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Your first born is heading steadfast down the path to toddlerhood, and you find your heart aching at the sight of every random infant you see at the grocery store. No matter how frequently your child is nursing, your milk supply will dwindle at some point during your pregnancy. As stated before, as long as you are eating well-balanced meals and snacks throughout the day, and making sure you are consuming all of the extra calories you need during your pregnancy and breastfeeding, you should have no problem maintaining a healthy pregnancy weight while breastfeeding. Tandem breastfeeding is becoming more and more common today as mothers are nursing their children well beyond the one year mark. Please note: This and other Daily Mom articles may include sponsored advertisements, reviewed products and services, affiliate links and other forms of sponsorship.
Danielle is a Pittsburgh native who has been warming her “black and gold” blood in sunny Northern California for the past 6 years.
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Hyperthyroidism – or having an overactive thyroid gland – can pose special concerns during pregnancy.
But some women suffer more intense, longer-lasting postpartum troubles that can threaten their own and their baby’s health – and these troubles may be directly related to the thyroid. If you feel exhausted, depressed or are having trouble concentrating beyond the initial postpartum period, or you are really struggling more than other new mothers with debilitating fatigue, hair loss, and depression, you should ask your doctor to check your thyroid levels.
Postpartum thyroid difficulties are common – as many as 10 percent of women may suffer thyroid problems after childbirth. I’ve never had a problem with my thyroid gland before – but now I’ve been diagnosed with postpartum thyroiditis. Postpartum thyroiditis is a condition in which the thyroid becomes inflamed and dysfunctional after delivery, due to antibodies.
Postpartum thyroiditis typically follows a pattern: at first, you become hyperthyroid, and might feel breathless, nervous, mentally confused, have unexplained weight loss, or trouble sleeping. In the second phase, which usually shows up three to eight months postpartum, the body’s hormones are again out of whack.
It's well known that the postpartum period can trigger a variety of thyroid and hormonal problems in women who have never had any thyroid problems prior to pregnancy. For those who have a gradual return to normal, you and your doctor will need to do frequent TSH tests in order to monitor your drug dosages and gradually taper you off as your TSH returns to normal.
Keep in mind, however, that once you've had an episode of postpartum thyroid problems, you are much more likely to later develop a thyroid problem during a period of stress, subsequent pregnancy, or during menopause. Hypothyroid patients will be prescribed thyroid hormone replacement, such as Synthroid, Levoxyl, Unithroid, Armour, or Thyrolar. In my case, when my daughter Julia was around five months old, I still couldn't shake the major exhaustion, and a gray, depressed feeling that had descended on me about a month after her birth. The doctor, however, decided to run some hormone tests before recommending an antidepressant. Fairly early on postpartum, pay close attention to symptoms of any hormonal imbalances, and have all your hormone levels tested periodically, including thyroid, progesterone, testosterone, and estrogen as well.
In order to correctly diagnose postpartum thyroiditis, your healthcare provider first needs to distinguish it from Graves’ disease.
If you are nursing, you’ll need to stop for three to five days, since radioactive iodine can appear in breast milk.
I had postpartum thyroiditis after my first pregnancy, got treated, and felt back to normal in a few months.

Many women are misinformed that they cannot get pregnant while breastfeeding, but that is simply not true.
Examples of these changes could be when your baby starts sleeping through the night or begins to experiment with solid foods. According to La Leche League, if your child is under 5 months old and still breastfeeding, you might need to add an additional 650 to your daily diet.
Most women experience this decrease during the middle of their pregnancy, often no later than the 20th week. Your body is working round the clock to produce an adequate milk supply for your ever growing baby. Many women fear, however, that they will not be able to produce enough milk for two children or that it will be too difficult.
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It is not intended to replace medical advice from your physician, doctor or health care professional.
On any given day, you can find her arranging ridiculous photo shoots of her one-year-old son Graeme and cat Gizmo, or working on any one of her 27,000 writing projects. Thyroid disease can surface in someone who has never had thyroid problems before – or in women who have been previously diagnosed with hypo- or hyperthyroidism. Antithyroid antibodies circulate in the body, causing either too much or too little thyroid hormone to be released. This phase usually appears anytime between one and four months after the birth of the baby.
Instead of releasing too much thyroid hormone, the body releases too little, and you become thypothyroid. I went from hyperthyroid immediately postpartum, to the top of the normal range, nearing hypothyroid levels, just weeks later, back to hyperthyroid, and back to hypothyroid, with only tiny dosage adjustments.
In someone who is already "hormonally compromised," it's even more likely that the postpartum period can be a period of hormonal upheaval. A majority of women will return to normal, several months to as much as a year after postpartum thyroid diagnosis, and will never have another problem. Even though he’s six months old, and a wonderful, healthy baby, I don’t even want to get out of bed in the morning. It's a good thing she did, because she discovered that I had various hormonal imbalances in addition to my thyroid edging out of normal range into hypothyroid TSH levels again.
To diagnose Graves, he or she can perform a radioactive iodine update test, as well as taking TSH and T4 level readings. However, if you have a prior experience with postpartum thyroiditis, it is possible that you will get it again. She’s not having enough bowel movements or wet diapers, and she just doesn’t seem satisfied at the breast. This myth is supported mainly by the fact that weaning, changes in or the end of breastfeeding are usually shortly followed by a woman’s first postpartum menstrual cycle and the return of her fertility. Many women have no problem waiting out the duration of this time frame to try to get pregnant again, as it gives their body a much needed recovery period between pregnancies. That number decreases to about 500 extra calories per day if your child is eating solid foods in combination with breastfeeding. Add to that the overwhelming fatigue that accompanies pregnancy, and the thought of breastfeeding a toddler while pregnant might be enough to make you want to jump into full weaning mode the second that stick turns pink. Most women are completely capable of producing enough milk for multiple children at the same time.
She enjoys daydreaming about becoming a famous actress and starting a handful of different businesses with her husband over glasses of wine in the evenings. Miscarriages, premature births, and intrauterine growth retardation can occur when the disorder goes undiagnosed or untreated. Too much thyroid hormone will cause you to have an overactive thyroid gland, while too little will result in an underactive thyroid. Symptoms of this stage might be depression, fatigue, weight gain or difficulty losing weight, and an enlarged thyroid gland or sensation of pressure in your neck.

Otherh women have postpartum thyroid problems after every pregnancy, but otherwise things return to normal, until menopause.
She prescribed some natural hormone replacement and changed my thyroid hormone dosage, and soon, it was as if the fog had lifted and the world was a happy place again.
A diagnosis of Graves’ disease would show a high reading of radioactive iodine uptake, while postpartum thyroiditis would show a low one. Talk to your doctor about your chances, and be proactive in getting follow-up appointments and retests of TSH and T4 during pregnancy and after delivery. I’ve checked with lactation consultants and they say the baby’s positioning is just fine, and that I just need to feed her more often. It is important to note, however, that postpartum ovulation without menstruation is more likely to occur if your cycle returns later and postpartum menstruation without ovulation is more likely to occur if your cycle returns early. However, some women who desire to get pregnant sooner, might try to wean their baby earlier. Those numbers are additional to the extra 350 calories you should be consuming daily during your 2nd trimester and 450 during your 3rd. This decrease is due to the changing hormones in your body, especially the increase in progesterone. While no direct studies have been performed, many scientific and medical professionals feel confident that under normal circumstances, breastfeeding during pregnancy should not be a concern. Someday, she hopes to travel the country in an RV with her family… but she needs to sell that novel first. Checking your TSH levels will clue you – and your healthcare providers - as to what’s going on.
Some women – possibly as many as 30 percent, however – remain hypothyroid because their thyroid glands were too heavily damaged by the imbalance, or because the pregnancy has activated an inherent case of autoimmune thyroid disease.
You will need to prepare yourself and your child for this change, especially if he is not fully eating solid foods yet.
Chasing a rambunctious, energetic toddler around while pregnant can be a feat in itself during pregnancy; and many women find those breastfeeding sessions throughout the day to be a much needed break. Once your supply decreases below his demand, you might have to consider supplementing with formula if he is under a year old. Not only will you get a chance to spend special bonding time with your little one, but you can put up your feet and relax for a few minutes multiple times a day. This protection does not fall short at the hands of oxytocin.  Receptor site cells (which the uterus produces in mass quantities towards the end of pregnancy to detect oxytocin) are few and far between during the first 38 weeks. So, if you have two children breastfeeding, ideally, you will produce enough milk for two children. If your child is older, and eating solid foods, you can continue to nurse him throughout the milk decrease without adding supplements to his diet.
The key is to stay hydrated and well nourished, and to really make use of the valuable resting time your breastfeeding sessions will give you. And even when they are plentiful, they need the help of gap junction proteins in order to respond to the oxytocin. He will notice the change, and either begin to naturally wean himself or demand more frequent nursing sessions. Your older child will just have to adapt to the colostrum for a while (which can begin to develop as early as 4 months into your pregnancy) until your regular milk comes back.
It is perfectly fine to continue nursing your child even if your milk supply has completely dried up. Adding even more defense against oxytocin is progesterone, a common element during pregnancy.  With all of these natural defense mechanisms, women can confidently breastfeed during pregnancy. If you do notice any contractions during your pregnancy, however big or small, you should immediately contact your health care provider. Many women find tandem breastfeeding to be just another beautiful experience of motherhood.

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