Did you know that an over functioning or under functioning thyroid gland can
lead to symptoms commonly thought due to postpartum stress or mood
Today we will take a quick look at postpartum
The thyroid gland is a butterfly shaped gland located in the front of your
neck by your adam’s apple. It produces thyroid hormones
which help to control your metabolism.
Basically it helps control how your body uses and stores energy.
The thyroid gland can sometimes make too much or too little thyroid
Hyperthyroidism is when
this gland makes too much thyroid hormone.
Hypothyroidism is when this
gland makes too little thyroid hormone.
What is postpartum thyroiditis?
"Postpartum thyroiditis” is the medical term for thyroiditis after
pregnancy which is an inflammation of your thyroid gland that can
occur anytime within the 1st year after delivery.
This occurs in 5-10% of women after delivery.
What causes postpartum thyroiditis?
The cause is thought to be autoimmune. Basically your own immune system
“attacks” your thyroid gland with anti-thyroid antibodies ( called
anti-thyroid peroxidase, anti-thyroglobulin). This leads to inflammation of
the thyroid gland.
You may only have symptoms of hyperthyroidism or hypothyroidism alone.
In around 25% of women they have both hyperthyroid and
First you may have release of thyroid hormone from the thyroid gland due to
inflammation.Later you may have low thyroid hormone due to thyroid gland
producing less .
True! Feeling worried or anxious can be a sign of
postpartum anxiety but also can be an indicator of high thyroid hormone
level. Always talk to your healthcare provider so you can get the
The following are common symptoms of hyperthyroidism:
Feeling tired or weak
Having a rapid heartbeat or palpitations
Sweating a lot and having trouble dealing with hot weather
Feeling worried or anxious
Unexplained weight loss
These can occur one to four months after delivery and last one to
True! Low energy can be a sign of postpartum depression
or just thought to be normal fatigue postpartum, but it could also indicate
low thyroid hormone levels. Again, see your healthcare provider to
differentiate between these medical issues to get the proper treatment.
Common symptoms of hypothyroidism include:
Having no energy
Sensitivity to cold
Not making enough breast milk, if you are breastfeeding
This may begin four to six weeks after the symptoms of
hyperthyroidism resolve and can last six to 12 months.
The following puts you at risk for developing postpartum
Autoimmune disorders (such as Type 1 diabetes)
Positive anti-thyroid antibodies (the higher the antibody the
higher the risk)
History of thyroid dysfunction
History of postpartum thyroiditis (20% of women will have
recurrence of thyroiditis with next pregnancies)
Family history of thyroid dysfunction
If you have these risk factors you should talk to your healthcare
provider to get testing at three and six months postpartum.
False. You may not need any treatment. For many women,
the condition usually gets better on its own, and the thyroid gland works
normally again - usually within 12 to 18 months after your symptoms start.
You may need some treatment until you get better. For symptoms of high
thyroid hormone level you may need beta blockers. For symptoms of low
thyroid hormone you may need to take thyroid hormone pills.
Although not very commonly, some women may not recover from the hypothyroid
phase. As a result, they develop hypothyroidism, a condition in which the
thyroid gland doesn't produce enough of certain important hormones.
If you have any unusual symptoms postpartum speak to your healthcare
Remember you may not experience symptoms until after your 6-week postpartum
Yes, it could be postpartum depression and anxiety which is common as it
occurs in 20% of women.
It also could be postpartum thyroiditis. It is important to know what
medical issue you have so you can get the correct treatment!
MaternalWell text support is available for any general questions!