I was convinced my entire pregnancy something was off with my thyroid.
So, I did what any other pregnant person experiencing insomnia would do...
my own investigative web MD research.
- Constantly cold
- Hoarse voice
- Face swelling
- Bad constipation (so bad I would cry on the toilet while eating fiber)
My ob obliged to run tests likely because I showed up to her office in a long sleeve caftan shivering ...in 80+ temps... on the island of Oahu.
and ...nothing; my test results came back normal.
After delivery, it became impossible to tell if I was just going through postpartum symptoms or if something bigger was at play.
- Sugar Cravings
- Hard to lose weight
Honestly, every single one of those above could easily just represent postpartum... but they also are tell-tale signs of a slowing metabolism making postpartum such a difficult time to accurately diagnose and treat new moms.
Oh and the kicker. Come to find out a slowing metabolism can have a big impact on the other postpartum treat... hair loss.
How a slowing metabolism can affect postpartum hair loss:
If your metabolism slows after delivery; your body is going to make up for that by investing more energy in trying to keep the vital functions of the body going rather than caring about how healthy your hair is by giving up those vitamins to other areas of the body.
As a result, you will likely experience more intense hair loss, and on top of that; the hair itself will likely feel more brittle, dry, and coarse.
How the thyroid affects metabolism:
To really understand what's happening lets look at the thyroid because it produces hormones that control everything from digestion and muscle control to metabolism.
Women are most likely to run into thyroid trouble after pregnancy or menopause.
The trouble most women experiencing these symptoms run into is hypothyroidism.
This is when your thyroid becomes underactive and your metabolism slows: causing problems from weight gain, muscle pain, feeling cold, fatigue, depression and pronounced hair loss.
What to do if you feel like your metabolism has slowed:
A simple first step is to have your primary doctor run a blood test. From this you should be able to determine if you have hypothyroidism and may require medication.
There are some other things you can add to your diet to help activate your metabolism and keep it stimulated; to give your vital functions and hair a boost.
*Iodine: It's an essential mineral that is needed to make thyroid hormones
*Selenium: As supplements can have too high amounts this is great to add through the food you eat (Brazil nuts, tuna, sardines, eggs, and legumes are great sources).
*Zinc/Folate: like selenium, zinc helps the body “activate” thyroid hormones. Studies have also shown that zinc may help the body regulate TSH, which is the hormone that tells the thyroid gland to release thyroid hormones.
*Apple Cider Vinegar: Apple cider vinegar works wonders when it comes to detoxifying and maintaining balanced hormonal levels in the body. It works to regulate hormones including the thyroid.
One of the easiest things women can do after pregnancy to help boost metabolism and stimulate the thyroid; is add apple cider vinegar to their routine.
Baby Blues brand makes an Apple Cider Vinegar gummy that is so delicious and specifically made for New Moms and Women, The Baby Blues vegan gummy not only contains ACV with the Mother (strands of protein which contain enzymes and beneficial bacteria) ; but also thyroid boosting ingredients like Iodine and Folate along with B6 which gives the recipient a metabolism boost when taking together.
Other ways to boost metabolism:
*Build muscle through strength training: after a session of strength training, muscles are activated all over your body, raising your average daily metabolic rate
*Higher intensity workouts: The biggest takeaway here is to really push yourself. High-intensity exercise delivers a bigger, longer rise in resting metabolic rate than low- or moderate-intensity workouts.
To get the benefits, try a more intense class at the gym or include short bursts of jogging during your regular walk.
*WATER WATER WATER: Your body needs water to process calories. If you are even mildly dehydrated, your metabolism may slow down. Oh and Moms, pumping can really dehydrate you so drink up!
Snack: If you are eating and spacing out your meals with lots of hours in between, your metabolism will slow down between as well. Having a small meal or snack every 3 to 4 hours keeps your metabolism cranking.
*Add some spice: Spicy foods have natural chemicals that can kick your metabolism into a higher gear. Eaten once and a while this would have a singular affect but if you love spicy and eat it often it the benefits add up (keep in mind too spicy might impact how your milk tastes if you are breastfeeding).
*Add some protein: Replacing some carbs with lean, protein-rich foods can boost metabolism at mealtime. Good sources of protein include lean beef, turkey, fish, white meat chicken, tofu, nuts, beans, eggs, and low-fat dairy products.
Cliff Notes: Adding a supplement like ACV gummies can help stimulate the thyroid, boost metabolism, and in turn that can let the body get back to supporting Moms hair.
Higher intensity workouts along with strength training can raise your daily metabolic rate. Drinking lots of water and adding foods rich in protein without large lags between meals can also be beneficial in regulating your metabolism after pregnancy and getting hair loss under control.
While I never was formally diagnosed with a thyroid issue I am convinced my metabolism slowed after delivery.
I did find when I made some diet changes, drank lots of water, and added apple cider vinegar gummies along with my postpartum hair vitamins , I experienced a noticeable difference in how much shorter the duration of my hair shedding was and how quickly my hair felt healthier and less dry.