Postpartum Thyroid Dysfunction

Part 1: Introduction – if you’ve given birth, you need to know this.
We’ve all heard it – the stories of hair loss, excruciating fatigue and trying mood swings –  almost of a  ‘right of passage’ to be experienced in the months following the birth of a baby. Brain fog and memory loss, aka ‘mommy brain’ is part of this myriad of symptoms that most women, to some extent, experience in the postpartum period. 

For most of us, they gradually ebb and flow, disappearing over time. If they worsen, however – you need to have your thyroid checked. Our thyroid gland – a butterfly-shaped hormonal hub of activity – will produce symptoms mimicking a difficult postpartum, if not functioning as it should. 

Approximately 10% of all postpartum women will experience thyroid dysregulation in the months following birth (probably more, as under diagnosis is common). This is a lot of us! 

A series of complex interactions occur between our immune and endocrine systems, which necessarily alter thyroid function while pregnant. As our body works to re-establish homeostasis after baby arrives – this is when some experience under functioning of the gland (hypothyroidism) over the functioning of the gland (hyperthyroidism) or both (thyroiditis)

Getting Your Thyroid Tested In Postpartum

Request lab work from your ND and/or MD to include TSH, Free T4& T3 as well as thyroid antibodies to ensure your work up is thorough and accurate. TSH alone may not be enough information. 

In Part 2 we examine how low thyroid can compromise your milk supply.