If you are a lactating mother, thyroid disease can cause some complications. Among other things, you may worry about your current thyroid medication passing to your unsuspecting newborn via your breastmilk or about your lack of milk supply. Read on to learn about what it means to be a breastfeeding mother while managing a thyroid condition.
How Does Thyroid Dysfunction Affect a Lactating Mother?
Thyroid disease is a medical term for thyroid conditions involving the function of the thyroid gland. The thyroid gland is primarily a hormone factory — it produces hormones the body needs. Overproduction of hormones hyperthyroidism could accelerate the body’s natural processes. Underproduction of hormones hypothyroidism could lead to many things, including a slow metabolism, joint pain, and even heart problems.
While there are natural ways to treat a thyroid condition, some patients are prescribed synthetic medication to manage the disease. On the other hand, fear exists that synthetic medication ingredients might harm pregnant women and lactating mothers. However, one mom suggests consulting with both a thyroid specialist and a doctor in determining a medication that is safe enough for use during pregnancy and breastfeeding.
During pregnancy, your body goes through major hormonal changes. Naturally, this will affect thyroid production, even if you have stabilized it using medication. The effect depends on the patient, but accelerated or additional thyroid problems could arise during pregnancy due to the hormonal shifts.
New mothers who have been taking synthetic thyroid medication usually have no problem with producing enough milk for their babies. However, if you’re not sure about your thyroid condition, it’s best to have your thyroid checked to get a proper diagnosis. Some of the food items in a natural thyroid diet are similar to a breastfeeding mother diet — they include nutrients that will help manage the disease and boost your milk supply.
Let-down reflex is a breastfeeding term associated with a tingling or warming sensation after the baby suckles on the breast for milk. The action requires hormones to trigger messages in the brain to produce milk. The prolactin hormone urges the milk-making tissues to produce milk, while oxytocin causes the milk to be “ejected” from the breasts.
This presents some problems for new mothers with low milk supply. Some women produce the milk their babies need if they have high or lower than average hormones in their system. In this case, doctors usually approve the use of some synthetic medication to manage both thyroid and breastfeeding issues.
Check out this video with Dr. Lazarus by EmpowHer about the effects of thyroid medication in lactating mothers:
It’s reassuring to know that some thyroid medication can help new mothers who are breastfeeding. On the other hand, as a lactating mother, you must work with doctors to ensure that thyroid medication does not compromise milk production and your baby’s safety. Don’t hesitate to raise any concerns with your thyroid doctor to guide you during this most important time in your life.
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