Mothers, Remember Your Thyroid
Your thyroid gland:
- can affect whether you can become pregnant
- can affect your baby's development in utero
- can have a big influence on how you feel in that important
year after the birth.
Watching out for your baby
- If you are having trouble conceiving or carrying to term, your
doctor will be sure to test your thyroid as well as other problems
that could be involved.
- If you are producing too much hormone (hyperthyroidism), it
may be important to treat that before you get pregnant. The most
usual treatment in the United States is with radioactive iodine,
but they won't use it if there's a chance you are pregnant.
- If you are producing too little hormone (hypothyroidism ),
it is important for you to be treated so your levels are normal-the
baby's mental and physical development can be influenced by it.
When your baby is born, it will be tested for thyroid function.
One in every 3,500 babies is born with hypothyroidism, and it is
important for treatment to begin in the first two months of life.
If you are having a short hospital stay or home delivery, make sure
the baby's thyroid test doesn't get missed.
Your whole system adapts to pregnancy and lactation, but after
your baby is born is one time in your life when your thyroid hormone
levels can easily get out of whack. For instance, it is known that
one out of 20 new mothers will have thyroid problems sometime in
the first year after delivery.
If you are vulnerable to various autoimmune problems-if you or
someone in your close family has rheumatoid arthritis, colitis,
or pernicious anemia, or you take insulin for juvenile diabetes
- your risk may rise to 1 out of 4 for thyroid problems postpartum.
Postpartum Thyroid Disease - Trouble after delivery
They say that new mothers are stressed out, depressed, weak, irritable
- because of the birth and caring for the baby.
- But that's not the whole story - 5% of new mothers are producing
too little or too much thyroid hormone, and that can be helped
if it is identified. For most women, the hormone levels go back
to normal in a year or so, but meanwhile, life is harder than
it need be.
- 20% of mothers with problems never go back to normal thyroid
levels and always will need supplemental thyroid hormone treatment.
So if you are feeling really dragged out or stressed out, be sure
you get the basic thyroid test - for the TSH (thyroid-stimulating
hormone) in your blood. If this shows you have a problem, other
tests can indicate what to do to help you.
Nowadays doctors will treat your thyroid problems in that important
first year and won't just wait for you to "snap out of it."
You deserve to feel your best, and fixing your thyroid levels may
do it or at least help a lot.