So is that why the kids find maths hard?

New research on a huge sample from Finland on some of the effects of thyroid problems in pregnancy on the child's school performance. Depending on whether the mother was hyper or hypo it can reduce their preformance, and maths is one of the areas that can be hit. Language is another.

My conclusion is that I must pay for tests for my daughter before pregnancy.

I'll shorten it right down.

Thyroid. 2015 Oct 6.

Maternal and child's thyroid function and child's intellect and scholastic performance.

Päkkilä FM1,2,3, and others.

The Northern Finland Birth Cohort 1986 included all expected births within a year (9362 women, 9479 children) from the two northernmost provinces of Finland. Maternal serum samples were obtained in early pregnancy (mean±SD 10.7+-2.8 weeks' gestation) and serum samples from their children were obtained at 16 years of age. All samples were analyzed for TSH, free T4 (fT4) and thyroid peroxidase antibodies (TPO-Abs). The children's school performance was evaluated by their main teachers at age 8 and by the adolescents themselves at age 16. Data on possible severe intellectual deficiency and mild cognitive limitation were collected from healthcare records and registries for all children. We also estimated the odds of poor school performance associated with the adolescents' own thyroid function at age 16.


Girls of mothers with subclinical hypothyroidism had more self-evaluated difficulties in mathematics than girls of euthyroid mothers. Boys of hypothyroxinemic mothers repeated a school class more often than boys of euthyroid mothers. Adolescents of hyperthyroid mothers had increased odds of poor self-evaluated performance in mathematics.

Maternal thyroid dysfunction did not increase the odds of a child having severe intellectual deficiency/mild cognitive limitation.

At age 16, girls with hyperthyroidism had more difficulties in Finnish language than others. Boys with hypothyroxinemia by laboratory measurement had higher odds of having difficulties in Finnish and/or mathematics than others.


Maternal thyroid dysfunction during early pregnancy is associated with poorer scholastic performance of the adolescent. Additionally, adolescents' own thyroid dysfunction was associated with difficulties in school performance.

5 Replies

  • Aspmama, I read other research earlier this summer saying low maternal FT4 during pregnancy appeared to affect mathematics ability in primary school age children tested at ages 6-7.

  • Interesting. Put together with the link between thyroid and autism, and a picture is building.

    My son is v able on language, and is able to do maths but seems to forget it v quickly and "can't fit into the school system".

  • Well I was born with hypothyroidism but was fine at school went to sixth form, college and university and completed many qualifications on the way. I was monitored at Guys Hospital until they had to discharge me at 16 and was fine. Admittedly after that my levels went haywire but I've never been told that it would be an issue when I have children ( if I do).

  • I think the main danger is for those women who are unaware they have antibodies and go into pregnancy unchecked throughout and very often with the associated low nutrient levels.

    You may have seen a couple of discussions on that going on now.

    So long as you check your nutrients so they're optimal pre pregnancy and make sure your thyroid levels are closely monitored throughout you should be fine.

  • And i think the reason u were fine at school prob was your hypo was picked up so early and treated properly .. the sub clinical mothers here were untreated or diagnosed i think, and the research summary does not say when the frankly hyper or hypo children were diagnosed or treated.

    That's why I plan to check my daughter's antibodies as soon as I can... I think all of us with thyroid probs should periodically check our children, since the nhs doesn't screen.

You may also like...