Prevalence and Pattern of Gestational Thyroid Dysfunction in a Population of South-East Nigerian Women.

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Ugochukwu J Okoli
Bruno Basil
Chiebonam E Nwajiobi


Hypothyroidism, Pregnancy, Prevalence, Nigerian, Nutritional Iodine Status, Thyroid dysfunction


Background: Pregnancy serves as a physiological stress test for the thyroid which often leads to dysfunction in women with limited thyroid reserves. The occurrence of gestational thyroid dysfunction is linked to unfavourable obstetric and foetal outcomes. Globally, iodine deficiency is a prominent causative factor for thyroid dysfunction. The study aimed to determine the prevalence and pattern of thyroid dysfunction among pregnant women in Enugu, South-east Nigeria.

Methodology: This hospital-based descriptive cross-sectional and observational study was conducted over six months on selected participants from pregnant women attending antenatal clinics at the study sites. Maternal clinical and demographic risk factors for thyroid dysfunction were evaluated in a cohort of 318 pregnant women. An analysis of variance (ANOVA) was performed to compare participants' thyroid status across different trimesters of pregnancy, and different thyroid and nutritional iodine states.

Result: The prevalence of thyroid dysfunction in the study population is 6.6%. Hypothyroidism was detected in 5.3% of the participants, consisting of 3.8% sub-clinical hypothyroidism and 1.6% overt hypothyroidism. Sub-clinical hyperthyroidism accounted for 1.3% of all participants; no overt hyperthyroidism was detected in this study.

Conclusion: There is a relatively high prevalence of gestational thyroid dysfunction in the study population with hypothyroidism being the predominant disorder. This highlights the need for region-specific considerations in antenatal care to facilitate early detection and effective management of gestational thyroid dysfunction, thereby mitigating potential adverse maternal and foetal outcomes.

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