Did you know that your thyroid can cause major problems through pregnancy and postpartum?
Many OBs will routinely check thyroid levels during the first trimester blood screening.
Hypothyroidism (low-functioning thyroid) can cause problems in pregnancy and can even cause miscarriage. Hyperthyroidism (high-functioning thyroid) or Graves disease (a form of hyperthyroidism) could lead to baby having thyroid problems at birth.
If either is detected, pregnancy-safe medications are used to keep levels in a safe range.
The tricky part comes after delivering your sweet baby.
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What is postpartum thyroiditis?
About 10 percent of moms experience postpartum thyroiditis at some point within the first year after delivery. It is marked by fluctuations between low and high thyroid.
Symptoms can include: depression, anxiety, fatigue, racing heart, palpitations, hair loss, trouble swallowing, decreased milk supply and many more.
If left untreated, postpartum thyroiditis will usually resolve itself within a year.
But there is no reason not to get it treated.
If you are feeling like something isn't right, talk to your doctor. It may be normal baby blues. It may be depression or anxiety. It may be thyroiditis. No matter what the cause, there are ways to treat it - even if you are breastfeeding.
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A personal experience
I have had postpartum thyroid issues with each of my three babies. After my first, I was too ashamed to admit that I was having problems. I was afraid that I would be put on depression/anxiety medication and wouldn't be able to breastfeed (something very important to me; I didn't know that many medications are safe while nursing). I wanted to be Supermom.
It took six months, a lot of formula supplementation, and such extreme depression and anxiety that I could not leave my porch to take my baby to the doctor. Once my thyroid was adjusted, my milk came back and I started feeling normal.
With my next two pregnancies, I knew what to look for and have caught my thyroid problems early on.
I strongly recommend that all women have their thyroid checked at their six-week postpartum checkup. Listen to your body, get informed and take care of yourself so you can be the best mom you can be!
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Audra Barrick is an at-home mom to three little boys and has been married to her best friend for 11 years. She can be found blogging on the OV Parent website as "Frugally Fabulous." She also blogs at Rediscovering Domesticity. She writes about her life as a mom and shares her passions of faith, cloth diapering, breastfeeding, cooking, car seat safety and much more.