Sluggish, Anxious, Exhausted? It Might NOT Be Just the Baby...
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Pamela Constantine, a mom of two from Greenwich, CT, says she would be awakened by heart palpitations and feared she was having a heart attack shortly after giving birth to her second daughter. "I became very nervous and thought I was losing my mind," Constantine says. "I told my doctor, who initially told me to just get more rest. But the symptoms continued, so I saw another doctor who immediately tested my thyroid and that's when I knew I wasn't crazy." Constantine advises moms who experience symptoms to request a thyroid test. Often doctors dismiss the symptoms as a by-product of being up all night with a new baby. "As in every medical situation, you are your own best advocate," Constantine says, "so don't take 'no' for an answer. A diagnosis can be determined through one simple blood test."
How is it Treated?
Treatment is key. Most symptoms can be alleviated through medication, including levothyroxine, analgesics, or steroids, depending on the phase you are in. The good news is that, with treatment, most moms can expect to return to normal thyroid function within 12-18 months of the onset of symptoms. As Faber says, "Thyroid disorder isn't fatal, but it can make you feel pretty miserable, so it makes no sense to let something so easily treatable take any time away from enjoying your new baby."
Thyroid Disorder in Newborns
Testing for congenital hypothyroidism is part of the typical newborn screening panel performed shortly after birth. If the baby tests positive, he/she will be treated with oral doses of hormone to ensure proper brain development and growth. Babies not treated can suffer from a multitude of issues, including stunted growth and impaired brain function. In severe cases, brain damage may occur.
For more information:
American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists
American Association of Endocrine Surgeons
Clinical Center, National Institutes of Health