Postpartum Hair Loss: Thinning Hair After Childbirth?
When talking about Postpartum hair loss, before anything else, you need to know that you are not alone and that it is normal and expected after pregnancy. Breathe easy, and stay with us, the hair loss won’t be permanent, and the effects will subside with time.
What is Postpartum Hair Loss
Postpartum hair loss is a common and often alarming issue for many women after pregnancy. Usually, a woman will lose anywhere from 100-125 hairs daily, but after pregnancy, you can lose up to just over 500 a day.
While we can assure you that you won’t go bald, this can significantly thin your hair. Part of the effect is mental as well because most women during pregnancy find they have thicker and more lustrous hair, and the combined effect of losing your hair more after the birth of a child amplifies the drastic change.
Different women can experience it differently as well, while your friend or sister might find that their hair falls out all over in various places, you may find that clumps come out when you brush.
Many women find that they lose a lot around their hairline, causing very fine hair in the front, which reinforces the fear of balding.
We want to assure you that this isn’t the case. It is all temporary, and your hair should return almost entirely back to normal by your child’s first birthday.
In the meantime, we’ll cover some of the reasons for the changes you are experiencing, and how you can address it.
What Causes it
The cause of postpartum hair loss comes back to your estrogen levels. If you look back on when you were pregnant, your hair likely felt thicker, shinier, and more full altogether. This is because when you were pregnant, your estrogen levels were higher and as a result, lengthened and invigorated the growing stage for your hair. This also shortened the resting stage for your hair, which is the period when you lose hair. Thus, more of your hair is retained.
However, after you have given birth and the first month or two has passed, your estrogen levels tank quite suddenly. Because of this, the hair follicles have longer resting stages and shorter growing stages, resulting in less hair growth, and more hair loss daily.
It is also worth noting, that although some have propagated breastfeeding as a reason for accelerating or causing postpartum hair loss, which it is not a contributing factor.
Postpartum hair loss can affect you regardless of your choice to breastfeed or not, and you shouldn’t allow the fear of hair loss to influence your decision on whether or not to breastfeed.
What Can be Done
- The first thing is to accept that it is fine and that it is natural after pregnancy for you to experience hair loss, then determine how you are going to cope with it. Some women prefer to avoid shampooing and brushing as often to save more hair, while others prefer to try and (Gently!) brush it out after they shower in the morning so as not to lose it throughout the day and avoid the feeling of shedding.
- Put less stress on your hair.
- Look into a detangler spray, combing through knotted hair is a quick way to exacerbate your problem.
- Don’t dry your hair by wrapping it in a towel as this puts stress on the roots. Wear a towel around your shoulders and let it dry naturally.
- Don’t tie your hair back while sleeping which again puts more stress on the roots.
- When doing your hair for the day, don’t tie it back tightly. If you need to tie, make it loose or consider leaving it down whenever possible.
- Consult a stylist. Every woman’s hair is different. While for some, coloring might help to hide some of the thinning. For you, it might highlight what you’ve lost. The stylists can help you determine if it might be better for you to get a shorter cut, add curl, and explore ways to cover up some of the hair loss. It can be an interesting opportunity to try a new style or new cut as well. Try to look positively at it rather than a burden.
- Maintain a healthy diet. Many of the vitamins you get daily, for example, zinc and iron, are critical for the healthy growth of your hair. Especially if you are nursing, you need to monitor your vitamin intake and diet, not only to nourish your new baby but to promote hair growth as well.
Lastly, we just want to reiterate that there is no need to panic, this is normal and temporary, your hair will return to normal growth patterns. Your hair may experience lasting changes, and it may end up drier, curlier, or more oily and straight, than it did before your pregnancy, but every change is a new adventure and opportunity.
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