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to think that there should be more research into our bodies postpartum?

(51 Posts)
islandbaby Fri 10-Jun-11 22:40:23

5 months after giving birth and I seem to have developed a severe milk allergy, despite never having had any allergies at all in my life. My body is covered in head-to-toe hives if I don't take four different kinds of antihistamine each day. As I have just made the link between milk and this reaction (stopped eating dairy for a few days, then ate some and my lips and eyes swelled right up) I am finding it hard to avoid accidentally ingesting traces of milk (from preparing my son's formula, to not realising that almost all crisps have milk powder in).

On the internet there are hundreds of women giving anecdotal evidence about developing allergies, asthma or hives after giving birth. For some it goes away quickly, for others it never goes away. The nurse I saw today told me that she developed a life-threatening milk allergy straight after having her son 18 years ago, which she still has today.

There are women writing blogs about postpartum allergies, postpartum hives.

Yet there's not one scrap of research into it. Nothing investigating why this should happen to some women. My doctor had nothing to add on the matter, just told me to keep taking antihistamines and try and eliminate if from my diet. I'm pretty sure if mens' ball sacks swelled up to the size of melons and broke out in hives after depositing a load then there'd be money available to investigate it.

Red. Itchy. Angry. Depressed at the thought of never eating another brie and bacon sandwich.

BelovedCunt Fri 10-Jun-11 22:43:07

yes, i was in agony with aching joints and the gp was fairly baffled. i came on mn and lo and behold it is fairly common post partum.

i hope you feel better soon

Yama Fri 10-Jun-11 22:50:01

I remember my dh coming home after having listened to a programme on Radio 4 about how pregnancy strips the body of many oils and that it is very important that we replace these oils through oily fish etc. I now take omega oils and vitamins every day.

Didn't know about this after dc1 though.

yankeecandlelover Fri 10-Jun-11 22:59:06

I suffered weight loss, tremors, insomnia, extreme sweats, bowel problems for a number of years throughout 4 pregnancies. It wasnt until 4 months after the last one that I was diagnosed with hyperthyroidism. My heart rate was through the roof, spleen enlarged, difficultly breathing. I will be on meds for life and will prob need radiation treatment for thyroid. On top of that the condition is causing my eye lids to gradually retract which will need steroids or surgery. If my condition was picked up after the first pregnancy triggered it, it might not have progressed as much

islandbaby Fri 10-Jun-11 23:21:34

Gosh, yankeecandlelover, that's extreme. Sorry to hear about that.

That's partly why I'm trying to push this a bit with my GP, and see a well-reputed allergy specialist. I've read about it getting more extreme with each pregnancy too, so I'd rather get a handle on it now, as I plan on having more babies.

Although, I have to say, having read lots of women's experiences on the internet about things they've developed postpartum - such as yours - I am a little terrified of risking it again.

That said, I'd if it was a choice between a milk allergy and my son, or no allergy and no son, I know I'd chose the first every time.

ivykaty44 Fri 10-Jun-11 23:23:51

I developed asthma after my dd1 was born

maighdlin Sat 11-Jun-11 00:14:53

I had PND but also random things. My skin went to absolute shite, i have had more spots than when i was a teenager, and DD is nearly 2!! Have developed a sensitivity, not quite as strong as an allergy, to sticky plasters and eyebrow wax. It could be c/section related, but (TMI warning) my bowels have not been the same. I now go about 4 times a day, some days more. I also have no warning, its immediate i have minutes to make it to a loo. I didn't have a vaginal birth so there was no typical damage caused. I expected it bowel trouble for the first few weeks but nearly two years on its as bad. I was the only one on the maternity ward not glugging down lactulose or syrup of figs, I had major runs, and with a fresh c/s was not pleasant.

I have heard loads of people talk about "new" things they have developed since having children. A weak pelvic floor is understandable, but new allergies and conditions are baffling as to why they are caused. It seems to be another thing that women have to "suck up".

BagofHolly Sat 11-Jun-11 00:22:16

Almost all of these sound like auto immune responses. Since the symptoms started, have you had any more children?

As for ms, my teeth are stupidly sensitive. I can't eat anything even at room temperature. Agonising. I also am still having terrible pool-like night sweats. I had my twins 5 months ago.

zipzap Sat 11-Jun-11 02:11:28

I had a dvt a couple of weeks after having dc2. Seems that you are at much higher risk of having one of these during or just after pregnancy which is reasonably well documented.

What isn't however is that the management of these is different. So instead of taking warfarin for 2-3 months I ended up taking it for 9-10 months in order to try to get a 2-3 month period where the dose was at a consistently high level. It was only near the end of the time that I discovered some studies that showed pregnancy severely affected your blood clotting and needed to be managed using a special protocol.

The specialist I saw had no clue about this which wasn't good nor did the gp which is more understandable. And at least she was interested when I showed her the reference and quickly then found out further details, understood the implications and found/worked out a protocol that then worked and ignored the hospital one.

What's annoying though is that it was obvious to me what was going on and despite my pointing it out the hospital doctors refused to contemplate that their standard treatment protocol wasn't working and me asking them to watch what the numbers were doing rather than following their way regardless.

zipzap Sat 11-Jun-11 02:14:52

And yes it would be great if there was some sort of research into it. Or at least a standard thought in the doctor's brain so that when you saw them with something in the first year or so after giving birth that made them think hmm could be screwy effect of having had a child...

WellIShouldNever Sat 11-Jun-11 04:08:44

Before I was a Mum, if I ever got bit by a Mosi I would have the worst reaction, a massive lump the size of orange (no joke!) and a red area about the size of my forearm or calf or where ever I got bit, and my DH would never ever get bitten, just me. Since being a Mum, I have not had one bite! Is there a link? I don't know, just glad I don't suffer with the Mosquitos anymore

WellIShouldNever Sat 11-Jun-11 04:09:52

But, I have developed / grown a load of new moles! Is that normal too?

foxinsocks Sat 11-Jun-11 04:31:54

I get migraines now. I'd never so much as had a headache before getting pregnant.

I always had allergies but mine have become substantially worse. I also developed delayed pressure urticaria and I think I have angioedema (esp in my larynx) along with the urticaria.

I am not sure whether this wouldn't have all just come on with age anyway iyswim

acatcalledbob Sat 11-Jun-11 05:11:41

Funny you should say that WellIShouldNever - I used to suffer badly when bitten my a mossie (swelling, itching for days, then weeping at site of bite). Since having DD2 I get a small spot that itches for 2 minutes, then is gone a few hours later...

There's a PhD in here somewhere....

Ray81 Sat 11-Jun-11 06:52:15

When i had DD 1 i was perefectly healthy, it then took 5 yrs and 5 MC to find i had a blood clotting condition which was causing me to MC. It is apparently something i have always had but now wonder if having DD1 triggeredit. I now have DD2 who is 1 and had to have injections everyday to stop me MC and getting a DVT.

Meglet Sat 11-Jun-11 07:10:16

My IBS is much worse since having kids. No idea whether its adhesions from my c-sections or the result of always being on the go and not relaxing. Hospital need to 'investigate, which I'm not looking forward to, but at least a general aneasthetic should give me some rest hmm.

Never knew pregnancy might trigger allergies!

ohgoonthen Sat 11-Jun-11 07:29:31

There should definately be more research and understanding. I have always been very healthy (sick twice that I can remember in my whole life) and fit. I had a trouble free pregnancy except for a kidney infection which cleared up easily and very healthy baby.
Nine months later I've developed acne, my hair is still coming out in clumps and has gone from nice and smooth to a weird frizzy mess. My joints are very painful and the doctors are now looking into arthritis (I'm 28 sad), 2 teeth have fallen out and have stomach issues too. Tbh I feel like I've been hit by a truck. On the good side though, my migranes seem to have stopped hmm

Bumperlicioso Sat 11-Jun-11 07:55:26

maighdlin same here re bowels. I have an unopened bottle of prune juice in my cupboard
Pregnancy triggered hypothyroidism
Nightsweats 8 months on
Not to mention the weight, and knackeredness that I never seem to recover from
A friend has permanently gone up a shoe size

On the plus side I haven't had Reynaud's Syndrome since having Dd1, and was chatting yesterday to a friend whose sister has ME which went away with pregnancy and hasn't returned.

But basically being pg fucks your body up.

Bumperlicioso Sat 11-Jun-11 07:57:00

Ohgoonthen have you had your thyroid checked? My mum was severely hypothyroid and they misdiagnosed arthrititis.

Numberfour Sat 11-Jun-11 08:15:22

I never used to get hayfever at all and now I get it every summer. Plus my neck and chest have lots and lots of skin tags on them which developed while I was pregnant. DS will be 7 in October.

ohgoonthen Sat 11-Jun-11 08:17:28

Bumperlicioso - No I haven't actually. I did occur to me that it could be the problem but another thing that I didn't mention is that I have gained alot of weight - I'm heaver now than I was when I was pregnant despite being very careful about what I eat. The doctor said that with my symptoms, if my thyroid was the problem then I would be loosing weight. However, I do know of someone who has and overactive thyroid with underactive symptoms, she has had it for years and takes medication etc but my doc. says thats impossible <sigh>
At the moment, I'm sick of complaining as I always get the usual response "ohh all new mummys feel like that, you will feel better when she starts sleeping through the night". Thing is, I'm not sleep deprived and all these symptoms are really unusual for me. I'm convinced that pregnancy takes a huge toll on your body.

unclehairy Sat 11-Jun-11 09:39:57

YANBU, this really hacks me off. There is no research or support in this country for women post birth, we are just expected to get on with it and anything we develop is just put down to baby weight and sleep depravation.

I once read that having a baby takes the same physical toll as a car crash. I have no idea if that's true, but I've been in a couple of minor car crashes and nobody expected me to do anything other than rest and get lots of help from a physio and osteopath. Why isn't this basic level of care routinely on offer to all women who have given birth? Even if it's not a traumatic birth, it is still an extremely physical process. I don't care how natural it is.

I have had one thing or another since having mine (both vaginal births, one drawn out + forceps, the other short and unassisted); the latest being grass pollen allergy, which both my sisters also developed post pregnancy. Pre and during pregnancy, I was fit as a fiddle, hardly a day's illness in 35 years. Even now, I'm thinner and probably healthier (nutritionally) and physically fitter than I was pre pregnancy and both of my DC are good sleepers (and were from early on in their lives). And yet, I am constantly run down/knackered/constant low level cold plus lots of niggling physical issues like psoriasis, joint pain.....luckily the continence issues aren't too bad for me now, and i really feel for anyone who has this particular issue, it really took a toll on my dignity. The book linked below gave me information and not a little comfort on this issue.

www.amazon.co.uk/s/ref=nb_sb_noss?url=search-alias%3Daps&field-keywords=ever+since+i+had+my+baby&x=0&y=0

I think there is more treatment on allergies in particular in countries that run on private health care, the money is there to do routine testing. I am in no way endorsing universal private health care! But a friend moved to Australia and, having suffered repeated miscarriages over here, was diagnosed over there with having a gluten allergy. She had never had any of the typical symptoms. Low and behold, she cut out wheat and now has a lovely brood of joeys.

EmmaBemma Sat 11-Jun-11 09:42:06

I developed eczema on my hands in my last pregnancy, but the biggie for me is Graves' disease, which it now looks certain was triggered in the postnatal period after my first pregnancy and relapsed after my second. Pregnancy does weird things.

unclehairy Sat 11-Jun-11 09:42:33

But I am not as hairy as I used to be! Seriously!

ScarletOHaHa Sat 11-Jun-11 10:30:44

I also had postnatal DVT and still have pain 4 years later. I think a all women should be offered a postnatal appointment to discuss pregnancy, birth and aftermath. The 6 week plumbing check is not enough.

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