The days after delivering your baby is probably the most challenging of all. Sleep deprivation, adjustments, and recovery happen all at the same time. But apart from that, new moms experience losing hair postpartum or after giving birth – usually within the first six months. Why is that so, and how to deal with such hair loss?
A woman goes through a lot from the moment of conception to giving birth and even after! A lot of changes happen not just physically but even mentally and emotionally. To be honest, it can really quite a challenge to bear a child.
Of course, it is priceless having your little one. However, the reality is, having a child entails a lot of sacrifices. Needless to say, it requires a lot to be a mom – sometimes forgetting about yourself in the process. Sometimes, we will just wake up one morning and realize there’s just too many things going on, and how we wish we could pause for a while to breathe and rest.
But that’s not just it. After birth, as you recover and adjust with the new life having your little one around, many things still continue to happen to your body. One of them is losing hair postpartum. To be honest, experiencing losing hair postpartum could get a little scary especially if you haven’t experienced extreme hair loss before.
Losing hair postpartum or after pregnancy can get a little overwhelming and emotional. You will notice a sudden shedding, and mind you, sometimes it comes in clumps that it can get a little creepy. While it is considered normal, when you are a first-time mom, the sight of having too much-lost hair can just really be scary. Thus, being well-informed and knowing how to deal with it can do so much to get rid of the fear.
With that said, allow us to share with you some of the very important matters that a woman needs to know when it comes to losing hair postpartum.
CAUSES OF LOSING HAIR POSTPARTUM
Losing hair or hair loss is normal not just among new moms, but even to normal people. In fact, experts say that an average person loses about 100 hair strands in a day. But of course, that does not happen all at once. Thus, normally, you wouldn’t notice the losses.
When a woman gets pregnant or is pregnant, a lot of things are happening in her body. A woman’s pregnancy hormones (estrogen and progesterone) in particular have something to do with a lot of changes happening mentally, emotionally, and of course, physically.
One of the things that your pregnancy hormones do is keeping your hairs from falling out, which means, the hormones leave your hair looking as lush as that of the model of hair shampoo, or it may get so thick that you can barely get a brush through it even. No wonder why a lot of pregnant women have extra beautiful hair when pregnant.
But as the saying goes, “all good things must come to an end”. Unfortunately, once the pregnancy is over, your body will start recovering and you know, start putting everything else back to how it was prior to pregnancy. And yes, that includes your hair.
Once those hormones drop back to normal or the way they are, the extra hairs drop too. Thus, losing hair postpartum – this time around though, it can get really scary because, at times, they shed all together that if you are not aware of losing hair postpartum, you will probably think you are sick.
Normally, losing hair postpartum or hair loss after giving birth happens within the first six months after a woman has given birth. Furthermore, experts say that the hair continues to be in this so-called, “resting” stage for about three months before it falls out and new hair grows.
Usually, the regrowth of the hair comes in the of “baby bangs” that appear along the hairline. Don’t worry, eventually, you will get rid of the baby bangs – you just have to wait though until it grows long.
Now, when you experience losing hair postpartum, no need to freak out. Although, we can’t blame you because the sight of too much hair loss can really be scary and sometimes devastating. But, if you are scared you might go bald, well, no need to worry because no, you won’t. In fact. Hair loss after giving birth is just your body’s way of going back to normalcy – like the way your body was before you bear your little one inside your belly.
For breastfeeding moms though, some of your extra hair may hang in there a little bit longer until you wean or once you start feeding formula or solids to your baby.
However, whether you are breastfeeding or not, one thing’s for sure, by the time your baby is almost one year of age, your hair loss will be finished, and your locks should be back to the way it has been when you were not yet pregnant.
You see, it’s just a phase. It’s part of the process that your body has to go through after pregnancy to get back to normal.
NORMAL POSTPARTUM SHEDDING
Losing hair postpartum, as we earlier mentioned, can get a little overwhelming and scary especially for first-time moms. Shedding can feel like too much especially when you see strands of your hair all over the place – on your pillow, on the shower drain clogging, on the floor, at the car seat, etc.
An average person loses 80 to 100 hairs in a day. However, when you are a new mom, you get to shed an approximate of 400 hair strands daily! Surprised? Well, that’s the reality of a new mom’s life. No wonder why hair loss after pregnancy can really be emotionally daunting.
But do not worry because six months after giving birth, your hair loss should slow down, and go back to its pre-pregnancy amounts.
However, if you feel like the shedding is not at all slowing down as it was supposed to be, chances are good that there are other health issues to blame. Just so you know, pregnancy can change a woman’s level of ferritin, which is a blood cell protein that is responsible in helping your body store iron, and can put your thyroid out of blow. Thus, it is important to inform your healthcare provider as soon as you notice so much hair loss. Most likely, your doctor will ask you to undergo a blood test to check the possible cause.
POSTPARTUM HAIR LOSS TIME TIMELINE
– When does losing hair start?
Losing hair postpartum does not immediately start right after giving birth. Usually, a woman begins to experience losing hair two to four months after childbirth. The amount of hair loss on a daily basis differs from one woman to another. Needless to say, it has also nothing to do with hair quality as well as quantity during the pregnancy stage. But based on research, women with long hair or those who experience more hair growth during pregnancy may experience more extreme hair loss compared to those with shorter hair.
– How long does postpartum hair loss last?
First and foremost, if you experience hair loss after pregnancy, be assured that it is just temporary and will not last long. For most women, losing hair postpartum may take a while. However, expect that your normal hair growth patterns typically return six months after giving birth. For some women though, they experience postpartum hair loss for up to a year after childbirth, which is considered normal still.
However, if you experience severe hair loss or that you experience it more than a year after giving birth, speak with your doctor the soonest possible as it might be a cause of a health condition.
PREVENTING POSTPARTUM HAIR LOSS
How to prevent losing hair postpartum is probably one of the most asked questions among women after giving birth.
Although to be honest, it’s kind of hard to “prevent” it from happening. However, there are ways that you can do to help deal with postpartum hair loss – particularly by maintaining a healthy body and lifestyle in the weeks and months after delivery.
Some of the things you can do to deal with postpartum hair loss are:
- Making sure you get to do regular, gentle to moderate exercise (Please make sure to consult your doctor first before starting any forms of exercise.)
- Follow a healthy diet that is rich in nutrients to help support your body, and also to help quicken your postpartum recovery.
- Ensure you take postpartum (sometimes your pre-natal as well) vitamin, as well as mineral supplements if your doctor recommends it.
- During this period of time, you have to be extra gentle with your hair to help prevent excessive hair loss. Thus, make sure to use shampoo only when necessary (do not use it daily, please). Also, make sure to use a good hair conditioning product, as well as a wide-toothed comb to help minimize tangling.
- If you have long hair and you need to put it up, make sure to use scrunchies or barrettes instead of rubber bands. Also, avoid pulling hair into tight ponytails.
- As much as possible, avoid using blow-dryers, as well as flat and curling irons.
- Avoid at all costs getting chemically-based hair treatments such as perms, straightening, and highlights up until the shedding stops.
- Immediately speak with your healthcare provider if your hair loss becomes severe, and when it comes with other symptoms. Hair loss postpartum may sometimes be a sign of postpartum thyroiditis as well.
STOPPING POSTPARTUM HAIR LOSS
Like we mentioned earlier, losing hair postpartum is a normal result because of a woman’s changing hormones. Unfortunately, it is not something that you can easily or quickly stop.
However, there are certain things that you can do to help minimize the effects of postpartum hair loss, at the same time, promote healthy hair growth. These are as follows:
- Nutritional Supplements Intake
If losing hair after giving birth concerns you, you can speak with your healthcare provider about it – and specifically about taking vitamin and/or mineral supplements to help stop hair loss, at the same time, promote hair regrowth.
According to the American Pregnancy Association, the following vitamins and minerals are recommended among women experiencing postpartum hair loss:
- Vitamin B complex and/or biotin (B7)
- Vitamin C
- Vitamin E
These vitamins and minerals may already be in your postpartum recovery plan though. So, to be sure, talk to your healthcare provider first as it is not a good idea to take a lot of these too.
Meanwhile, if you are thinking about taking over-the-counter, hair vitamins available, please do not take without speaking with your doctor first. Remember that your body is still in a recovery period – all the more if you are breastfeeding as well – thus, whatever you take in is crucial.
- Keep a Healthy Diet
Whether you are on pre-natal, during pregnancy, or post-natal, keeping a healthy and appropriate diet is very important. In fact, maintaining a healthy diet is an essential factor for a person’s optimum health and overall well-being.
For postpartum women, in particular, keeping a healthy and appropriate diet can help quicken your recovery period, and stop or minimize the progression of postpartum hair loss.
To help ensure that you have a diet that includes the right balance of vitamins and minerals, make sure to talk to your healthcare provider or a dietician. Your healthcare provider will sure ask you include fruits and vegetables, as well as whole grains in your diet.
In addition, keeping a healthy diet includes drinking plenty amount of water every day. Staying hydrated is very important especially if you are breastfeeding and caring for your child.
- Lessen Stress
On regular days, stress can actually lead to hair fall, so, imagine how else your body reacts after pregnancy when it can get really stressful especially with the changes happening not just in your body but life in general.
By taking steps to lessen your stress levels, it will add benefit by helping regulate hormone imbalances.
To help reduce stress, you can try different relaxation methodologies such as meditation, mindfulness, as well as a breathing exercise. Also, make sure to spend time to do regular gentle or moderate exercise. However, make sure to consult your doctor first before doing anything to be sure your body is fit for such activities.
If things get really very overwhelming, ask family or friends to help you take care of your baby or to do household chores.
Losing hair after giving birth, though stressful, is considered as a completely normal symptom of your changing hormones after delivery. However, if there is one postpartum symptom that should not be taken for granted, it would be depression. Make sure to talk to your loved ones or healthcare provider if you are feeling highly overwhelmed, anxious, or angry in the weeks or months after giving birth.
- Go Natural
When experiencing postpartum hair loss, try letting your locks stay as it is instead of coloring it or using harsh hair gels and sprays for styling.
You may instead go for natural oils, which are believed to help in strengthening hair growth and reducing or stopping hair loss.
Here are some natural ways to care for your hair while experiencing losing hair postpartum:
- You may add a few drops of peppermint oil to your favorite shampoo as it can help moisturize your hair as well as improve its shine.
- Eat flaxseeds or fish oils. Experts say that this may help restore optimal levels of essential fatty acids such as omega-3, omega-6, as well as omega-9, all of this help promote healthy hair.
- You may try massaging your scalp gently using almond oil or castor oil. This helps stimulate hair growth.
- Go for Shorter Hairstyle
As we mentioned earlier, those women with long hair experience extreme hair loss compared to women with shorter hair – which is probably why short hairstyle is called, “mom haircut”. While some women prefer shorter hairstyles because of practicality reasons, apparently, the same kind of hairstyle is believed to also help in reducing the appearance of postpartum hair loss.
Furthermore, experts say that whatever the length of a woman’s hair is, when you are going through postpartum hair loss, it is best to keep your styling at a minimum. The less stress you put into your hair, the better. It helps a lot if you limit brushing to avoid splitting or tearing the hair. Also, try not to pull your hair forcefully especially when styling it like ponytails or braids or weaves.
Hair is every woman’s crowning glory. No wonder why some women really feel bad when hair loss strikes.
While hair loss can get bothersome non-pregnant women, losing hair postpartum is generally normal among women, and should not cause you to panic. While it can get scary or sometimes depressing seeing your hair shed, you can really do nothing about it. Rather, you have to face that phase. In fact, you should feel great because it only means, your body is slowly getting back to how it was before.
Although you cannot do something to prevent it from happening – because it is what it is, there are things that you can do to help you deal with it, at the same time, help lessen its effect.