All pregnant women should be screened for signs of thyroid disease, researchers have claimed.

Scientists from Charles University in Prague told the European Congress of Endocrinology that a simple blood test could determine whether pregnant women who don't display any signs of thyroid disease could develop it later in life.

The study followed almost 200 women through pregnancy and beyond. It found that although half had no symptoms of thyroid problems, they did have a marker in the blood - indicating that they were at future risk. A third of these women then went on to develop thyroid problems within two years of birth.

However, UK midwives have said more research is needed to determine the validity and merits of the screening.

Sue Jacobs, a midwife teacher at the Royal College of Midwives told the BBC: "In the UK we have a comprehensive programme of antenatal care from as early as possible in pregnancy.

"This gives us a good baseline to monitor women throughout pregnancy and immediately after pregnancy."

She said the research was a step in the right direction, but that it now needed to be repeated on a larger scale.

Posted by Robert Mair on 5.5.11 Comment on this article by sending it to: penny.hosie@pavpub.com 

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