If you’re reading this article, chances are that you or someone you know might be expecting a baby. On that note, congratulations on the new pregnancy glow!
A pregnancy often brings in a myriad of changes in a woman’s body, thanks to wildly fluctuating hormone levels. Oestrogen, progesterone, oxytocin, and prolactin are often the hormones responsible for the radiant skin and thicker hair we’ve come to see in pregnant women.
However, once the little bundle of joy has been delivered, these hormones, by the virtue of their nature, return back to their normal levels. This means that all the changes that took place during this period will now be reverted (with a few minor exceptions).
One of the most glaring changes you may notice is postpartum hair loss, also sometimes referred to as postnatal hair loss. Seeing a bunch of hair falling out in the hsower or clogging up the hairbrush is enough to make anyone worry.
Causes of postnatal hair loss
The good news is that you don’t need to panic, postnatal hair loss is a completely normal experience that happens to all women after giving birth. But why does it happen?
Postpartum hair loss is extremely normal after the delivery as the hormones in the body return back to their normal levels. Infact, all hormones drop rapidly and reach pre-pregnancy levels within 24 hours (except Prolactin as this helps with breastfeeding). In addition to hormones, blood volume changes too, but this is slow and happens over a space of a few weeks after the baby is delivered.
How long does postpartum hair loss last?
Postpartum hair loss is a temporary phenomenon (whew!). You can take a sigh of relief and be assured that this hair loss normally only lasts for up to a year. Moreover, if you are still breastfeeding, chances are that your pregnancy hair might stay on your scalp for just a little longer.
When does postpartum hair loss begin?
The postpartum period starts from the time when your baby is delivered. From this time, clumps of hair can fall from the scalp as the oestrogen (which was at its peak during pregnancy, preventing hair loss), has now returned to its pre-pregnancy level. The body sheds excessive hair strands to reset the cycle of hair growth. The total loss of hair shouldn’t be any more than you would have lost over the nine-month period normally (though it might feel like more).
What to do about postpartum hair loss?
Well, this question is a little tricky to answer as it depends on the individual. Natural remedies for postpartum hair loss do exist, and these can help to reduce the speed at which it occurs. Some of best natural treatments for postpartum hair loss are listed below:
Take iron supplements
Most women take iron supplements during pregnancy but it’s important to continue taking them after birth too. Studies show that iron deficiency can lead to significant hair loss. Another point to remember is to try to avoid drinking tea and coffee with your iron supplements as it can prevent the body from absorbing the iron.
Stress is one of the worst things that can happen to a new mother. It not only wreaks havoc with the body but can have a negative impact on the baby’s health, too. Stress is said to be one of the major causes of hair loss, and research clearly shows that it perpetuates the loop by making the follicles weaker in the longer run. Hence, learning stress management techniques to help you deal with stress is a good idea – or you might end up in the same shoes as Tyra Banks!
Eat healthy nutritious diet
A healthy and a balanced diet is vitally important – we cannot stress this enough! It not only benefits you and your baby’s health, a nutrient-rich diet can also help to maintain healthy hair over a longer period of time.
Avoid heat styling and harsh chemicals
Styling hair using hair dryers, straighteners and curling irons not only damage the hair strands but also cause excessive damage to the follicles. Heat styling coupled with various chemical treatments, weaken the hair from the roots which results in rapid hair loss. It’s better to steer clear if you are worried about hair loss.
Invest in your hair – it’s the crown you can never take off!
Postpartum hair loss is a phenomenon that cannot be avoided by new mothers. Whilst it may be unavoidable, as mentioned above, there are solutions to help you reduce the speed of hair loss. You can even invest in hair supplements. However, if your hair loss persists for more than a year, it is advisable to speak to your GP or see a hair loss specialist to check if there is an underlying condition that needs to be addressed.