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Postpartum Thyroid

The postpartum period is an incredibly transformative time for new mothers, both physically and emotionally. While much attention is given to the care of the newborn, it’s important not to overlook the maternal health aspect, particularly the postpartum thyroid. Postpartum thyroid disorders are common and can significantly impact the mother’s well-being during this delicate phase.

What is Postpartum Thyroid?

Postpartum thyroid refers to a range of thyroid disorders that occur in the months following childbirth. These conditions primarily affect women who have a history of thyroid dysfunction or autoimmune thyroid disease, such as Hashimoto’s thyroiditis or Graves’ disease. However on the flip side some women can also experience gestational thyroid hormone elevations. The fluctuating hormone levels experienced during pregnancy and after delivery can trigger or exacerbate thyroid imbalances.  

Most Common Post-Birth Thyroid Disorders

Two common postpartum thyroid disorders are postpartum Thyroiditis and Hashimoto’s disease. 

  • Postpartum Thyroiditis involves inflammation of the thyroid gland, leading to periods of hyperthyroidism (overactive thyroid) followed by hypothyroidism (underactive thyroid).
  • Hashimotos disease, an autoimmune disorder, usually stemmed from hypothyroidism characterised by an underproduction of thyroid hormones.

Symptoms of Postpartum Thyroid

Postpartum thyroid disorders can manifest through various symptoms, which may vary depending on whether the condition presents as hyperthyroidism or hypothyroidism. It’s important to note that these symptoms may overlap with general postpartum experiences, making the diagnosis challenging. However, recognising the signs can help new mothers seek appropriate medical attention.


  • Fatigue and lethargy
  • Weight gain or difficulty losing weight
  • Cold intolerance and feeling excessively cold
  • Dry skin and hair
  • Depression or mood swings
  • Constipation
  • Memory Loss
  • Hair loss
  • Reduced libido

Hyperthyroid Symptoms

  • Rapid heartbeat
  • Anxiety or irritability
  • Insomnia or difficulty sleeping
  • Weight loss despite increase appetite
  • Excessive sweating and heat intolerance
  • Fatigue and muscle weakness
  • Tremors or shaking
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Changes in menstrual cycle


Some women may experience a mix of hyperthyroidism and hypothyroidism symptoms due to postpartum thyroiditis. It typically begins with hyperthyroidism symptoms, followed by hypothyroidism symptoms once the initial phase subsides, but both variances can fluctuate as well for some.

The Importance of Early Detection and Treatment

Postpartum thyroid disorders can significantly impact a new mother’s well-being, affecting her physical and mental health. Recognising the symptoms and seeking prompt medical attention is crucial to ensure appropriate management. Here at the Lucy Rose Clinic we believe in understanding the whole picture, including the root cause and the triggers and exacerbators. We can perform a thorough evaluation, including blood tests, saliva & urinalysis to measure thyroid hormone levels, antibodies, nutrition status, methylation status, sex hormones, and adrenal hormones.

We offer a range of treatment options which are dependent on your individual signs, symptoms & specific results.

In some cases, postpartum thyroiditis can regulate naturally post birth, however natural treatments for mum and safe for bub may be necessary during these transitional phases.

The Connection Between Sex Hormones and Thyroid Hormones

The thyroid gland and sex hormones, such as estrogen and progesterone, have complex roles in the body. These hormones are closely interconnected, and imbalances in one can affect the functioning of the other. During pregnancy and the postpartum period, significant hormonal fluctuations occur, which can impact the thyroid gland’s function.

Estrogen can increase the level of a protein called thyroid-binding globulin (TBG), which binds to thyroid hormones in the blood. This can lead to higher total thyroid hormone levels but lower free thyroid hormone levels, potentially causing hypothyroid symptoms.

The Importance of Progesterone

Progesterone levels drop sharply after childbirth causing a dramatic hormonal shift. Low progesterone levels affect the thyroid in a number of ways. As estrogen and progesterone work to balance each other, the dropping progesterone will result in a higher estrogen ratio. 

The thyroid gland has progesterone receptors that take in progesterone, stimulating thyroid hormone production. This is connected to the thyroid enzyme called thyroid peroxidase (TPO). Thyroid Peroxidase is an enzyme in your thyroid gland; and it’s one of the enzymes that makes T4 and T3 thyroid hormones. 

If there isn’t sufficient progesterone available to combine with thyroid progesterone receptors, thyroid peroxidase levels drop, and eventually so will the levels of T3 and T4, resulting in hypothyroid symptoms.

Progesterone also affects Thyroid binding globulin levels (TBG) – in a very different way than TPO. Progesterone lowers thyroid-binding globulin (TBG) and increases the activity of thyroid hormones when adequate levels are present. Increased TBG levels may elevate T3 and T4 without increasing the activity of these hormones in your body – making a blood test somewhat inconclusive in this type of circumstance, and this is the reason why we always count symptoms with similar importance as test results.

The Symtoms of Low Progesterone

  • Acne
  • Anxiety
  • Arthritic-like aches & pains
  • Breast pain or tenderness,/Fibrocystic breasts or breast enlargement
  • Cellulite
  • Decreased memory
  • Foggy brain
  • Low libido
  • Depression
  • Dry, rough and/or scaly skin
  • Endometriosis
  • Fatigue
  • Hair loss
  • Headaches
  • High blood pressure
  • Hot flashes/night sweats
  • Infertility
  • Insomnia
  • Irregular or excessive uterine bleeding, especially with increased clots – which may be caused by nonhormonal problems like fibroids or polyps, etc.
  • Irritability
  • Miscarriage
  • Mood swings
  • Panic attacks
  • PCOS-like symptoms
  • PMS
  • Thyroid cancer
  • Thyroid nodules
  • Uterine fibroids
  • Vaginal dryness
  • Water retention
  • Weight gain:  hips, thighs & abdomen

Recommended Testing

The standard way to assess hormone levels is with a blood test. Your general practitioner or endocrinologist will test TSH first and sometimes the level of the thyroid hormone thyroxine (T4).  Your doctor will likely check TSH first and follow with a thyroid hormone test only if the TSH is out of normal range.


However, the standard testing for thyroid disease in Australia and America misses many thyroid imbalances, as it is designed to only pick up thyroid disease states. Some people can have test results close to the edge of the normal range and not have any symptoms, but many people will be living with rather strong symptoms affecting their life quality, such as persistent fatigue, stubborn weight, low mood, hair loss, brain fog, and declining libido.


Levels of thyroid hormones thyroxine (T4) and triiodothyronine (T3) should be assessed, and one or both must be low for a diagnosis to be made. It is also advantageous to assess TSH levels, as the purpose of this hormone is to stimulate the production of thyroid hormones. If the pituitary gland senses the slightest excess of thyroid hormones in the blood, it will stop the production of TSH. Therefore, TSH levels will be low in individuals with hyperthyroidism. With hypothyroidism, the opposite is true – the TSH increases as the brain signals to the thyroid to try and make more thyroid hormones.

Thyroid Profile


Our Thyroid Panel tests for 8 markers, helping our practitioners to pinpoint which part of the thyroid hormone circuit needs support.

Halide Profile


Iodine is the primary building block of your thyroid hormones, plus it helps to balance out estrogen excess, and keep the endocrine system healthy.

Stress & Sleep Profile


New parents have a very disrupted stress and sleep pattern, but testing will allow more clarity around hormone function, and how a practitioner can support better balance during this time.

Sex Hormone Profile


How quickly these hormone return to balance post birth depends on a number of factors and generally will take 6 months. Testing the sex hormones can help to guide treatment recommendations for better hormonal balance.

Metabolic Markers


Gestational diabetes affects up to 10 % of women, and these women have 7-fold risk of developing type 2 diabetes within 5 years of birth. Testing allows us to pick up the early signs and use natural medicine to intercept disease development.

Food Intolerance Test


Postpartum women have a higher risk of developing new food sensitivities, allergic skin rashes, pruritic urticarial papules and plaques of pregnancy, also known as PUPP. Food Intolerance Testing can speed up discovering the specific foods causing symptoms, and guide corrective  short-term diet plans.


Postpartum thyroid disorders are a common occurrence among women following childbirth, and recognising their symptoms is vital for early detection and treatment. By understanding the typical symptoms of postpartum thyroid, new mothers can advocate for their health in natural and alternative ways to support. Remember, it is crucial for a thorough investigation for all hormones and nutrient analysis for accurate and effective management & treatment. 

For optimal care at all stages of the signs of change with your hormones, we advocate for combining your specialists with naturopaths who specialise in endocrine care. With this integrative approach, you cover all spectrums of imbalances, ensuring that recover faster, and reclaim a happy balance so you can have the energy and mental health to enjoy this wonderful time of your life.

Want help with your Postpartum Thyroid Condition?

Book a free consult with one of our team and find out how we can help.