BACKGROUND: Gestational thyroid dysfunction is common and associated with maternal and child morbidity and mortality. During pregnancy, profound changes in thyroid physiology occur, resulting in different thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH) and free thyroxine (FT<inf>4</inf>) reference intervals compared to the nonpregnant state. Therefore, international guidelines recommend calculating trimester- and assay-specific reference intervals per center. If these reference intervals are unavailable, TSH reference intervals of 0.1-2.5 mU/L for the first trimester and 0.2-3.0 mU/L for the second trimester are recommended. In daily practice, most institutions do not calculate institution-specific reference intervals but rely on these fixed reference intervals for the diagnosis and treatment of thyroid disorders during pregnancy. However, the calculated reference intervals for several additional pregnancy cohorts have been published in the last few years and show substantial variation. CONTENT: We provide a detailed overview of the available studies on thyroid function reference intervals during pregnancy, different factors that contribute to these reference intervals, and the maternal and child complications associated with only minor variations in thyroid function. SUMMARY: There are large differences in thyroid function reference intervals between different populations of pregnant women. These differences can be explained by variations in assays as well as population-specific factors, such as ethnicity and body mass index. The importance of using correct reference intervals is underlined by the fact that even small subclinical variations in thyroid function have been associated with detrimental pregnancy outcomes, including low birth weight and pregnancy loss. It is therefore crucial that institutions do not rely on fixed universal cutoff concentrations, but calculate their own pregnancy-specific reference intervals.