Hair Loss After Childbirth
After pregnancy, when the body is no longer responsible for supporting the baby, hormone levels reduce quite sharply. Falling oestrogen and progesterone levels result in natural hair loss. In the weeks or months after you have given birth, its entirely normal to lose large amounts of hair. You may not lose so much so quickly if you are breastfeeding.
Your hair will usually settle back to its pre-pregnancy state after 6 to 12 months.
It can feel as if you are losing too much and are going to go bald but thats just because you have kept onto so much extra hair during your pregnancy. Your hair will usually settle back to its pre-pregnancy state after 6 to 12 months. See your GP if you have continued marked hair loss after 12 months.
Dont Panic Postpartum Hair Loss Is Normal
It can be an alarming discovery. Youre going about your regular hair-care routine savoring those moments alone where you can tend to your own self-care. When all of a sudden you look down at your brush and find large clumps of your hair tangled in the bristles!
Dont panicpostpartum hair loss is normal. Learn more about what causes postpartum hair loss, how long it lasts, and some postpartum hair loss remedies to help treat it.
What Happens To Your Hair During Pregnancy
While pregnant, hair sheds more slowly than normal. This can result in fuller and thicker-looking hair since you’re just not losing as much each week. When you are pregnant, you are in a privileged hormonal state,” says Dr. Yates, MD, FACS, a Chicago-based board-certified hair loss surgeon. “In your third trimester, your estrogen levels are six times higher than normal. Both estrogen and progesterone support hair growth and decrease shedding by keeping the hair in a constant anagen phase. This explains why your hair looks the most radiant at the time of delivery.
In addition to the increase of hormones while pregnant, overall lifestyle changes can contribute to a fuller-looking head of hair. Most patients experience better hair while pregnant probably due to prenatal vitamins and better nutrition overall as well as a healthier lifestyle, says Kavita Mariwalla, MD, a board-certified dermatologist based in New York.
A normal, healthy scalp loses between 50 and 100 hairs per day. One study showed that a normal head of hair is usually 85 percent actively growing, and 15 percent in the resting phase. After a stressful event, like giving birth, the resting phase percentage can increase to 70 percent.
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Is There Treatment For Postpartum Hair Loss
Taking care of a newborn is a stressful, exhausting time and can put a lot of strain on your body, as can breastfeeding. Start by ensuring your blood sugar, iron, ferritin, zinc and vitamin D levels are normal. Next, do as much as you can to minimize stress , eat a healthy diet with plenty of protein to aid the hair growth process, and dont be afraid to shampoo frequently. Its commonly thought that not shampooing as often will minimize hair loss, but the truth is, the frequency with which you wash your hair will not affect the amount of hair you lose, says Salinger. The hair that is ready to fall will fall.
If youve ascertained that your blood work is normal, consider talking to a dermatologistor certified trichologist. Treatment options can include medication, therapies to reduce inflammation around hair follicles and at-home lasers that stimulate new hair growth.
The bottom line: Though losing clumps of hair feels anything but normal for most women in their child-bearing years, it really is. Its almost a mom badge of honour, says Midey. I ended up wearing headbands, and strategically parted my hair to cover bald spots. I even used hairpieces at times. But my hair is growing back steadily now. Even if I had to go completely bald in order to have my children, it would still be worth it.
Keep Up A Multivitamin
Its recommended that women take a multivitamin after pregnancy, especially if youre breastfeeding. You can choose to take either a daily multivitamin or continue to take your prenatal vitamin if you have any leftover. According to a 2017 review, taking a prenatal vitamin ensures youre getting enough vitamins and minerals, which are increased when youre lactating. It is also best to consult with a dietitian before choosing an over the counter supplement because over-supplementation of some vitamins may actually contribute to hair loss.
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Manage Your Hair The Right Way
Losing hair in the corners of your temples is the absolute worst. The reason you might be losing hair around your temples is due to how youre wearing your hair.
Its especially important during the first few months of postpartum , to take the necessary steps to reduce stress to your hair and scalp.
Stop wearing your hair up in a tight ponytail or bun. Even putting your hair back in a high, loose ponytail or bun, can put stress on those hair follicles.
Solution? Tie your hair up in a low, loose, ponytail, or bun for the time being. Wear a hat if youre leaving the house to run some errands. And wear your hair nice and low with a silky scrunchy.
Postpartum Hair Loss Shampoo
You may find success in hair products marketed for postpartum hair loss give them a shot if you like. But The American Academy of Dermatology specifically recommends using volumizing shampoos containing ingredients like protein that coat the hair.
Avoid conditioning shampoos and intensive conditioners, as these may weigh down your hair. Instead, opt for conditioners formulated for fine hair, and apply just to the ends.
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Do I Have Postpartum Hair Loss
Normally, a person loses about 100 hairs a day . But ladies with postpartum hair loss will notice much more than that. Youll seem to be shedding more than ever, especially compared to during pregnancy when you barely noticed any hair falling out.
Youll notice the extra hairs on your hairbrush, or you may even see some smaller clumps falling out. I realized I had this issue in the first three months or so of having my baby. I noticed my hair seemed to be thinner than usual and saw my hairbrush filling up way more than in the past.
I didnt understand why it was happening, and I felt like there was something wrong with me. It wasnt easy to deal with, but I did take some comfort in knowing I wasnt alone once I did some quick research online about the problem.
So if you see this happening, dont freak out. Its normal and common. Up to half of all women will lose more hair than usual in the first five months after having their baby.
The good thing is there are ways to disguise your hair loss until your body begins to recuperate from all its been through. When I was dealing with this, I learned some great tricks to fake a full mane that Ill share with you in a later section.
How Much Hair Is Normal To Lose
On average, non-pregnant women lose around 80 hairs throughout the day, each and every day. Although you might see a lot of that in the drain when you shower, you likely wont even notice much hair shedding on a day-to-day basis.
However, during pregnancy, your raised hormone levels prevent your hair follicles from releasing these extra hairs, so you continue to hold onto them even while new hairs are growing hence the luscious pregnancy locks. Then, once your hormone levels normalize after childbirth, you could start shedding 400 or more hairs a day. Thats definitely enough to get your attention.
So, how much hair do you lose a day? It varies from person to person and is largely based on your bodys own hormone levels. If you notice that youre shedding large clumps or even developing bald spots, dont panic. Even this is normal, and itll start growing back eventually.
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The Best Supplements For Postpartum Hairloss
For many years it was suggested that women continue to take their prenatal vitamins for as long as they are breastfeeding. However, you may now find advice that women switch to a postnatal vitamin during the postpartum period.
Postnatal vitamins, such as these or these, typically include higher doses of Vitamin D3, Vitamin B6, and Vitamin B12. This increase in vitamins works to keep mom and baby healthy. These vitamins may also help slow postpartum hair loss.
Some women believe that including a biotin gummy supplement into their routine significantly helped with hair loss. However, some women do report side effects.
When Should You See The Doctor About Postpartum Hair Loss
If you notice that your hair loss is particularly severe, for example, if itâs patchy or youâve been shedding hair for longer than about six months or so, it might be time to see your doctor.
In some cases, a thyroid issue such as having an overactive thyroid may be causing the hair loss. Some thyroid conditions are also linked to pregnancy or the postpartum period. If your doctor diagnoses a thyroid condition, he or she will be able to recommend treatment.
Another possible cause of hair loss is an iron deficiency. If untreated, this can lead to a condition called iron deficiency anaemia, which can lead to other symptoms like
Your doctor will be able to investigate the reasons for the iron deficiency and â if necessary â prescribe iron tablets to remedy the lack of iron in your blood.
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Hormones Are To Blame
When youre pregnant, your body begins to produce higher levels of certain hormones.
Among the hormones that see a spike are estrogen, progesterone, oxytocin, and prolactin. One of the first hormones to begin to rise is human chorionic gonadotropin or hCG.
For parents who have long been hoping to see those pink lines on a pregnancy test, that spike in hCG levels will be very welcome. After all, pregnancy tests are designed to test for raised hCG levels, indicating that a woman is expecting.
These and other hormones, as well as an increase in your blood volume, help your baby grow and develop.
But immediately after your baby is born, you no longer need those elevated hormones. Your body stops producing as much, and your levels drop. The levels of some of your hormones return to your pre-pregnancy normal in as little as 24 hours after your baby is born.
Some of your hormones, including prolactin, remain elevated while youre breastfeeding, then drop.
Postpartum Hair Loss Causes
During pregnancy, raised oestrogen levels help to keep hairs in their anagen phase for longer than usual, advises Anabel. This usually means less hair is shed, particularly towards the end of your 2nd Trimester. Hair also tends to feel healthier and shinier around this time.
After giving birth, these levels drop, returning to normal, which can cause all the extra hairs retained during pregnancy to shed in a short period of time, Anabel continues.
However, its not always as simple or clear cut as hormonal changes. The most important thing to realise with any hair shedding is that hair is not essential to physical survival so our body views it as a dispensable tissue. Hair is therefore super sensitive to our general state of health and when anything is amiss internally, or our nutrition is sub-optimal, our hair is often the first thing to suffer. Because of this, its really common for hair loss to be more severe, or to continue for longer than it should, due to other factors that commonly happen postpartum.
Iron deficiency, thyroid imbalances, breastfeeding, lack of sleep and a poor diet can all contribute to the quality of our hair. And all of these are common with new mothers.
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Why Postpartum Hair Loss Occurs
Most women notice their hair changing while theyre pregnantoftentimes hair will thicken up, become fuller, and maybe a little on the dryer side. After pregnancy, however, these same women might notice that their hair starts falling out in earnest.
The simple explanation is this: there are a lot of different hormone shifts happening while youre pregnant, one of them promoting hair growth. The hormones going on inside your pregnant body are actually preventing you from shedding. Everyone sheds every day, but that typically stops while youre pregnantsomething subtle that you might not notice. Instead, youll notice your hair getting thicker.
After pregnancy, your hormones return to their status quo, meaning theres a big drop in estrogen. This drop triggers your regular shedding schedulewhich you havent been on for months. So, your body starts shedding more than usual to get rid of all the excess hair. This event is called telogen effluvium and is usually triggered by a significant event like giving birth. It normally takes about three months of all that excess hair to shed out, which is why most women notice shedding around three months postpartum.
Postpartum Hair Loss: What To Expect
Suffering from thinning hair or believe you may be going bald? Heres how to deal with postpartum hair loss.
While losing baby weight can be dreadfully difficult for most of us, losing hair after delivering your baby is probably almost guaranteed.
My curly hair used to be so heavy with good volume, and now the loss is so significant that it looks like I have only one third of hair left, bemoans a new mum in our group. I have lost so much volume.
And shes not alone. Others have had similar experience:
- I miss how my hair used to look. It was thick, full and shiny, but now Ive got half of it and its dull and thin.
- Im afraid there wont be any hair left on my scalp by the end of this year. Also, Ive noticed my hair damage has worsened.
- Ive noticed hair falling after pregnancy . . . looks like I will be bald soon.
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How Much Postpartum Shedding Is Normal
If youre finding a surplus of strands on your pillow or clogging the shower drain, youre not imagining things. Salinger explains that when you havent just had a baby, losing about 80 hairs a day is normal, but that new moms shed about 400 hairs a day. By six months postpartum, the hair loss should slow to pre-pregnancy amounts.
If you feel the shedding is not slowing down, chances are good that there are other health issues at play. Pregnancy can change your level of ferritin and can put your thyroid out of whack, so make sure to tell your doctor that youve noticed a lot of hair loss, and ask to have blood tests done to check both.