Struggling to lose the baby weight after childbirth is one thing most women accept as par for the postpartum course. But when model Molly Sims found herself battling to get her pre-baby body back after having her first child, son Brooks, in June 2012, she had a feeling something was off ...
Molly gained 72 pounds while pregnant, and six weeks after her C-section, she hit the gym. Despite working out for up to almost two hours a day, the weight wouldn't budge. Molly wore a corset, tried acupuncture, and went to a Chinese herbalist, too. Although she felt that something wasn't right, people in her life blew off Molly's suspicions, telling her, “Oh, it’s your hormones. Oh, you just had a baby. Oh honey don’t worry about it. You’re in Hollywood and you’re putting so much pressure on yourself to lose weight,” she recalled.
Then, four months later, a doctor confirmed what the new mom's gut had been telling her all along. Molly's trouble losing weight -- and her "huge neck" that she says made her look "like a football player" -- was linked to thyroiditis, an inflammation of the thyroid gland.
Five to 10 percent of pregnant women will experience thyroiditis, which is believed to be an autoimmune disease associated with the development of anti-thyroid (anti-thyroid peroxidase, anti-thyroglobulin) antibodies. Experts believe that women who develop postpartum thyroiditis have an underlying asymptomatic autoimmune thyroiditis that flares in the postpartum period when there are fluctuations in immune function.
Thankfully, treatment is pretty straightforward. For hypothyroidism associated with the condition, doctors are typically prescribed thyroid hormone replacement (like Armour or Synthroid). Treatment usually lasts 6 to 12 months and is then tapered to see if thyroid hormone is required permanently. Eighty percent of patients will regain normal thyroid function and not require chronic therapy.
With the right treatment plan, Molly says it took a year for her neck to go down in size, and today, while trying for her second child with husband Scott Stuber, she's speaking out in an attempt to spread awareness of the condition, telling women, "'If you think something’s wrong, ask a million people.' Just don’t give up."
Good on Molly for sharing her story! With hope, the more women who know about this, the fewer who will be left feeling lost, frustrated, or neurotic because the baby weight won't budge.
What challenges did you face while working on losing the baby weight?
Image via Mark Sagliocco/Splash