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Disclaimer: The information in this post is for educational purposes only. I am not a doctor. It is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice. None of the opinions are meant to diagnose or treat any disease or illness. You should always consult your healthcare provider.

Thyroid Disease and Breastfeeding: Preparing During Pregnancy

Thyroid Disease and Breastfeeding: Preparing During Pregnancy - #nursing #sick #hormonesI am pregnant with my fourth baby. I am very pregnant. I have done the thyroid disease and breastfeeding thing already and am trying to set myself up for the greatest success this time around by preparing during pregnancy.

Thyroid Disease Can Affect Pregnancy

Thyroid fluctuations are strongly tied to hormonal changes and weight changes. Pregnancy and childbirth bring about both. Thyroid issues in pregnancy and postpartum are quite common though not always identified or addressed by doctors. At the start of pregnancy, your doctor will likely check to make sure your thyroid is not sluggish. Hypothyroidism can contribute to miscarriage. If your results are normal, you likely will not be tested again.

If you suspect thyroid changes in pregnancy, simply ask your obstetrician to be tested again. Treatment is generally quite simple – a specific dose of thyroid hormone taken once daily is the most common. If you find that your thyroid levels are off, plan on being tested every 4 – 6 weeks to keep an eye on levels.

Thyroid Disease Can Affect Breastfeeding

Thyroid hormone is not just responsible for maintaining a pregnancy. These hormones also play into successful breastfeeding. When thyroid hormone levels are too high or two low, milk supply can falter. I learned this fact the hard way with my firstborn.

By keeping your thyroid levels optimal during pregnancy, you can set yourself up for success in breastfeeding. It generally takes 4 – 6 weeks for changes in thyroid levels to be detected in blood work. It takes about 3 weeks to really feel differently after adjusting levels. When your levels are kept in check during pregnancy, you will be less likely to experience major fluctuations postpartum.

Due to quick weight loss with the delivery of the baby, it is important to have your thyroid levels checked at your 6 week postpartum appointment if not sooner. The more quickly levels can be adjusted, the less your milk supply will be affected.

Postpartum Thyroiditis

Postpartum thyroiditis is a bit of a different animal. Because it most often resolves on its own after about a year from onset, many doctors do not feel it needs to be treated. I tend to disagree. The hormonal fluctuations can still affect milk supply for that year and could end up being the cause of early and unintentional weaning. If you find you have postpartum thyroiditis, be sure to be checked very frequently and realize that you may be in for many dose changes throughout that year. Note that about 20% of those with thyroiditis go on to have long lasting thyroid problems.

The key to managing thyroid disease and breastfeeding successfully starts in pregnancy. Take charge of your health. Ask your doctor if you should be tested for thyroid issues during pregnancy. Follow through with treatment and testing during pregnancy. Be sure to be tested postpartum as well!

Has thyroid disease and breastfeeding ever been a concern for you?

Audra Michelle has been pregnant and/or breastfeeding for more than 6 years straight. Her first nursed for 15 months, her second for 14 months, and her third weaned at 27 months! Her first baby girl is thriving on breastmilk and will wean when she chooses.  Audra Michelle is a wife, mother, daughter, girlfriend, Jesus lover, and musician. You can find Audra Michelle blogging at UP and at Naturally Well.

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