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Pregnancy
  • Helping Kids with Mental Health Issues: Can it really start in utero or at birth?


    Click on this link to take you there

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dzQGzMmNuwY&app=desktop


    Join  Sharon King,  Sonja Courtis  and  Gaylene Hansen  as they discuss:

    Anxiety,  ADD, ADHD,  Self Harming,  Addictions  and other mental health issues that may have been created in utero or at birth.

    Why this happens  and  how you can help your child using EFT,  Matrix Reimprinting  and  Matrix Birth Reimprinting.

    ACE's  (Adverse Childhood Experiences Study)  and  how they contribute to addictions,  weight issues,  physical illnesses etc  late in life.

    Did you know that a research study shows that 80% of 7 year old Christchurch children, have anxiety?  These children were in utero during the Christchurch earthquakes.  Many of these families relocated to Nelson and other areas in New Zealand.

    What traumatic memories do they still carry, and how is this affecting their life?

    Gaylene shares her extensive knowledge about premature babies and what their needs are to promote healthy development.

    Your speakers

    Sharon King:  Author of Heal Your Birth,  Heal Your Life and  creator  of  Matrix  Birth  Reimprinting          www.MagicalNewBeginnings.com       & www.HealYourBirthBook.com

    Gaylene Hansen:  Neonatal Nurse,  former Midwife  and  Matrix  Birth Reimprinting  practitioner         www.nurturingnaturally.nz

    Sonja Courtis:  EFT / Matrix  Reimprinting  Practitioner   www.SonjaCourtis.com


    Links mentioned during the webinar

    http://www.magicalnewbeginnings.com/aces/

    http://www.healyourbirthbook.com/hybb/ans-polyvagal-theory/

    http://www.healyourbirthbook.com/

    https://www.stuff.co.nz/national/health/90619094/inutero-anxiety-from-christchurch-earthquakes-showing-up-at-school


    Matrix Birth Reimprinting

    "With Matrix Birth Reimprinting you can go back to the womb and reimprint your birth experience, which will change your energy levels, mood, and wellbeing in the present.

    Using EFT and Matrix Reimprinting we can go back and release the emotions connected to these traumas and create a whole new experience and belief system.

    Using a specially designed technique we can recreate the birth process and experience the special bonding process that is natural to every mother and child, if the right circumstances are presented to them at birth".    (Sharon King - Creator of Matrix Birth Reimprinting)

  • Babies, Birth, Relationships and Love


    An article written for   Meta-Healthy Life    online magazine  - link

    Our first relationships are within the womb when as a tiny bunch of cells we begin our journey in life.

    Many think of the developing embryo and fetus as an unconscious being. This is far from the truth.

    From the moment of conception we are conscious beings and are influenced by the world of our mother. And her mother, as we began as a cell when our mother was a three month fetus. We can look back even further if we consider that we chose our parents and plan our soul’s journey in this life. 1

    Love and relationships begin before conception

    Working with clients (and with myself) as a META-Health and Matrix Reimprinting Practitioner, I have witnessed the impact of how our experience in utero and at birth influences our life, our relationships and our ability to give and receive love. I have also personally been back to my 8 week old fetus, and earlier to my conception, to the origin of my one core belief, and what this might mean in the family relationships I would be born into.

    I have recently had the pleasure of training in Matrix Birth Reimprinting with its creator, Sharon King. As a neonatal nurse, midwife, mother, Matrix Reimprinting and META-Health practitioner, I have been following and incorporating Sharon’s work for some years.

    Attending this training enabled me to go deeper in my understanding and ability to work with birth trauma and pre-conscious memories. Through going back to my own birth, I learnt why I have such a deep passion for enabling loving, gentle birth, keeping babies with their mothers and fathers and nurturing newborns skin to skin. 2

    Babies are conscious beings from the moment of conception and they remember their birth and time in utero 3, 4. Every thought, feeling and emotion is recorded 5. There are many research studies and countless birth reimprinting stories that show us this is repeatedly true.

    Shaped by our birth

    Our birth story makes a difference to us. It sets the stage for our experiences in life, how our brain develops, how we organise ourselves, and how we relate to our world.

    Through my studies and research of the mind body brain social connection, I have learnt that our body knows what it needs, is always wise, and at all times, strives to maintain homeostasis. We respond to our environment through our senses and perceptions. These experiences create our thoughts, emotions, and beliefs and are not only in our mind and nervous system. Our brain releases chemical messages (neurotransmitters) that allow it to communicate with itself, and organ tissues. Our body bio-logically responds depending how we perceive the experience. So we are physically reacting, and changing, in response to the thoughts that run through our mind. This occurs at all stages of our development from a fetus in utero, to a new born baby and as we grow and become adults 6.

    Hypnosis, Matrix Reimprinting 7, Reiki, and other therapies have taught us we can connect energetically through time and space with someone anywhere in the world and in our past. Tuning into your little one during pregnancy creates learning, knowing and increased connection for both mother, father and baby. Post birth, early care can profoundly alter an infant throughout their life and effects of separation can be extensive. To a baby it is a life – death situation when separated from their mother. Separation disrupts an infant’s behaviour and development 8 and there is extensive research on its effects, especially if repeated. Effects not only for the infant, their mother, father and family, but also for society. Early stress also has the potential to alter gene expression.

    Sharon King, author of ‘Heal your Birth, Heal your Life’ 9 , writes of life long anxiety, hypervigilence, fear and shame, the inability to regulate ones’ emotions, an exaggerated stress response and decreased resilience, all relating back to separation at and around birth.

    Gabor Maté 10, 11 also writes extensively on this subject and includes a long list of effects, especially if separation continues during early childhood. Depression; socio-moral immaturity; relationship problems; trust, low self esteem and attachment problems; disconnect with others; behavioural and learning issues; aggression, violence and addiction; a feeling of being disempowered, rejected, unloved, unwanted or abandoned which may even lead to mental illness and or suicide; physical illness such as asthma, high blood pressure, heart disease, and cancer. All can relate back to separation issues, many of which may have originated at our birth.

    Further research shows us that our perception of our birth experience can impact on our decisions throughout life. For example having our cord around our neck at birth, may create dislike as a child and adult for anything around our neck. If our labour was induced we may have boundary issues, feel unable to do things for ourselves and need someone to rescue us, or not know how to get started on a project. Forceps delivery can lead to issues with bonding, loss of trust, and a sense of intrusion or violence. And the list goes on 5 .

    META Health provides us with the knowledge of how our body will respond when a specific organ tissue is impacted. We know the theme of what is occurring and the phases that will be experienced as the body moves through the process of healing, in its return to health. For example, an infant reunited with his or her mother after being separated may develop the red, hot, itchy symptoms of eczema – a skin epidermis condition.

    So I am asking some questions

    • Is the experience of your in utero relationships and birth affecting your life?
    • Or the life of your children?
    • Did you experience a traumatic event during your time in utero or when pregnant or during birth?
    • Is your birth experience influencing the decisions and choices you make in life?
    • Were you or your little one fearful or anxious during pregnancy and birth?

    Studies show 80% of seven year children who were in utero during the Christchurch, New Zealand earthquakes, suffer from anxiety.

    If any of these questions, or many others I have not asked, bring up memories or trigger you in any way, remember, we (and our parents and those involved in our birth) were always doing the best we could with the knowledge and understanding we had at that time 5.

    Dr Sears 12 and many others write of the “sensitive period” at birth when mothers and newborns are uniquely programmed to be in contact with each other and do good things to each other.

    Enabling skin to skin nurturing at birth, during the neonatal period and beyond, is my greatest love for infants and their parents. I have written a series of four articles on this and continue to expand this opportunity for newborn infants and parents in my work as a neonatal nurse within Special Care Baby Unit (Nelson, New Zealand).

    Through my neonatal nursing work I was fortunate to attend a one day seminar with Nils Bergman, the worlds leading authority on skin to skin. Backed by extensive ongoing research we know this is what every newborn infant requires and deserves.

    Relationships that began before and in utero, are cemented further within the psyche of the infant and mother (and father) at birth. I deeply and passionately believe loving gentle birth is the way forward for mankind.

    For those who were unable to experience this and loving vibrations during their time in utero, Matrix Birth Reimprinting gives us the opportunity to go back. To give our little self a voice to say and do what they needed to do, in every moment of trauma, big or small. To connect and form a loving bond with their mother, father and significant other. The impact of this on our life is profound. We are social beings and need our family, our community, and one another in our world.

    Life is meant to be a journey of discovery, to find the learning from our experiences so we can evolve as conscious beings. This starts before our birth.

    I am hopeful that in teaching and writing, I can share my experience and research with others, so it will become the norm to honour and respect the dynamic connection between an infant, their mother, their father and family.

    I invite you to follow these link to the full articles:

    Why Newborn Babies Need Skin to Skin Nurturing
    Part 1
    Part 2
    Part 3
    Part 4

    Matrix Birth Reimprinting

    More: Nurturing Naturally website blog index

    References
    1. Schwartz, R. (2012). Your Soul’s Plan: Discovering the Real Meaning of the Life You Planned
    Before You Were Born. Whispering Winds Press: USA

    2. Hansen. G. (2018). Matrix Birth Reimprinting
    3. Chamberlain, D. B. (2013). Windows to the Womb. North Atlantic Books: Berkeley.
    4. Chamberlain, D.B. (2015). Babies Remember Birth
    5. King, S. (2018), Personal communication. Matrix Birth Reimprinting Training, Gold Coast Aus-
    tralia

    6. Hansen, G. (2017). Why Newborn Babies Need Skin to Skin Nurturing – Part Two
    7. https://www.matrixreimprinting.com/
    8. Bergman, N. (2016). Skin-to-skin contact is our BIOLOGY.
    And a one day seminar with Nils Bergman I had the pleasure to attend.

    9. King, S. (2015). Heal Your Birth, Heal Your Life. Silverwood: Bristol.
    10. Mate, G. (2011). Dr. Gabor Mate on Attachment and Conscious Parenting
    11. Mate, G. (2011). When the Body Says No. John Wiley & Sons: New Jersey
    12. Sears, W. (2017). Bonding with Your Newborn

  • Matrix Birth Reimprinting




    In March 2018 I had the pleasure of flying to the Gold Coast Australia to train in ‘Matrix Birth Reimprinting & Matrix Life Purpose’ with their creator, Sharon King.  This qualification enables me to work with Birth Traumas and pre-conscious memories.

    As a neonatal nurse, midwife, mother, Matrix Reimprinting and Meta-Health practitioner, I have been following Sharon's work for some years. I loved her book ‘Heal Your Birth, Heal Your Life’ and consider it compulsory reading for everyone who has been born, given birth, and for all who work with clients and child birth.

    Attending this training has enabled me to go deeper in my understanding of the impact of our birth on our life.

    Through going back to my birth, I learnt why I have such a deep passion for keeping babies with their mothers (and fathers) and skin to skin nurturing.


    I was born in the era when newborn babies were placed in a nursery and taken out to their mothers for feeding 4 hourly. Guided gently and lovingly by a colleague on my Matrix Birth Reimprinting training, I went back to my newly born self.  Not to become her, but to be with her.  She was in her cot, crying.  Separated from her mother as was every other baby in that nursery room.
    Being able to say and do what she wanted is / was life changing for her and me.  We wrapped her gently in a soft pink blanket - her chosen colour for safety.  We asked her what she needed.  Together, we created the 3 things she wanted - her angel to come and watch over her,  her daddy to take her to her mummy and put her back on skin to skin. This was profound for her,  but she wanted more.  She wanted all the other babies daddies to take them to their mummies too, to be placed on skin to skin, nurtured with no separation.

    On my visits back to that nursery room, multiple times since, it was always empty.
    Several days later I went back into the ‘matrix’ and changed that room, to be a place for nurturing babies on their mothers and fathers. Soft lighting and gentle music now fills that room. A place of comfort with lazy boy chairs. A place for babies, mothers, fathers and families where only love and connection exists.



    This is the ability we have with Matrix Birth Reimprinting for any birth experience.

    Babies are conscious beings from the moment of conception and they remember their birth and time in utero (Chamberlain, 2013). Every thought, feeling and emotion is recorded (King, 2018). There are many research studies and countless birth reimprinting stories that show us this is repeatedly true.

    Our birth story makes a difference to us. It sets the stage for our experiences in life, how our brain develops, how we organise ourselves and how we relate to our world.


    I reach out to you and ask:   

    • Is your experience of birth affecting your life?     

                  or the life of your children?

    • Were you or your little one fearful or anxious during pregnancy and birth?
    • Did you experience a traumatic event during your time in utero or when pregnant or during birth
    • Did you have a fast birth?
    • Were you induced, born by caesarean, forceps, ventouse, stuck, or had your cord tightly around your neck during your birth?
    • Did you or your children experience separation?
    • Are you aware, that the health concerns / relationship issues you are experiencing during your life may relate to your birth?


    If any of these questions, or many others I have not asked, bring up memories or trigger you in any way, remember, we (and our parents and those involved in our birth) were always doing the best we could with the knowledge and understanding we had at that time (King, 2018). 

    It is how   we  perceive our experiences in life that is relevent for us. And our reality  will likely differ from others perception even if they were there at that time.

    We also all come into this world to learn through our experiences.




    Be open to the possibility that you can reconnect with your little self and your parents through Matrix Birth Reimprinting, to have the perfect birth and bonding experience for you and to take the learnings and move forward in your life.

    With loving, gentle guidance you can also recreate the birth you wanted for your children and if you are pregnant, future imprint the birth you want for your baby. What might this change in your and their life?

    Enabling gentle loving birth and healing birth trauma is the foundation and the way forward for us all. At the time we were actually in utero and born, or through Matrix Birth Reimprinting.

    It matters how we are born (Bergman, 2016).



    If this resonates with you and you would like to learn more or experience Matrix Birth Reimprinting, message me via: 

    www.facebook.com/nurturingnaturallynz   

    or   

    connect with me:  click here 

     

    It is never too late to have the birth of your choice. 


    References

    Bergman, N. (2016). Personal communication. Skin to Skin Evidence and Implementation Seminar. Wellington, New Zealand.

    Chamberlain, D. (2013). Windows to the Womb. North Atlantic Books: California.

    King, S. (2018), Personal communication. Matrix Birth Reimprinting Training, Gold Coast Australia.

  • Summary of Thyroid Imbalance from a Mind Body Brain Perspective


    We respond to the environment we live in and your body does not make mistakes. Ask, what is your body trying to tell you.

    Autoimmune diseases relate to a traumatic experience usually early in our life, that involves an attack against self lymphatic response. This ‘attack’ is something you perceived around your self-worth of not being able to cope or trust. Within a loving and supportive environment such as with an experienced practitioner, ask yourself: how, when and why did I become an enemy to myself and / or when did I allow others to influence me, denying my own self worth, thoughts or feelings.

    When the thyroid reacts the conflict theme is either about:     

    1. A recurring powerlessness / fear struggle. I am powerlessness and fearful of    something / someone coming towards me, vulnerable, not safe and I can’t do anything about it.   

    2. A recurring survival issue of being too slow, not quick enough with the need to go faster.                                                                                                                             

    3. Both 1 & 2

    The experienced trauma is individual and unique to the person and is always unanticipated, dramatic and isolating for them.

    You are the key to your own health. Healing comes from within so take full responsibility for your health and wellbeing. Healing from the root causes, not simply easing symptoms. Include others to guide, love and support you but remember the ultimate process of healing is yours. It should always be your journey, your decisions, your choices.

    Awareness of the mind - brain - body connection and the two phases of stress and regeneration, reduces and removes fear of symptoms as it enables understanding of why the body is responding in a particular way. It also guides you in what you can do to support its healing process. Whatever age you are, your inner child remains. Learn to be calmly curious about what you are experiencing.

    Names of health concerns are just names and do not define you. View them as a process - a response to something, your chance to learn and take the action needed to regain your vitality and passion in life.

    Genes are not your destiny. As the research of epigenetics shows us, you have a lot of control over the switching on and off of your genetic inheritance by changing the environment of your cells.

    Nourishing and supporting your body is vital and includes working with the body’s energy system. Look at your lifestyle and environment. Everything you put in and on your body - the food and water you eat and drink, the air you breathe, the personal care and cleaning products you use, the electronic devices you use, and your balance of fun, rest, sleep, exercise and how you move. Be aware of your emotions, your social interactions with others and the beliefs and values you hold.

    How much love do you have for yourself? Love and connection with others is central to survive to reach our greatest potential of health. Isolation increases separation. Find, connect and share with others. Connect with higher powers if this is right for you. Gratitude, love, connection. Find what you need to feel safe, secure, nurtured and loved

    Your empowerment is in your ability to reframe previous beliefs and change how your mind, brain and body responds.

    Understanding your soul journey may also help you understand you are more than your physical presence.

    Your personal growth is in discovering yourself spiritually and finding your passion, your life purpose and what you came into this lifetime to learn.

  • Pregnancy and Thyroid Imbalance Part 6: Addressing Pregnancy / Postpartum Thyroid Imbalance and Depression


    • Find a doctor who understands thyroid disease and how it affects your pregnancy and post birth. Someone knowledgeable and open to lifestyle interventions, alongside medications if they are needed.
    • Ensure you have close medical supervision if you are taking antidepressants and during any weaning off phases 1.
    • Preferably learn and address thyroid imbalance and your potential for this before you become pregnant. Thyroid hormone requirements go up during pregnancy and any thyroid imbalance needs close monitoring 2.
    • Correct copper zinc ratio gradually and carefully with doctor / naturopath guidance.
    • Take responsibility for your health and wellbeing. You are your own, and your baby’s, advocate. Research, ask questions and speak up for yourself and your little one when you know something is not right 3.
    • If overwhelmed by sadness, crying spells, distancing from spouse, inability to care for your baby, seek help, and, get your thyroid checked 4.
    • Meta-Health Analysis, Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT), and Matrix Reimprinting, can be very beneficial in finding and resolving the root cause of your thyroid imbalance and depression.
    • A tailored Lifestyle Prescription, should include nutritional guidance of foods and / or vitamin and antioxidant supplements that are depleted and those nutrients known to be linked to mood (Vitamin C, Zinc, Selenium, Calcium, Omega-3 fatty acids 4).
    • We are social beings so healing also involves love, connection and support from caring others - family, friends and / or specific support groups with those who have had and overcome similar experiences.
    • Fun, enjoyment, relaxation, meditation …. re-evaluating ones values and beliefs and finding your life goals and purpose are also steps to healing.

    Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis - A New Path of Learning and Discovery, provides an in depth look at thyroid Imbalance from a western and mind body brain perspective 5. (Coming in an ebook but in interim, link to part 1 of this 4 part series)

    Do not expect the mother to tough it out. She needs love and support to reduce the overwhelm. Take depression and thyroid imbalance seriously. Do not neglect it. The mother, infant, family and future generations depend on it. Nurture the mother, the infant and the family.

    Remember that “our life is an endless path of learning, an evolving journey of personal growth and development, a discovery of who we are, and the beliefs we hold. Each step provides the opportunity to look at what shapes us to be our individual unique self” (Hansen, 2016). 5


    References

    1. Trentini, D. (2013). The Truth About Hypothyroidism And Depression. http://hypothyroidmom.com/the-truth-about-hypothyroidism-and-depression/

    2. Wentz, I. (2013). Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis. Lifestyle Interventions for finding and Treating the Root Cause. ISBN. USA.

    3. Katie - Wellness Mama. (2017). How Thyroid Disease Affects Pregnancy and Fertility https://wellnessmama.com/156213/pregnancy-thyroid-disease/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=pregnancy-thyroid-disease

    4. Arem, R. (2007). The Thyroid Solution. Ballantine Books: New York.

    5. Hansen, G. M. (2016). Hashimoto's Thyroiditis - A New Path of Learning and Discovery (Parts 1 - 4). http://www.nurturingnaturally.nz/blog


    Part 7, 'Thyroid Imbalance from a Mind Body Brain Perspective - Summary Points' will conclude this series of posts.

  • Pregnancy and Thyroid Imbalance Part 5: Postpartum Depression and Copper Connection


    Dr William Walsh, the author of ‘Nutrient Power’, provides extensive research on the connection between high copper levels and postnatal depression.

    To quote Dr Walsh:

    “Copper and oestrogen are related and I’ve seen probably 400 cases of postpartum depression. Virtually all of them have a copper overload. These are people who might have been on SSRI antidepressants and with nothing really happening not making them better or worse. But if we are able to simply normalise their copper most of them become completely okay and you can throw away their medications. They’re the easiest people to help” 1.

    A woman's copper level normally more than doubles during pregnancy to provide for her growing fetus 1, 2, 3. The levels should then start reducing back to normal. Dr Walsh and his colleagues believe that in women who develop postpartum depression, the copper levels stay high, most likely, they suspect, due of a genetically determined flaw in the protein that regulates copper levels 1, 2, 3.

    Excess copper in the brain can contribute to postpartum depression as it alters the balance of two mood regulating chemicals, dopamine and norepinephrine 1, 3, 4. 5. High copper may also be seen in bipolar disorder, severe anxiety disorders, depression, ADHD, autism, some types of schizophrenia, obsessive-compulsive disorder, alzheimer’s and psychosis 3, 4. 6.

    If a woman has an anxiety or depression disorder with the onset at puberty it is highly likely the lab results will show a copper problem. At hormonal events such as those at puberty, childbirth and menopause copper levels tend to become skewed if the person is not able to regulate their copper 1, 5. Birth control pills and hormone replacement may also raise copper levels 5, 6.

    Copper toxicity can be compounded with each pregnancy and may explain tragic stories of “seemingly healthy women who in the midst of a postpartum psychosis harm their children” 5. It may also explain emotional or other health problems that begin after the birth of a child, and for girls who develop inattention, anxiety, panic or depression around the onset of puberty 4.

    Specific laboratory blood test results of elevated copper levels and insufficient serum ceruloplasmin (copper binding protein) indicate copper toxicity. From these two levels the percentage of free copper in serum another marker for diagnosis can be calculated. Commonly, zinc is depleted in these patients, and may also suggest an impairment of copper detoxification mechanisms 3, 7.

    Management

    Copper levels need to be adjusted gradually and carefully, guided by blood test monitoring and a qualified knowledgeable doctor / naturopath. One way to do this is zinc supplementation. As zinc and copper need to be in balance in our body, high in one will create low in the other 8. Many people with Hashimoto’s (and adrenal fatigue) have low stomach acid, which can lead to depletion of zinc and raise their blood copper level 8.

    Small doses of zinc are given initially then the dose is increased. For most people it will take about six to eight weeks 1, 3, 4.  Slowly correcting and normalising high copper levels, minimises any discomfort to the person 1, 3.

    Avoid multivitamins with copper. Copper deficiency is rare and most people do not need it in a supplement 3, 4.

    Limit exposure that can raise copper levels: drinking water, especially if from copper pipes or well water; swimming pools treated with copper for algae; copper cookware: and copper containing intrauterine contraceptive devices 4, 6. Foods including chocolate, seafood, avocado, beans, nuts, lamb and organ meat also contain higher levels of copper 4.

    Monitor thyroid function tests and Vitamin D levels. If either or both are abnormal, address this in order to more easily correct the copper overload 4.

    Provide an individualised nutrient protocol based on the person's clinical presentation, laboratory tests, age, weight and how well they absorb nutrients 4.


    References

    1. Scott, T. (2016). The Anxiety Summit – Is My Anxiety and Depression from a Methylation, Pyrrole, or Copper-Zinc Imbalance? http://www.everywomanover29.com/blog/anxiety-depression-methylation-pyrrole-copper-zinc-imbalance/

    2. Norton, A. (2007). High copper levels tied to postpartum depression http://www.reuters.com/article/us-postpartum-depression-idUSCOL96756220070209

    3. Jazzar, C. (2008). Study Links High Copper Levels to Postpartum Anxiety Reactions https://momswellness.wordpress.com/2008/11/11/study-links-high-copper-levels-to-ppd/

    4. Synder, C. (2015). Copper Overload - Too Much of a Good Thing http://www.courtneysnydermd.com/blog/copper-overload-too-much-of-a-good-thing3

    5. Walsh, W. J. (2014). Nutrient Power. Heal Your Biochemistry and Heal Your Brain. Skyhorse Publishing: Canada

    6. Pfeiffer, C. C. (1987). Nutrition and Mental Illness. On Orthomolecular Approach to Balancing Body Chemistry. Healing Arts Press: Vermont.

    7. Bowman, J, (2015). Copper Overload and Depression in Girls and Women http://www.mensahmedical.com/copper-overload/

    8. Hansen, G. M. (2016). Hashimoto's Thyroiditis - A New Path of Learning and Discovery (Parts 1 - 4). http://www.nurturingnaturally.nz/blog

  • Pregnancy and Thyroid Imbalance Part 4: Postpartum Depression and Thyroid Imbalance


    Postpartum Depression

    Caring for a newborn infant is an exciting time for many. However, it can also be a time of increased worries, responsibilities, and stress. Postpartum experiences of anxiety, mood swings, anger, difficulty sleeping and crying spells are known to many. If these continue over several weeks, consider if a thyroid imbalance is adding to what you are feeling. Thyroid imbalance can be a trigger of the depression or a contributing factor.

    Many women struggle through this period and may feel isolated, especially when others have trouble coping with their changes in mood and behaviour.

    On her website 'HypothyroidMom', Dana Trentini 1, has a heart wrenching story of a newly postpartum 2nd time mum with extreme postpartum depression who envisioned harming her baby yet knowing she would never do this. Her TSH (Thyroid Stimulating Hormone) level was 100 (normal functional range is 1.8 to 3.0 mU/L 2, 3 ). She was not crazy. She had a extreme hypothyroidism.

    Two further stories highlight the impact of depression and thyroid imbalance. Robyn Sheldon shares her story of postpartum hypothyroidism and depression and how it impacted her ability to breast feed 4. Stacey Rivera’s story is titled “A Sneaky Disease Tricked Me Into Thinking I Had Postpartum Depression” 5.

    Postpartum depression shares many symptoms with thyroid disease. It is imperative for the health and wellbeing of mothers and infants that we distinguish between the two, provide the optimum care every woman deserves, and not attribute these symptoms to the demands of caring for a new infant 6.

    Research shows that when postnatal depression affects a mother’s ability to provide the care her baby needs, it may impact on their development especially when the depression continues for a long time 7. 8.

    Thyroid Imbalance and Post Partum Depression

    Thyroid imbalance occurs quite frequently in the postpartum period. “Research shows that 5% to 12% of all women have postpartum autoimmune thyroiditis. Half to two thirds of these women experience hyperthyroidism, hypothyroidism or both in the postpartum period” 7.

    Thyroid imbalance can also cause or exacerbate postpartum depression especially in women who already feel vulnerable. And if you have postpartum depression, you have a higher frequency of positive anti-thyroid antibodies which are a marker for autoimmune thyroid disease 7.

    Both hypothyroidism and hyperthyroidism can cause depression postpartum.

    Much of this is little publicised. Thyroid imbalance and its many symptoms, may be creating or contributing to a woman experiencing postpartum depression. Guilt around her inability to cope with demands and the care of her little one, plus subconscious fears of mothering, and real or perceived lack of support from husband or family will exacerbate the depression.

    All women with a history of depression or any symptoms of thyroid disease (high or low), need to be tested for thyroid imbalance.

    If you are on antidepressants, it is advisable to talk to your doctor about taking a closer look at your thyroid condition and be sure your thyroid testing includes “at a minimum TSH, Free T4, Free T3, Reverse T3 and thyroid antibodies 10. Consider also other potential underlying medical conditions for depression such as anaemia, PCOS, Celiac Disease and PMS 9.

    Those with Thyroid Disease frequently have low zinc levels. When zinc is low, copper is usually high as these two minerals work in with one another. Although high copper may or may not be associated with Thyroid Disease, it can be implicated in Postnatal Depression so I wish to address it within this article.

    Part 5 will explore the connection of Postpartum Depression and levels of Copper.


    References

    1. Trentini, D. (2012). Hashimoto’s Disease: The Danger of Thyroid Antibodies and Pregnancy http://hypothyroidmom.com/hashimotos-disease-the-danger-of-thyroid-antibodies-and-pregnancy/

    2. Kharrazian, D. (2010). Why Do I Still Have Thyroid Symptoms? When my Lab Tests Are Normal. Elephant Press: Carlsbad California.

    3. Hashimoto’s Awareness. (2017). An Interview with Dana Trentini of Hypothyroid Mom http://www.hashimotosawareness.org/dana-trentini-of-hypothyroid-mom/

    4. Sheldon, R. (2015). Postpartum Hypothyroidism: How it led to depression & breastfeeding problems. https://www.twiniversity.com/2014/08/postpartum-hypothyroidism-how-it-led-to-depression-breastfeeding-problems/

    5. Rivera, S. (2011). A Sneaky Disease Tricked Me Into Thinking I Had Postpartum Depression. http://thestir.cafemom.com/healthy_living/129191/a_sneaky_disease_tricked_me

    6. Pereira, K. & Brown, A. J. (2008). Postpartum Thyroiditis: Not Just a Worn Out Mom http://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/574462_5

    7. Arem, R. (2007). The Thyroid Solution. Ballantine Books: New York.

    8. Dach, J. (2016). Low Thyroid, Hashimotos and Pregnancy http://jeffreydachmd.com/2016/11/low-thyroid-hashimotos-pregnancy/

    9. Trentini, D. (2013). The Truth About Hypothyroidism And Depression. http://hypothyroidmom.com/the-truth-about-hypothyroidism-and-depression/

  • Pregnancy and Thyroid Imbalance Part 3: Thyroid Imbalance Postpartum


    Thyroid Imbalance Postpartum

    Postpartum thyroiditis is often undiagnosed when the symptoms of exhaustion and moodiness are mistaken for postpartum ‘blues’. If symptoms of fatigue and lethargy do not go away within a few weeks, or a woman develops postpartum depression, she should talk with her health care provider, preferably one who understands thyroid imbalance 1, 3.

    Onset of a thyroid imbalance may occur 1 - 2 months after delivery, presents with different patterns and affects 4% to 10% of women 1, 2, 3.

    The most typical pattern is a transient or temporary hyperthyroidism for 2 - 6 months followed by hypothyroidism around 3 - 12 months, then return to normal. 25% - 30% of women with postpartum thyroiditis follow this pattern 2, 3. What is occurring in this pattern is an initial destruction of thyroid cells creating a release of thyroid hormones causing symptoms of hyperthyroidism. Then as destruction subsides, hypothyroidism occurs as the cells can’t maintain normal levels. Cells then begin to regenerate and thyroid recovery occurs 1, 2.

    In some women, normal function will follow the initial hyperthyroidism. In others, permanent hypothyroidism will develop 1, 2, 3. Low grade hypothyroidism, even transient, increases the risk of thyroid problems later in life 1, 2. 4.

    Experiencing postpartum thyroid dysfunction once, increases the risk in future pregnancies and thyroid problems later in life. Multiple pregnancies and previous miscarriages also increase the risk of ongoing hypothyroidism 1, 2.

    Postpartum Symptoms of Thyroid Imbalance

    Postpartum symptoms of thyroid imbalance depend on whether the phase of imbalance is hyperthyroid (overactive) or hypothyroid (underactive).

    For those with Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis, this can cycle between the two 5a, 5b.

    Symptoms of hyperthyroid include fatigue, anxiety, insomnia, diarrhoea, weight loss, fast heartbeat and palpitations, migraines, sweating, tremor, muscle weakness, while those of hypothyroid are depression, fatigue, sluggishness, constipation, weight gain, puffy face, pale dry skin, cold sensitivity, muscle ache, hair loss. However many more may also be experienced 3, 4, 5a, 5b, 6, 7. It is estimated there are “300+ Hypothyroid symptoms” 7.

    Breastfeeding and Thyroid Imbalance

    Breastfeeding may be impacted by thyroid imbalance. Many women with hyperthyroidism report a large milk supply, yet others may have some difficulty with their let down reflex. As thyroid hormones play a role in normal breast development and helping breasts to make milk, hypothyroidism may influence the ability to produce a full milk supply. However, for many this is not the case and they have no problem with their milk supply with or without medication. Women who have been properly treated for hypothyroidism say they have no problems with their milk supply 8, 9. Some women report their thyroid hormone level needed to be within the upper range of normal but this depends on your body and response 8.

    Research shows that the thyroid hormones you take, only cross over into your breast milk in minute quantities and are not considered harmful to your baby. For some mothers, changing to natural desiccated thyroid can increase their breast milk supply 9.

    These are discussions to have with your doctor. If you are receiving treatment for your hyperthyroid, Thomas Hale, the world’s expert on medications and breastfeeding, suggests that your doctor monitor your infant’s thyroid function while you are breastfeeding 9.

    Thyroid imbalance can also result in postpartum depression.

    In Part 4 we will explore Postpartum Depression and Thyroid Imbalance


    References

    1. NIH. (2012). Pregnancy & Thyroid Disease. https://www.niddk.nih.gov/health-information/endocrine-diseases/pregnancy-thyroid-disease

    2. Arem, R. (2007). The Thyroid Solution. Ballantine Books: New York.

    3. Trentini, D. (2012). Your Postpartum Fatigue Could Be A Sign Of Thyroid Problems. http://hypothyroidmom.com/your-postpartum-fatigue-could-be-a-sign-of-thyroid-problems/

    4. Shomon, M. (2016). Thyroid Problem After Pregnancy: Postpartum Thyroiditis. https://www.verywell.com/thyroid-problems-after-pregnancy-3231767

    5a. Hansen, G. M. (2016). Hashimoto's Thyroiditis - A New Path of Learning and Discovery (Parts 1 - 4). http://www.nurturingnaturally.nz/blog

    5b. Hansen, G. M. (2017). Thyroid Imbalance within a Mind Body Brain Perspective. ebook.

    6. Hashimoto’s Awareness. http://www.hashimotosawareness.org/

    7. Trentini, D. (2012). 300+ Hypothyroidism Symptoms…Yes REALLY http://hypothyroidmom.com/300-hypothyroidism-symptoms-yes-really/

    8. Australian Breastfeeding Association. (2014). Breastfeeding and thyroid disease. https://www.breastfeeding.asn.au/bfinfo/breastfeeding-and-thyroid-disease

    9. STTM. Being a Hypothyroid Mother and Nursing. https://stopthethyroidmadness.com/hypothyroid-mother-and-nursing/

  • Pregnancy and Thyroid Imbalance Part 2: Miscarriage, Pregnancy and Thyroid Imbalance


    Miscarriage and Thyroid Imbalance

    Miscarriage is a traumatic, and for many, a devastating time in one’s life and even more so if repeated.

    A high rate of recurrent miscarriages has been demonstrated among women with thyroid imbalances 1, 2, 3, 4. Even minimal thyroid imbalance can cause recurrent miscarriages and inability to carry a normal pregnancy. A study in 2011 found that the presence of thyroid antibodies increased the risk of miscarriage by 290% 3.

    “A woman with untreated hypothyroidism is at the greatest risk for a miscarriage during her first trimester. Unless the case is mild, women with untreated hyperthyroidism are also at risk for miscarriage” 5.

    There is a lack of awareness even among many doctors of the dangers of thyroid imbalance in pregnancy. Be the advocate for yourself and your baby - insist on thyroid testing if you have any thyroid symptoms. You will find a list of symptoms on several websites 6, 7, 8, 9.

    There is so much suffering, guilt, and depression exacerbated by hypothyroidism. Ask your doctor for thyroid testing and ensure any thyroid imbalance is corrected before becoming pregnant to avoid further issues with pregnancy and your baby. If you have thyroid antibodies, you have an autoimmune disorder and research shows that if you have one, you are likely to have others.

    During pregnancy ensure your thyroid levels are monitored frequently. Find a doctor who listens to you and who will support you throughout your pregnancy and following the birth of your baby. Whenever you feel something is not right do not delay, talk to your doctor and ensure you have the tests you need whether you are on thyroid treatment or not.

    The Guidelines of the American Thyroid Association for the Diagnosis and Management of Thyroid Disease during Pregnancy and Postpartum 4, recommend that women with Hashimoto’s, should have their TSH “evaluated every 4 weeks during the first half of pregnancy and at least once between 26 and 32 weeks gestation. TSH levels above the trimester-specific pregnancy reference range should be treated 9. Dana Trentini, on her website HyopthyroidMom includes the ideal TSH levels for each trimester namely, first trimester, 0.1-2.5 mIU/L; second trimester, 0.2-3.0 mIU/L; third trimester, 0.3-3.0 mIU/L” 3. Those on thyroid treatment will need monitoring more frequently.

    Pregnancy, Birth and Thyroid Imbalance

    An overwhelming number of hormonal changes during pregnancy and postpartum can trigger an adverse thyroid reaction. Also undiagnosed or improperly managed thyroid problems can lead to complications with pregnancy and birth and can increases the chances of pre-eclampsia, miscarriage, premature birth, low birth weight, anaemia and stillbirth 5, 10, 11

    Graves Disease is the most common form of hyperthyroidism (overactive) in pregnancy and 1 in 1500 women will be affected.

    The more common thyroid imbalance, hypothyroidism (underactive), is an autoimmune disease, Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis.

    “According to the American Thyroid Association, 10% to 20% of all pregnant women in the first trimester of pregnancy are positive for Hashimoto’s antibodies” but are told they are euthyroid. Based on their TSH level (Thyroid Stimulating Hormone) they have normal thyroid functioning 3. Although they appear and may feel normal, they have subclinical Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis, where their body is silently responding to and destroying their own thyroid gland. “A significant percentage of these women will develop a TSH above the trimester-specific pregnancy reference range by the third trimester, endangering the life of their fetus" 3.

    Both hyper and hypothyroidism can have adverse impacts on mum and baby, so it is essential to take ownership of your health during pregnancy 11.

    In Part 3 we will explore Thyroid Imbalance Postpartum


    References:

    1.  Arem, R. (2007). The Thyroid Solution. Ballantine Books: New York.

    2.  Stagnaro-Green, A. (2011). Thyroid Antibodies and Miscarriage: Where Are We at a Generation Later? https://www.hindawi.com/journals/jtr/2011/841949/

    3.  Trentini, D. (2012). Hashimoto’s Disease: The Danger of Thyroid Antibodies and Pregnancy http://hypothyroidmom.com/hashimotos-disease-the-danger-of-thyroid-antibodies-and-pregnancy/

    4.  Stagnaro-Green, A., Abalovich, M., Alexander, E., Azizi, F., Mestman, J., Negro, R., Nixon, A., Pearce, E.N., Soldin, O.P., Sullivan, S., and Wiersinga, W. (2011). Guidelines of the American Thyroid Association for the Diagnosis and Management of Thyroid Disease During Pregnancy and Postpartum. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3472679/

    5. Thyroid Awareness. (2016). The Thyroid and Pregnancy. http://www.thyroidawareness.com/the-thyroid-and-pregnancy

    6.  Hashimoto’s Awareness. Checklist of Hashimoto’s Symptoms. http://www.hashimotosawareness.org/how-hashimotos-is-diagnosed/checklist-of-hashimotos-symptoms/

    7.  Roman. A. Hyperthyroidism During Pregnancy. https://www.thebump.com/a/hyperthyroidism-during-pregnancy

    8.  Hansen, G. M. (2016). Hashimoto's Thyroiditis - A New Path of Learning and Discovery (Parts 1 - 4). http://www.nurturingnaturally.nz/blog

    9.  Trentini, D. (2012). Your Postpartum Fatigue Could Be A Sign Of Thyroid Problems. http://hypothyroidmom.com/your-postpartum-fatigue-could-be-a-sign-of-thyroid-problems/

    10. NIH. (2012). Pregnancy & Thyroid Disease. https://www.niddk.nih.gov/health-information/endocrine-diseases/pregnancy-thyroid-disease

    11. Katie - Wellness Mama. (2017). How Thyroid Disease Affects Pregnancy and Fertility. https://wellnessmama.com/156213/pregnancy-thyroid-disease/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=pregnancy-thyroid-disease

  • Pregnancy and Thyroid Imbalance Part 1: Overview, Infertility, and Thyroid Imbalance


    Pregnancy and Thyroid Imbalance

    Part 1   Overview, Infertility, and Thyroid Imbalance

    Part 2   Miscarriage, Pregnancy and Thyroid Imbalance

    Part 3   Thyroid Imbalance Postpartum

    Part 4   Postpartum Depression and Thyroid Imbalance

    Part 5   Postpartum Depression and Copper Connection

    Part 6   Addressing Pregnancy / Postpartum Thyroid Imbalance and Depression

    Part 7   Thyroid Imbalance from a Mind Body Brain Perspective - Summary

    An individual blog will be created for each part.


    Part 1 Overview, Infertility, and Thyroid Imbalance

    Thyroid imbalance creates a myriad of symptoms that affect your physical, psychological and emotional health. It is often unsuspected as a cause in many disorders including depression, anxiety, infertility, miscarriage and postpartum depression.

    It is a sad fact that many women (and men) suffer needlessly for many years from undetected thyroid imbalance.

    Did you know?

    • In the USA over 30 million people have a thyroid disorder, and another nearly 10 million are undiagnosed. Thyroid disease is also on the increase with 500,000 new cases a year 1.
    • 30% of women suffer from an under active thyroid 2, 3. Many others have a form of hyperthyroidism.
    • A sharp increase in thyroid imbalance occurs after the birth of a baby, at perimenopause and menopause.

    Both underactive and overactive thyroid conditions can cause infertility and affect pregnancy outcomes.

    • 1 in 6 couples have issues with infertility and the effect on their lives is likely to be huge.
    • A study shows approximately 25% of women presenting with infertility have low grade hypothyroidism 1.

    Infertility and Thyroid Imbalance

    Infertility issues can make you feel depressed when you are unable to become pregnant. Thyroid imbalance worsens depression and the inability to cope with the stress taxes the thyroid even more. Even minimal hypothyroidism can cause infertility 1, 4.

    Symptoms of Thyroid Imbalance are many and vary depending on whether the imbalance is hypothyroid or hyperthyroid.

    Learning about thyroid imbalance and seeing a doctor who listens to you as you explain what you are experiencing, who asks about your health and family history and who will run a complete set of thyroid laboratory tests is a vital early step in infertility treatment and may save much suffering 1, 3

    Be aware the functional levels of TSH test range from 1.8 to 3 mU/L, a narrower range than most doctors recognise 5. Other necessary blood tests include Free T3 and Free T4, Reverse T3 and Thyroid antibodies (Thyroglobulin - (Anti-Tg) and Thyroid Peroxidase antibodies (Anti-TPO) 2, 3, 5, 6.

    Men who have sperm infertility issues should also have thyroid tests as a thyroid imbalance can impact on this 3.

    Infertility can create stress, anxiety, and suffering. Couples may feel a wide range of emotions and feelings from guilt, inadequacy, sadness, shame, vulnerability, and isolation, to failure and low self esteem. The huge costs, multiple doctor appointments, effects on employment, monthly hopes and expectations, feeling of no control over ones life, can lead to depression and marital problems 1.

    Frequently, unexplained infertility may be attributed to stress or psychological factors but many of these women have symptoms typical of hypothyroidism 3.

    The anxiety that occurs during months of infertility treatment intensifies the anxiety caused by thyroid problems. It may also intensify worsening PMS, increased anger, mood swings, irritability and arguments.

    Take steps to prevent this escalation. Even minimal hypothyroidism can cause infertility problems so if you are struggling with infertility, taking steps to improve your health may increase your chance of conceiving 1, 4.

    So, get your thyroid checked if you have any infertility issues before undergoing any infertility treatment.

    ‘Hashimoto's Thyroiditis - A New Path of Learning and Discovery” 7, part 2, part 3part 4 will guide you in the steps towards improving your health and vitality. Although this explores Hashimoto’s, the information provided is relevant for many health concerns. Working with a health coach, especially one who understands the thyroid and the mind body brain connection, experienced in guiding you through the process to find and resolve the root cause of your infertility, may be invaluable to you.

    In Part 2 we will explore Miscarriage, Pregnancy and Thyroid Imbalance

    References

    1.  Arem, R. (2007). The Thyroid Solution. Ballantine Books: New York.

    2.  Wentz, I. (2013). Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis. Lifestyle Interventions for finding and Treating the Root Cause. ISBN. USA.

    3.  Melnick H. D. ( 2014). Infertility, Miscarriage, and Subclinical Hypothyroidism. http://hypothyroidmom.com/infertility-miscarriage-and-subclinical-hypothyroidism/

    4.  Katie - Wellness Mama. (2017). How Thyroid Disease Affects Pregnancy and Fertility https://wellnessmama.com/156213/pregnancy-thyroid-disease/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=pregnancy-thyroid-disease

    5.  Kharrazian, D. (2010). Why Do I Still Have Thyroid Symptoms? When My Lab Tests Are Normal. Elephant Press: Carlsbad, California.

    6.  Trentini, D. (2013). The Truth About Hypothyroidism And Depression. http://hypothyroidmom.com/the-truth-about-hypothyroidism-and-depression/

    7.  Hansen, G. M. (2016). Hashimoto's Thyroiditis - A New Path of Learning and Discovery (Parts 1 - 4). http://www.nurturingnaturally.nz/blog