IS HAIR LOSS POST-PREGNANCY NORMAL?
It might be alarming to find clumps of hair in your brush, but you are not alone.
Let’s be frank, pregnancy is a huge transformation on women’s bodies, both during and after. It can bring a whole host of surprises, mainly due to the significant shifts in hormones and stress that are occurring in the female body as it prepares for birth or recovers after.
During this rollercoaster experience many women notice changes in their hair. Whilst some report their hair becoming drier or oilier, others reference their hair’s colour and texture changing during pregnancy and after.
Likewise, hair thickness is also impacted during pregnancy. It is fairly normal for women to notice their eyelashes, their eyebrows and the hair on their head grow thicker and fuller during pregnancy. Why is this? Well, hormones – yup we can’t escape them! The female hormones, oestrogen and progesterone, surge during pregnancy and they signal for more hair follicles than usual to enter the growing hair phase (anagen) rather than the rest phase (telogen).
One of the last things you’d like to happen post birth is another change in your hair... but yeah you guessed it, a common phenomenon is your hair will go into its shedding phase, meaning you are going to experience some hair loss. Women a few months after childbirth may find more loose hair than usual on their pillow, on their hairbrush, stuck to their clothing or on the shower floor. It is often referred to as Postpartum Hair Loss, Telogen Effluvium or even Postpartum Alopecia.
Firstly, what does postpartum mean? Postpartum is the scientific Latin word used to describe ‘after childbirth’. Sometimes you might hear it being used interchangeably with the word postnatal, but there is a difference. Postpartum are matters involving the mother’s condition after birth, whereas postnatal is used to describe the baby’s condition.
If you are experiencing this, please don’t panic, you are not alone! This is totally normal. Just type ‘Postpartum Hair Loss’ into TikTok to be greeted with thousands of other women going through the exact same thing. Women in disbelief of their new bald patches on their head or showcasing the amount of hair shed whilst brushing their hair. With 40-50% of women noting hair loss following giving birth, it means ‘how to prevent postpartum hair loss’ is one of the most common questions asked by new mothers.
Similar to hair becoming thicker during pregnancy, after giving birth, your hormones are gradually returning to their natural pre-pregnancy status. Hence, postpartum hair loss usually starts happening around two to four months post birth. As your levels of oestrogen and progesterone start to return to normal, your hair follicles will also be returning to their normal phase routine. After not experiencing that much hair loss for 9 months, this hair shedding can appear more extreme for women with longer hair or if you experienced a lot of hair growth during your pregnancy. Stress and nutrition are other factors which can impact hormone levels, thus will also influence hair growth during this time.
Women’s hair is their crowning glory, meaning this type of hair loss can be a very emotional and distressing time for new mothers. Some women might restyle their hair during this time to help hide new receding hairlines or thinning of previously thick hair.
Postpartum hair loss is different from woman to woman and has no relation to your hair quality or quantity during pregnancy. In terms of how long this hair loss will last, it tends to stop around the three-to-six-month mark, however some women can experience hair loss up to one year after birth. It is important to remember this is only temporary, and your hair will return.
As this type of hair loss is linked with hormonal changes, most women do not need to seek treatment. Thankfully, it will stop on its own accord majority of the time without any treatment. However, if you are concerned, here are some simple steps you can take to tackle postpartum hair loss...
Take nutritional supplements: If recommended by your doctor, postpartum vitamin supplements, such as Vitamin B, Vitamin C, Vitamin E and Zinc, can be taken to aid your hair growth. Do not take these unless advised by a medical professional.
Maintain a healthy diet: It is essential that you eat a balanced healthy diet, rich in nutrients. This will help to support your changing body and help its postpartum recovery, including stopping hair loss from progressing. Dark leafy greens, berries and protein-rich food are well-known for their hair-strengthening properties. While raspberries and blueberries are filled with Vitamin C, eggs are thought to help boost collagen production.
Head massage: To help healthy new hair regrowth, try stimulating the blood flow across your head by applying gentle pressure to your scalp through massage. Try avoiding brushing your hair with combs or brushes with metal teeth. Always use a natural soft bristled brush, which can help reduce breakage whilst massaging your scalp.
Reduce stress: Being a new mother can be a stressful time, so make sure you try and take some time for yourself. Try working on some breathing exercises or some mindfulness if you feel overwhelmed, it will help to regulate any hormone imbalances.
Take part in regular, gentle-to-moderate exercise: Whether it’s having a little boogie in the living room or going for a gentle walk with your new baby, exercise will help things return to normal.
Modify your hair care routine: Try using specialist hair loss shampoo (with biotin and silica) and deep moisturising conditioner.
Be patient: Hair loss can be a distressing time, but this too shall pass.
Try GLOWWA Hair Food: GLOWWA’s Hair Food provides you with that additional nutritional support needed for healthy hair growth, reduced shedding, and wellbeing benefits. In as little as 12 weeks results can be noticed and can help you start your healthy hair growth journey. GLOWWA is recommended by trichologists worldwide for its effective, results driven formula.
Nevertheless, if your postpartum hair loss is extreme and has been longer than six months, it might be a good idea to go and see your doctor. In some cases, this type of hair loss may not be a hormone issue and might be an overactive thyroid instead, which can also be linked with pregnancy and postpartum symptoms. Inflammation of the thyroid gland can cause Thyroiditis, which can result in an imbalance of thyroid hormones. Another cause of hair loss might be an iron deficiency and if untreated can lead to iron deficiency anaemia. Ensure you reach out for medical advice if you think you feel you need it.
Finally, just remember you are doing great. Being a new mummy is the toughest job in the world. Be kind to yourself and your body – what you have achieved together is incredible.