of a thyroid panel.

TSH Pregnancy is used to:

  • Check newborns for an underactive thyroid.
  • Assist women in diagnosing and monitoring infertility issues.
  • Assist in determining the pituitary gland's function

What does my TSH blood test result mean?

A high TSH level could indicate that:

  • The person being examined has an underactive thyroid gland that isn't responding well to TSH stimulation owing to acute or chronic thyroid dysfunction.
  • If a person has hypothyroidism or has had their thyroid gland removed, the dose of thyroid hormone replacement medicine may need to be changed.
  • A patient with hyperthyroidism is taking too much anti-thyroid medication, and the dosage needs to be reduced.
  • There is a problem with the pituitary gland, such as a tumor that causes TSH levels to be out of control.

A low TSH level could imply the following:

  • An overactive thyroid gland
  • Thyroid hormone prescription taken in excess by patients being treated for an underactive thyroid gland.
  • Inadequate medication in an individual being treated for hyperthyroidism; nevertheless, after successful anti-thyroid treatment, TSH production may take a time to recover. This is why the American Thyroid Association recommends testing for thyroid hormones as well as TSH levels throughout treatment.
  • The pituitary gland has been damaged, preventing it from releasing enough TSH.

An abnormal TSH result, whether high or low, suggests an excess or deficiency in the quantity of thyroid hormone available to the body, but does not pinpoint the cause for the abnormal result. Additional testing is frequently performed after an abnormal TSH test result to determine the reason of the increase or decrease.

Most Common Questions About the Pregnancy TSH test:

Purpose and Indications for the Pregnancy TSH Test

Why is the Pregnancy TSH test important during pregnancy?

The Pregnancy TSH (Thyroid-Stimulating Hormone) test is crucial during pregnancy as it helps in assessing the functioning of the thyroid gland. Thyroid hormones play a vital role in the healthy development of the fetus, especially brain development, and in maintaining the health of the mother.

When is the Pregnancy TSH test typically recommended during pregnancy?

It's commonly recommended in the first trimester for those with a history of thyroid problems, symptoms of thyroid dysfunction, or other associated risks. However, screening guidelines might vary, and some healthcare providers may opt for universal screening.

Interpreting the Results

What do elevated TSH levels indicate during pregnancy?

Elevated TSH levels in a Pregnancy TSH test can suggest hypothyroidism, meaning the thyroid might not be producing enough thyroid hormones. Hypothyroidism during pregnancy can lead to various complications, including preterm birth, low birth weight, and even developmental issues in the baby.

What do low TSH levels during pregnancy signify?

Low TSH levels typically indicate hyperthyroidism, where the thyroid is overactive. This condition can also pose risks during pregnancy, such as preeclampsia, miscarriage, and fetal or neonatal hyperthyroidism.

Conditions and Medications Influencing the Test

Are there conditions other than pregnancy that can influence TSH levels?

Yes, conditions like pituitary gland dysfunction, recent iodine exposure, and certain illnesses can influence TSH levels. It's crucial for these to be ruled out or considered when interpreting the test results during pregnancy.

Can medications taken during pregnancy influence the Pregnancy TSH test outcomes?

Yes, medications like antithyroid drugs, dopamine, steroids, and certain antipsychotics can affect TSH levels. It's essential for pregnant women to inform their healthcare provider about any medications they are taking.

Dietary Influence and Recommendations

Do diet and nutrition impact Pregnancy TSH test results?

While day-to-day diet might not significantly impact TSH levels, severe iodine deficiency can lead to hypothyroidism. Iodine is essential for the production of thyroid hormones. Therefore, adequate iodine intake through diet or supplements, as recommended during pregnancy, is crucial.

Follow-up and Treatment

What is the next step if abnormal TSH levels are detected during pregnancy?

If abnormal TSH levels are found, further thyroid function tests, like Free T4, might be ordered. Depending on the results, treatment with thyroid hormone replacement for hypothyroidism or antithyroid medications for hyperthyroidism may be initiated.

How frequently should the Pregnancy TSH test be repeated after an abnormal result?

For pregnant women diagnosed with thyroid disorders, monitoring might be frequent, especially during the initial stages of treatment. The TSH test can be repeated every 4-6 weeks until thyroid function is stabilized.

We advise having your results reviewed by a licensed medical healthcare professional for proper interpretation of your results.

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