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Post Partum E-Press

WHAT'S A FUTURE MOTHER TO DO?
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BECOME INVOLVED IN  R.E.A.P.  "Research, Education, Awareness and Prevention" 
 
Through the reading of books, searching the many medical web sites and connecting with or setting up a support system to help you and others transition from pregnancy to the new role as "mother".

THINGS TO THINK ABOUT - THINGS TO DO

 

Recent research indicates that one in one thousand women will develop thyroid nodules during pregnancy and some of those will go on to develop thyroid cancer - further complicating a woman's transition into her new role as "mother". 

 

As the largest group of medical consumers, women have the right to demand better health care in all aspects of their lives. The truth is that many of us in the United States are simply not receiving appropriate care. Why is this? 

 

THE AMERICAN SOCIETY'S AGE REQUIREMENT OVERSIGHT!

 

In my search to plug the holes in already existing non-profit organizations, alliances, societies, etc. I found that The American Cancer Society's age requirement for when thyroid cancer screening is done - is much too low.  testing do not include pregnant women and new mothers, it places unknown risk with potentially serious consequences. 

 

If one out of 1,000 women get thyroid nodules during pregnancy and even if one from this number develops thyroid cancer - that is one mother too many! 

 

I emailed the ACS back and forth trying to get answers - the ACS's answers only spirred more questions.  Most women of child-bearing age are under the ACS age requirement of 35 for thyroid cancer screening. This is not good! 

 

I have begun to get signatures for a Petition  regarding this thyroid cancer screening age requirement oversight by the ACS.  (It also lists a request on the Petition for recommending mammograms to women below the age of 40 who are at increased risk for breast cancer due to a family history with cancer(s). (When waiting for my mastectomy to be done in Dec. of 2003, my doctor was late in getting to me: he had to do a double mastectomy on a new mother.) It about broke my heart and I cannot forgot her plight!

 

I figure once this Petition goes off with a letter to the ACS's CEO - backed up by enclosed research, then maybe the postpartum movement might eventually see all doctors ordering thyroid screening prior to pregnancy - for a baseline and then another one during pregnancy and one during postpartum. For a woman who might have an undiagnosed thyroid problem, the risk for postpartum depression increases and without testing to rule out thyroid imbalance - any medical remedy tried is pure guess work and does not bring permanent medical resolution.

 

CRITICAL POSTPARTUM HEALTH CONDITION –   "THYROTOXIC STORM"  - "PITUITARY GLAND FREEZE"  Thyrotoxic Storm – A postpartum condition where the pituitary gland shuts down with nine months worth of extra hormones in tact (once utilized by the growing baby) and may occur especially if preceded by painless postpartum thyroiditis and/or Graves Disease.

 

 

Little is publicized about the possbility of women having what is called  a "thyrotoxic storm" - a serious medical condition after childbirth.  The characteristics of thyrotoxic storm mimic depression and can be overlooked as a result.

 

As a consequence of “thyrotoxic storm” a mother will become easily confused, agitated, anxious, and fearful.  She will not be able to focus on any one thing AND her persona is characterized as having little, if any, facial expression or emotional aptitude. She will exhibit little energy, and present with a blank stare. The mother is in a critical situation in need of  professional and/or immediate medical attention. 

 

If a new mother, while still in the hospital after giving birth, presents with the above symptoms and/or characteristics  she should not be allowed to go home until this medical issue is addressed and a treatment plan is in place.

 

PLEASE DO NOT MAKE MATTERS WORSE

 

Saying things to the new mother such as: "give it time" or "you'll be all right once you're home" is not appropriate medical intervention. 

 

Allowing her to go home in such a confused state will only add to the already overtaxing responsibilities of the mother, once home, of caring for baby, partner, and other children and family members - leaving her without any recourse but to "let herself go".

 

When looking in the mirror, she'll not see the person she once knew - only a shell of her former self.  Soon guilt ensues, and, with one "little" failure after the other, insignificant as they may be to others, she will slip further into the abyss known as Psychosis.

 

If your health care provider does not schedule you for a "full" thyroid screening, to include a "free thyroxine" test, T4, insist upon it being done. This test is not done automatically and you may have to even pay for it.  Ask for it as a shower gift - its that important! 

 

Insurance Coverages - PLEASE

 

OR -  I'll find myself another insurance company.  You can ask your insurance company to include more preventative screening and testing, but it does not mean they will oblige.  Remembering what my mother said .... "the squeaky wheel gets all the attention!!!" 

 

Media Coverage  

 

Demand from your local newspaper(s) to print "what we already known regarding prenatal and postpartum depression and all that brings about prevention. If they do not believe you - have them go to the web site for Postpartm Support International. 

 

 

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION ON GLANDS THAT WREAK HAVOC DURING PREGNANCY AND POSTPARTUM MAY BE FOUND AT:

 

The Endocrine Society at: pcorrea@endo-society.org  

 

OR WRITE: 

 

On the pituitary gland, to:

 

Pituitary Tumor Network Association

16350 Ventura Blvd., #231

Encino, CA   91436 

(805) 499-9973 / Fax: (805) 499-1523 

ACTION ITEMS

 

MEDICAL CONSUMERS - PRO-ACTIVE OR

RE-ACTIVE? 

 

Becoming an informed medical consumer is the right thing to do if you are to get the very best in women's health care.   Demanding better health care, thyroid screening, re-education of doctors, and insurance coverages surrounding motherhood is not only in your best interest, but that of your entire family.  

 

Please join our "mothers' movement" and become a PSI member, volunteer or fund-raiser, or if a degreed professional or specialist - offer your expertise to new mothers by being listed under Postpartum Support International's professional list. The critical work that PSI does - depends on your support today to bring prevention programs and PPD information to the mothers of tomorrow.  Consider having a bake-sale, a car wash or "cut-a-thon".  How about a "national" PPD Run with thousands of sponsors.  I am sure we have professional runners out there!

 

PSI looks forward to hearing from you soon in whatever way you can help. Helping PSI means you are helping your loved ones and friends at the same time - and "we" thought we couldn't do two things at once.  

References:
 
Pub Med Article: "Thyroid disease in pregnancy". ACOG Technical Bulletin Number 181--June 1993. Int. J. Gynaecol Obstet. 1993 Oct;43(1);82-8. (No authors listed)
 
Pub Med Article: "Treatment of thyroid disease in pregnancy"  Presented to Obstetric-Gynecology Clinic of North America,  Ecker J.L., Musci T.J. 1997 Sep;24(3):575-89.
 
Pub Med Article: "Grave's disease following thyrotoxic painless thyroiditis. Analysis of antibody activities against the thyrotropin receptor in two cases.  Sarlis, N.J., Brucker-Davis F., Swift, J.P., Tahara, K., & Kohn, L.D. 1997 Dec;7(6):829-36.