The postpartum blood test - is it too late to get one?

Are you a mother?

Can you answer yes to more than 3 of the below statements?

  • Do you wake up and have a coffee on an empty stomach (you intend to eat but forget)?
  • Do you skip meals or eat your child's leftovers (because that's all you have time for)?
  • Do you get to the end of the day and realise you've barely had any water?
  • Do you wake up extremely tired & find it difficult to get to sleep (due to racing thoughts & increased mental load)?
  • Do you experience regular breakouts, bloating, brain fog and inconsistent or very regular bowel movements?

If you've answered yes to more than three or haven't yet had your postpartum blood test, please read below! 

One of the most common questions I receive in clinic is:

"Is it too late for me to get a postpartum blood test?"

My answer is always... NO. The majority of clients come into clinic at 10-15 months postpartum completely exhausted, depleted and with symptoms of nutrient deficiency. Yes, if they had come in earlier we may have been able to prevent them from getting to the point of utter exhaustion. However, it's never too late to optimise health via biomarkers (in a blood test) and replete lost nutrient stores from pregnancy and breastfeeding. 

Postpartum depletion is something I’ve always been familiar with, however, it wasn’t until experiencing it first-hand, and seeing so many women in clinic with the same symptoms that I realised the extent of how it can impact your daily life, your mental health and your ability to parent.

Postpartum thyroid dysfunction is just one of the common conditions that present in women postpartum. It affects approximately 25% of mothers (+ increasing), compared to just 3-4% of the general population. The difficulty with this diagnosis is that typical symptoms are very similar to general symptoms experienced in the postpartum period:

Impaired memory or “mum brain”
Dry skin
Difficulty losing weight or increased weight gain
Decreased milk production
Hair loss 

There are various nutrients/minerals that support thyroid health and a depletion in these can put a woman at risk of thyroid dysfunction (particularly in the postpartum period). Low iron is associated with thyroid dysfunction and blood sugar regulation is also a significant factor in managing thyroid health. A mother, particularly a breastfeeding mother, requires additional nutrients to replete lost stores & support milk production. While we aim to get all of these nutrients from food, sometimes it just isn’t possible when you’ve got a baby attached to your hip.

The good news is that if you are ticking all of the above boxes, you acknowledge you may need some assistance. A mother cannot pour from an empty cup and if you’ve ever heard me talk about the flight analogy - flight attendants tell you to HELP YOURSELF before helping others for a reason.

Blood tests we usually ask for at your postpartum visit include: 

25-OH Vitamin D
Iron Studies
Active B12
Thyroid panel (including TSH, fT3, fT4, thyroid antibodies)
Plasma zinc
Serum Copper

If your bloods come back "within range", just remember that the range can vary hugely on a pathology report, and as a holistic health practitioner we look at the individual's clinical symptoms as well as a narrow, more optimal range that can help guide lifestyle/nutritional recommendations and dosages of nutrients. 

If you saw this post today and you’re feeling shattered, depleted, like you can’t even stand up without feeling like you’re going to fall over from exhaustion - book a consult & invest in your health. Whether it’s with me or another health professional @maiamothers.collective - we’re here to help. You’ve got this mama!

To book an initial consultation or a supplement consultation CLICK HERE