by Cynthia M. Johnson, MA
Hypothyroidism is when the thyroid gland does not make enough hormones. The thyroid is a butterfly-shaped gland in the front of the neck. It makes hormones that regulate growth, brain development, and metabolism. Early treatment can improve outcomes.
In most babies, the cause is not known. In others, causes may be due to:
The risk of this problem is higher in people who have other family members who have had it.
Other things that may raise the risk in the mother during pregnancy are:
Problems may be:
Most infants are screened at birth. Blood tests are done to check thyroid levels.
This condition can lead to growth and development problems. Early treatment can improve outcomes.
Medicine will be given to replace missing hormones. Hormone levels will need to be checked often to keep them at a normal level.
There are no known guidelines to prevent this health problem.
American Thyroid Association
Genetics Home Reference
Thyroid Foundation of Canada
Congenital hypothyroidism. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: https://www.dynamed.com/condition/congenital-hypothyroidism. Accessed February 10, 2021.
Congenital hypothyroidism in infants. Healthy Children—American Academy of Pediatrics website. Available at: https://www.healthychildren.org/English/health-issues/conditions/Glands-Growth-Disorders/Pages/Congenital--Hypothyroidism-Infants.aspx. Accessed February 10, 2021.
Jonklaas J, Bianco AC, et al; American Thyroid Association Task Force on Thyroid Hormone Replacement. Guidelines for the treatment of hypothyroidism: prepared by the American Thyroid Association task force on thyroid hormone replacement. Thyroid. 2014 Dec;24(12):1670- 1751.
Last reviewed December 2020 by EBSCO Medical Review Board James P. Cornell, MD
Last Updated: 2/10/2021
EBSCO Information Services is fully accredited by URAC. URAC is an independent, nonprofit health care accrediting organization dedicated to promoting health care quality through accreditation, certification and commendation.
This content is reviewed regularly and is updated when new and relevant evidence is made available. This information is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with questions regarding a medical condition.
To send comments or feedback to our Editorial Team regarding the content please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Our Health Library Support team will respond to your email request within 2 business days.
All rights reserved.