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Thread: Breastfeeding with Graves Disease

  1. #1

    Red face Breastfeeding with Graves Disease

    Hello. I'm wondering if anyone has breastfed or has more information on breastfeeding while being treated for Graves Disease hyperthyroidism. I recently was diagnosed and have began being treated with methizamole 10 mg per day. My endocrinologist said that I should discontinue breastfeeding my 13 month old, but I am finding conflicting information on line...any thoughts?

    This was a lot to digest in one day...first no breastfeeding and then I was told that I could not get pregnant for 18 months to 2 years! Who knows if we would have tried before then, but I would like that to be my decision! Grrr...I've read that Graves is found sometimes after pregnancy and am wondering if anyone else is in the same boat as me...I'm thinking not only of my 13 month old, but for future breastfeeding babies as well.

    Thanks for your help!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Sep 2011

    Default Re: Breastfeeding with Graves Disease

    I don't have specific information on graves, but I was diagnosed with a thyroid condition after my 1st baby.

    What I can provide is - get more information before you make a decision regarding nursing/conceiving. In my personal experience and that of many other mothers on here, doctors will make blanket statements 'if you take this medicine you must wean, pump and dump, etc' that may not be accurate.

    Call infantrisk and ask them about the safety of the medication you have been prescribed while nursing, and then while pregnant. 806-352-2519 www.infantrisk.com
    Armed with that information, talk to your doctor again.
    Full time working Mom to 3, DH is my hero as a SAHD:
    DS July'09, nursed for 12 weeks
    DD1 & DD2 April'11, tandem nursed for 16 months

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2011

    Default Re: Breastfeeding with Graves Disease

    I too was recently diagnosed with Grave's Disease and prescribed methimazone (20mg/day). What I was told by my endocrinologist and InfantRisk was that methimazole does transfer to breastmilk at a rate of 3% of your dose. They both said it is probably safe to take while breastfeeding and suggested to take the medicine right after nursing when there would be a couple of hours gap between taking the medicine and nursing. They also said that I will need to have my baby's thyroid levels monitored.

    I was told that it is okay to get pregnant but that it was safer to have been taking the medicine for a year minimum first and that I would have to switch to a different medicine the first 3 months of pregnancy but the alternate medicine causes liver damage if used long term. (Holy run-on sentence!)

    I haven't begun taking the medicine yet. I should have, I know but having to have my 12 month old's blood taken once a month to check his thyroid is off-putting for me, as is the fact that his hormone levels could be compromised. His one year check up is Monday and I hope to get some advice from his pediatrician.

    I lately feel that I would rather wean than expose him to the medications (I am also supposed to be taking a beta blocker). It is a hard decision to make and hopefully I will gain some insight on Monday. If you'd like, I can let you know what he says (my pediatrician is very pro-breastfeeding).
    Proud mom of two boys!

    DS1- born 1/10/03
    DS2- born 3/8/11

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Feb 2012

    Default Re: Breastfeeding with Graves Disease


    I just found this. Your question made me think bc I'm on levothyroxine for hypothyroidism which is safe in pregnancy so assumed would be for BFing. But you know what assuming makes us all So I did some research. Might help you make a decision.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Sep 2011
    Dallas, TX

    Default Re: Breastfeeding with Graves Disease

    I think if you follow recommendations you will be fine continuing to breastfeeding. By the way, I have been on a beta blocker since my baby was 3 days old. Most of them are safe. Are you prescribed this for palpitations? Once you regulate your thyroid you may not even need that medicine.

    Personally, I would not delay taking your med nor would I wean if I didn't want to. Let us know what your ped says; mine was perfectly comfortable with my cardiac meds even when DD was 3 days old. I am not sure how anti-thyroid meds work but with the one I take for hypothyroid, it builds in the system slowly. And you can have your DS's blood checked but it will probably be fine.

    Let us know what your hear from the ped!

    Mom to Aimee, born 8/22/11
    for 20 months!

  6. #6

    Default Re: Breastfeeding with Graves Disease

    I'll send you the methimazole entry from Medications and Mothers' Milk (Hale). One of the things it says is

    In a study of 35 lactating women receiving 5 to 20 mg/day of methimazole, no changes in the infant thyroid function were noted in any infant, even those at higher doses.
    So that's reassuring, though it does say to monitor the baby's thyroid levels for the first few months. There are several other studies cited, so you can take a look at them and see how you feel about it. And I'd definitely recommend calling InfantRisk. My guess is that taking the medication while nursing a 13 month old who is (I'm assuming) eating some solid food on a regular basis is a lot different than if you're nursing a newborn. But the folks at InfantRisk can give you more definite information.

  7. #7

    Default Re: Breastfeeding with Graves Disease

    Hi, ladies! Thank you so much for the feedback! I figured there would be some words of wisdom as well as others going through this as well. I did speak with my baby's doctor, and he said if the dose was under 20 mg that is was fine to continue to breastfeed. I had also seen some of the research others posted. I really am only nursing him at night before he goes to bed and then maybe once during the night...I pump before I leave for work and then take the 10 mg methimazole after that...as for getting prego and the next...I suppose I will take that one day at a time!

    As for the beta blocker, she originally had prescribed one for me I believe, but I thought I would try the methimazole first to see if things toned down a bit...
    I'm so thankful for this forum...It has been a wonderful guide throughout my first days, weeks, month and year of breastfeeding!

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