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Childbirth triggers hormonal shockwaves

Mother looks sad and depressed as she hold her young babyDo you remember how you used to feel?

You were happy and well, with steady energy and emotions. You slept soundly and woke up feeling rested.

Your recovery from illness was fast. You maintained a healthy weight without dieting.

Now your energy lags during the day, you feel emotionally unbalanced and you sleep poorly. You can’t lose excess weight even while dieting. You use caffeine or carbohydrates as pick-me-ups.

Things instantly change when you have a baby and we are taught to expect that. But how things change often take women by surprise: the intensity of emotions, unexpected strains in marriage, a new connection with in-laws, and unintended disconnection from friends without children.

All of these new circumstances require time and solitude to process, two luxuries new mothers rarely have.

Your body changes – forever. There are the obvious changes in breast and body shape, but most importantly your hormones change too.

Symptoms of hormonal imbalance include:

  • being very emotional and upset
  • tearfulness for no apparent reason
  • low libido
  • being tense an anxious
  • difficulty sleeping
  • constant worry about minor problems
  • tiredness and lethargy
  • weight gain
  • hairloss

Many chronic illnesses in new mothers go untreated, because symptoms are mistaken for common complaints of sleep-deprived parents. “Well, you just had a baby” can answer for a lot of problems, but sometimes there is more to the story.

But some women suffer more intense, longer-lasting postpartum troubles that can threaten their health – and these troubles may be directly related to the thyroid.

As many as 10 percent of women may suffer thyroid problems after childbirth.

Is your thyroid causing chaos?

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. This phase usually appears anytime between one and four months after the birth of the baby.

In the second phase, which usually shows up three to eight months postpartum, your body becomes hypothyroid. 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. Sadly, blood tests don’t always pick up a thyroid imbalance leaving you confused.

The more you think about it, the clearer it becomes that we’ve got the whole weight loss thing upside down. We treat the symptom, which is the weight gain, instead of treating the cause, the reason why we are gaining weight.

Your adrenals can change your body shape!

Life stages contribute greatly to stress levels especially the arrival of a newborn baby, the sleepless nights, constant nappy changes and readjustments to family life mean you start to feel tired, frumpy and burnt out!

It is important to understand how stress affects your adrenals and ultimately your health. Adrenal Hypersensitivity simply means your adrenals have been, and perhaps still are, working over time.

In its normal function, cortisol helps you meet these challenges by converting proteins into energy, releasing glycogen and counteracting inflammation. For a short time, that’s OK. But at sustained high levels, cortisol gradually tears your body down.

Sustained high cortisol levels:

  • Destroy healthy muscle and bone
  • Slow down healing and normal cell replacement
  • Co-opt biochemical’s needed to make other vital hormones
  • Impair digestion, metabolism and mental function
  • Weaken your immune system
  • Interfere with healthy endocrine function contributing to conditions such as heightened menopause, sub-fertility, thyroid imbalance and ovarian imbalances such as PCOS, fibroids and endometriosis.

That Tummy Bulge!

One of cortisol’s many functions is that it stimulates the release of glucose, fats and amino acids for energy production. It will also keep your appetite stimulated. In addition, the type of fat that accumulates because of this stress-induced appetite will typically locate itself in the abdominal region of your body. Stress contributes to weight gain primarily because of an excess secretion of the key stress hormone cortisol, along with a reduced secretion of the key hormone Dehydroepiandrosterone, or DHEA. DHEA is a steroid hormone synthesised from cholesterol and secreted by your adrenal glands. It’s time to value your health.

It is important to adopt and achieve a diet that supports your lifestyle – one that doesn’t eliminate food groups but focuses on a formula that works for you! It should foster a passion in you to cook and take pleasure in food – choose flavorsome meals that are spirited and nourishing.

Dietary changes such as reducing MSG, excess sugars and cola drinks can greatly improve adrenal performance. Even the reduction of coffee and alcohol can substantially assist with a symptom like anxiety. Targeted nutrients prescribed by a practitioner, along with dietary changes can do wonders. Herbs such as Winter cherry, Licorice, Ginseng and the amino acid Tyrosine along with Vitamins B5 and B6 are well documented to support healthy adrenal function.

Remember, your health reflects the way you live – so isn’t it time you started making some healthy changes?

And that’s why, for many woman, generic diets just don’t work!

It is imperative to understand your body’s specific needs and thus be able take control of your own health.


This information in this article is intended as a general guide only. If you have any concerns about your own health please talk to your health care provider about your individual circumstances.

– article supplied by MassAttack

Image credit: stockbroker/123RF Stock Photo

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