Your Health

The thyroid gland is a small organ, but it has a big impact.

New Mothers


New mothers who have not been previously diagnosed with thyroid disease can develop problems with their thyroid within the first year after giving birth; this is called postpartum thyroiditis (PPT).1 There are several symptoms of both an underactive and overactive thyroid that new mothers can look out for.1

PPT and symptoms of an underactive thyroid

Approximately 25–45% of women who develop hypothyroid phase of PPT will experience the symptoms of an underactive thyroid.1 These include fatigue, loss of concentration, poor memory, constipation and possible depression.1

PPT and symptoms of an overactive thyroid

Between 20% and 30% of women who develop PPT experience symptoms of an overactive thyroid.1 These include fatigue, palpitations, weight loss, heat intolerance, nervousness, anxiety and irritability.1

Hyperthyroidism in PPT usually occurs in the first 6 months after the baby is born (most commonly around 3 months) and usually lasts between 1 and 2 months.1 The hypothyroidism phase of PPT usually occurs between 3 and 8 months (most commonly at 6 months) and usually last 4 to 6 months.  

How is PPT treated?

PPT is generally a passing and transient condition, and treatment is not needed in all cases.

  • New mothers without symptoms of an underactive thyroid but with TSH changes (not more than 10miU/L) in the blood who are not planning another child do not necessarily need treatment.1
  • However, thyroid monitoring/checks between 4 and 8 weeks after diagnosis are recommended.1
  • Women with the symptoms of hypothyroidism or who are planning a subsequent pregnancy should be treated with appropriate medication.1
  • New mothers with symptoms of an overactive thyroid should consult their doctor for further treatment.

Follow-up for women with PPT

Even though a diagnosis of thyroid problems may be scary, PPT is not generally a long-term condition and the majority of women find their thyroid gland works normally by the end of the first year after the birth of their baby.1 Should you experience any of the symptoms outlined above, please consult your doctor.

  1. De Groot L, Abalovich M, Alexander EK et al. Management of thyroid dysfunction during pregnancy and postpartum: an Endocrine Society clinical practice guideline. J Clin Endocrinol Metab 2012; 97: 2543–2565


Date of preparation: February 2022