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Debate over Who Needs a Thyroid Check in Pregnancy
Numerous studies since 1999 have found that an underactive thyroid can raise a woman's risk of miscarriage, premature birth, or a lower IQ for her baby — even if it's so mildly sluggish that she feels no symptoms. Researchers at Quest Diagnostics examined records for half a million pregnant women. Of those who got their thyroid tested, a higher-than-expected number — 15 percent — had an underactive thyroid. That's five-fold higher than some previous estimates, partly because the way in which the condition is diagnosed has changed recently, says the study published by the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism. The vast majority of those women were in the gray zone, with milder cases where no one knows for sure if a diagnosis helps or wastes money on testing and thyroid medication. Thus, the finding adds pressure for science to settle a long-running controversy over whether mothers-to-be should have their thyroid tested.