(HealthDay News) -- The thyroid, a small gland at the base of the neck, helps regulate your body's metabolism, including how fast your heart beats.
An overactive (hyperthyroid) or underactive (hypothyroid) gland can lead to a host of health problems, particularly during pregnancy.
The National Women's Health Information Center lists these possible complications of an untreated thyroid problem during pregnancy:
- Premature birth and early labor.
- Preeclampsia, which causes high blood pressure and problems with organs including the kidneys.
- A smaller baby or stillbirth.
- Increased heart rate of the fetus.
- Abnormal brain development of the baby.
- Maternal bleeding after giving birth.