Postpartum Thyroiditis: Not Just a Worn Out Mom

Katherine Pereira; Ann J. Brown

Disclosures

Journal for Nurse Practitioners. 2008;4(3):175-182. 

In This Article

Support and Education

It is important for women with PPT to understand the natural progression of the disease, along with future health risks. Postpartum thyroiditis occurs at an already stressful time in a woman's life. Anxiety about the course of symptoms can occur, as did with this patient, and hyperthyroidism can exacerbate these symptoms. This patient was worried about her ability to work efficiently and to care for her family should she develop a hypothyroid state. Reassurance should be supplied about the expected course of the disease, along with review of symptoms of both hyperthyroidism and hypothyroidism. Giving a patient a prescription for thyroid labs (to be used at her discretion if symptoms become more severe) can sometimes be helpful in supporting the patient. Patients should understand the increased risk for development of future thyroid problems, and annual check of TSH to screen for problems is indicated.

The following websites can also supply useful and accurate information on PPT: The Hormone Foundation at www.hormone.org and American Thyroid Association at www.thyroid.org

Although thyroid dysfunction in the first year postpartum can be fairly common, there are no recommendations for routine screening of all women postpartum. The United States Preventive Services Task Force advises that routine screening is not indicated for asymptomatic individuals.[21] Women with a history of PPT should have an annual TSH to screen for thyroid dysfunction.[22] Women with type 1 diabetes, who have a three times higher risk for PPT, should be screened for thyroid dysfunction at 3 and 6 months postpartum.

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