Severe maternal thyroid dysfunction during pregnancy affects fetal brain growth and corticogenesis. This study focused on the effect of maternal hypothyroxinemia during early pregnancy on growth of the fetal and infant head. In a population-based birth cohort, we assessed thyroid status in early pregnancy (median 13.4, 90% range 10.8-17.2), in 4894 women, and measured the prenatal and postnatal head size of their children at 5 time points. Hypothyroxinemia was defined as normal thyroid-stimulating hormone levels and free thyroxine-4 concentrations below the 10th percentile. Statistical analysis was performed using linear generalized estimating equation. Maternal hypothyroxinemia was associated with larger fetal and infant head size (overall estimate β: 1.38, 95% confidence interval 0.56; 2.19, P =.001). In conclusion, in the general population, even small variations in maternal thyroid function during pregnancy may affect the developing head of the young child.

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Reproductive Sciences
Erasmus MC: University Medical Center Rotterdam

van Mil, N., Steegers-Theunissen, R., Bongers-Schokking, J. J., El Marroun, H., Ghassabian, A., Hofman, A., … Tiemeier, H. (2012). Maternal hypothyroxinemia during pregnancy and growth of the fetal and infant head. Reproductive Sciences, 19(12), 1315–1322. doi:10.1177/1933719112450338