Postpartum Thyroiditis

  • John H. Lazarus
  • L.D. K.E. Premawardhana
Part of the Contemporary Endocrinology book series (COE)


Postpartum thyroiditis (PPT) occurs in 5–9% of women and is strongly associated with positive thyroid peroxidase antibodies (TPOAb positive) as determined around 14 weeks gestation. Postpartum thyroid dysfunction (PPTD) occurs in 50% of TPOAb-positive women (measured at 14 weeks gestation) and presents as transient hyperthyroidism (median onset 13 weeks postpartum) followed by transient hypothyroidism (median onset 19 weeks postpartum); the latter will develop into permanent hypothyroidism in up to 30% of women. Women who then remain euthyroid after transient thyroid dysfunction have a 75% chance of PPTD in a subsequent pregnancy and a 50% risk of permanent hypothyroidism after 7 years. The hyperthyroid phase is relatively asymptomatic, but the hypothyroid phase may be very clinically evident and require levothyroxine treatment.


Postpartum thyroiditis immune hyperthyroidism hypothyroidism antibodies cellular immunity screening incidence. 


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© Humana Press Inc. 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  • John H. Lazarus
  • L.D. K.E. Premawardhana

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