After you give birth all kinds of things happen to your body. You are sore. You bleed for what seems like forever. You are exhausted. It feels like you are leaking breastmilk constantly. Then suddenly your hair starts falling out in what seems like giant clumps. Fear not. Postpartum hair loss is completely normal and happens to every new mom.
The Low Down on Postpartum Hair Loss
On average, people lose around 100 hairs a day. However, when you are pregnant, one side effect of all the pregnancy hormones is that they keep your hair from falling out. Specially, you can thank surging estrogen levels. That is why when women are pregnant their hair tends to look shiny and voluminous and worthy of a shampoo commercial. Sadly, once those hormones go back to normal after giving birth, all that extra hair your body has been holding onto will fall out and your commercial-worthy hair will go back to normal.
Dermatologists do not really consider postpartum hair loss true “hair loss.” They typically consider it hair shedding since you are actually losing hair that has built up and would have fallen out under normal circumstances. As your estrogen levels return back to normal after giving birth, the excess hair starts to fall out.
What is Normal?
Some women experience dramatic postpartum hair loss with what seems like clumps of hair coming out at a time. Other women may notice that they are losing more hair than usual but at a less drastic rate. Then some lucky women will not notice any unusual hair loss after giving birth.
Postpartum hair loss typically peaks around four months after giving birth. Sometimes though, it can last longer. Most of the time, your hair will be back to its pre-pregnancy normal by the time your baby reaches their first birthday. If you are still experiencing excessive hair loss longer than a year after giving birth it may be a good idea to speak with your doctor as there could be other causes.
Easing Postpartum Hair Loss
There is no way to prevent postpartum hair loss since it is caused by normal fluctuations in hormone levels. There are ways to help ease postpartum hair loss.
Maintain a healthy diet. A healthy diet can help your overall recovery and help to ease postpartum hair loss so that you are not losing clumps of hair at a time. Be sure to eat a balanced diet with plenty of vegetables, whole grains, and fresh fruit. Also, make sure to drink plenty of water. Not only is staying properly hydrated good for maintaining healthy hair, but it also helps nursing mothers make and maintain their breast milk supply.
Take nutritional supplements. Continuing to take your prenatal vitamin is one way to help ease postpartum hair loss. The American Pregnancy Association recommends Vitamin B Complex, Iron, Vitamin C, Vitamin E, and Zinc to help slow postpartum hair loss and promote hair regrowth. Be sure to speak with your doctor before taking any vitamin or mineral supplements as they may already be sufficiently included in your postpartum routine.
Modify your haircare routine. Be gentle on your hair in the first few months postpartum, especially if you notice excessive hair loss. Shampoo only when necessary and be sure to use good products like these. Change out your hairbrush for a wide-toothed comb. Skip blow-dryers, curling irons, and flat irons as much as possible as the heat is damaging to hair or use a good heat protector. It is also a good idea to hold off on any chemically-based treatments like coloring, perming, or straightening your hair until the shedding stops.
You can also use a natural plant-based hair regrowth line of products and use Rejuvenique oil on your roots and ends to promote new hair growth and add nutrients to your scalp.
When styling your hair, do not use rubber bands. Instead, use barrettes or no-damage hair ties, and try not to pull your hair into a ponytail that is too tight. Tight ponytails tend to pull out and/or break your hair.
Reduce stress as much as possible. With a newborn at home, reducing stress is easier said than done. Taking steps to reduce your stress level will not only make you feel more in control of your life as a new mom, but it can also help regulate hormone imbalances. Practice relaxation techniques like mindfulness, meditation, and breathing exercises. Make time for exercise, which helps reduce stress and anxiety.
Most importantly, ask for help when you need it. Friends and family are always willing to step in and help with the baby or even with household chores if you feel overwhelmed.
Postpartum hair loss is not the end of the world. Treat your hair like you should treat the rest of yourself after giving birth – gently and with love – and before you know it, your hair, like the rest of you, will be back to normal.
WANT TO READ MORE?
Check out this article on How to Make Your Own Postpartum Padsicles.