Did you know that despite the beautiful bundle of joy you get after you give birth, pregnancy can be thought of as a stressor to your body? I mean think about it for a second…a woman’s body has undergone changes to accommodate a growing baby. Your bladder might be squished a little, and as the baby grows you might experience back pain or hip pain with the added weight. Then you have a flood of hormones fluctuating from week to week to support fetal development. There’s a lot going on. Now, remember, stressors can come in all forms: physical, mental, emotional, and physiological, so thinking of the changes that women undergo with pregnancy it becomes easier to see why autoimmune conditions such as Hashimoto’s can be triggered during pregnancy. So, just the simple fact of carrying a child can cause a pre-disposed immune system to start to produce antibodies.
Another reason why pregnancy triggers Hashimoto’s and other autoimmune conditions have to do with the major hormonal shifts that occur during this time. Third trimester and immediately following delivery your immune system shifts between your TH-1 and TH-2 immune response. Given the very delicate balance between these two parts of your immune system, just the simple stress of the body getting ready to deliver can cause your TH-2 system (the part that produces
antibodies) to be strongly expressed. Furthermore, if it was a stressful period just the process of going into labor and the postpartum period can cause either your TH-1 system or TH-2 system to get overstimulated.
Now, not all women will manifest an autoimmune condition with pregnancy, which is why it is important that you are taking the time for pregnancy prep. Making sure hormones are optimal, you are managing stress well, and doing all the things to ensure your immune system is also happy. These changes might seem tiny, but can be important for some women, especially if there already exists a family history of autoimmune conditions!⠀⠀