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Hormone testing may help doctors predict abnormal childbirth

Category: Thyroid Diseases

Testing for low levels of a thyroid hormone shortly before childbirth may help physicians identify women who will require special care during delivery, new research indicates.

Specifically, a study published in the December 23 issue of Clinical Endocrinology, sought to examine whether thyroid hormone levels in the late stages of pregnancy are associated with the head position of a fetus shortly before childbirth, Health Day News reports.

The team of researchers examined the thyroid levels of 960 expectant Dutch mothers and found that those with higher levels of the hormone T4 about 9 months into pregnancy were more likely deliver a baby in the normal delivery position - head first with the fetus facing the mother's back at the start of labor.

Women with lower levels of the hormone more commonly needed assisted delivery because of an abnormal fetal head position, according to the news source.

"We believe that the relationship between thyroid hormone levels and fetal presentation at birth may be explained by recent findings that motor development in children is related to low maternal thyroid hormone concentration during pregnancy," Victor Pop, professor at the University of Tilburg in the Netherlands, told HealthDay News.

According to the Coalition for Improving Maternity Services, almost 32 percent of U.S. births in 2007 took place via cesarean section - a 50 percent increase since 1996.

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