Baby is here, but you're losing snuggle time because you can't stop itching! If you've got postpartum itching going on, you're not alone; it's pretty common. But, it could be due to postpartum thyroiditis, and you will want to talk with your doctor.

Postpartum Itching: Itch Happens

Many women face pregnancy itching (cholestasis of pregnancy) and it's enough to drive them mad. But what about postpartum itching? Why can't you stop scratching?

Well, there are lots of reasons, possibly. Your body has just grown and delivered a tiny human and that's a lot on any immune system. You may be itching and scratching because the hormonal changes happening during and after pregnancy may be working to balance and you're more sensitive to...well, just about everything.

You may find you develop allergies all of a sudden--to dust, pollens, latex, dyes, animal fur and dander, even latex. Your body may just be adjusting its sensitivity level and its more sensitive to those common allergens.

It's also likely reacting to a difference in diet. Especially if you're nursing, your body is adjusting to in and outgoing calories and how everything affects you and your breastmilk. It's not uncommon for some allergic reactions to foods to make you itchy and scratchy.

Don't forget that stress can weaken your immune system and that can make you more vulnerable to demographic sensitivities, irritations and infections. A lot of that goes hand-in-hand with getting good rest, so do your best to try and get restorative sleep as you can.

And remember, since you are likely weaker, you may be more vulnerable to all sorts of infection that could cause you to itch--all over. You may suffer from postpartum urinary tract infections (UTIs), strep throat, colds and flu and more. Be sure to check with a doctor if you suspect any of those.

Then there's always the weather, hormone fluctuations, medicine side effects and even postpartum depression. It's not uncommon for any of the above to cause postpartum itching symptoms.

But there's also a condition called postpartum thyroiditis and you may want to have it checked out.

Postpartum Thyroiditis: What Does That Look Like?

Your thyroid is an important little gland in the base of your neck. It produces the thyroid hormones T3 and T4. These are hormones that control your metabolism, and while you may think that just has to do with weight or weight loss, it doesn't.

If you make too much of the T4 (thyroxine) hormone, you may be diagnosed with hyperthyroidism. You may have a rapid heartbeat, a hard time sleeping, get hot quickly and easily and you may be a 'busy bee' to many. If you don't make enough, the opposite occurs--hypothyroidism. You likely feel tired, sluggish and quite possibly cold all the time. This could also be an indicator of thyroid disease like Graves', Hashimoto's or postpartum thyroiditis.

So what is postpartum thyroiditis? In a nutshell, it's when your thyroid gets inflamed, within a year or so after childbirth. Often it looks like HYPERthyroidism at first and then HYPOthyroidism, but it can often be one or the other. It typically goes away after 12-18 months, but for some women, there is no natural recovery from the hypothyroid phase (which is the one that leaves you sluggish and feeling slow and foggy). It's then you should see your doctor.

Many women struggle with thyroid issues during pregnancy, resulting in hypo and hyperthyroidism, and that needs to be monitored by your doctor for both the health of your baby and you.

But postpartum, in addition to some of the physical feelings, women struggling with postpartum thyroiditis can't get past the insufferable itchy skin.

What Can You Do For Postpartum Thyroiditis?

In short, not too much but be sure your doctor is monitoring your thyroid levels. The good news is that in 80-85% of women, it will resolve within a year or year-and-a-half postpartum. But, no one loves itching that long, so the general rules of what to do for itchy skin apply. Dermatologists recommend:

  1. Use a humidifier to keep air and skin moist.
  2. Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate and hydrate more--especially if you're nursing.
  3. Keep showers shorter and not super hot--this dries skin out.
  4. As soon as you get out of the shower, put on a really rich and moisturizing cream. We love Babo Sensitive Skin Healing Ointment and Andalou Naturals.
  5. Switch to gentle, fragrance-free, or hypoallergenic soap and laundry detergent.
If you continue to have postpartum itching you can't stand, talk to an integrative dermatologist about what else you can do for relief.