Systemic endocrinopathies (thyroid conditions and diabetes): impact on postnatal life of the offspring

Maternal thyroid dysfunction is common during pregnancy, and might result in neurologic impairment in childhood. Metabolic effects of maternal dysglycemia must be studies well beyond the neonatal period.

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Volume 111, Issue 6, Pages 1076–1091


Lía Nattero-Chávez, M.D., Manuel Luque-Ramírez, M.D., Ph.D., Héctor F. Escobar-Morreale, M.D., Ph.D.


Fetal programming may influence childhood and adult life, determining the risk of specific diseases. During earlier stages of pregnancy, the transfer of maternal thyroid hormones to the fetus is vital for adequate neurologic development. The presence of severe maternal thyroid dysfunction, particularly severe iodine deficiency, is devastating, leading to irreversible neurologic sequelae. Moreover, mild maternal thyroid conditions, such as a mild-to-moderate iodine deficiency, may also lead to milder neurologic and behavioral conditions later during the life of the offspring. Maternal dysglycemia due to pregestational or gestational diabetes mellitus is another common situation in which fetal development encounters a hostile environment. Hyperglycemia in utero may trigger metabolic conditions in the offspring, including abnormalities of glucose tolerance and weight excess. Physicians assisting pregnant women have to be aware about these conditions, because they may go unnoticed if not properly screened. Because an early diagnosis and appropriate management may prevent most of the possible negative consequences for the progeny, the prevention, early diagnosis, and proper management of these endocrine conditions should be offered to all women undergoing pregnancy. Here, we comprehensively review the current evidence about the effects of maternal thyroid dysfunction and maternal dysglycemia on the cognitive function and carbohydrate metabolism in the offspring, two prevalent conditions of utmost importance for the child's health and development.

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Fertility and Sterility

Editorial Office, American Society for Reproductive Medicine

Fertility and Sterility® is an international journal for obstetricians, gynecologists, reproductive endocrinologists, urologists, basic scientists and others who treat and investigate problems of infertility and human reproductive disorders.