Key points to remember
- when a baby has a condition called congenital hypothyroidism, they are born with a thyroid gland that does not work properly
- the thyroid gland is a butterfly-shaped organ at the base of the neck - its job is to make thyroxine hormone that helps the cells of the body function correctly
- a small, under-developed (not fully grown) thyroid gland or one that is missing altogether are the commonest causes of congenital hypothyroidism
- the reasons why the thyroid gland does not develop properly in the fetus are not known
- one case of congenital hypothyroidism occurs in about every 2,300 babies born in New Zealand so there are about 30 babies born with this condition each year
Starship Foundation and the Paediatric Society of New Zealand acknowledge the cooperation of the National Screening Unit in making this information available for families.