Pregnancy has left you with a welcome physical change – a head full of luscious locks. But then, you’ve already given birth and is now in the postpartum period. You’re brushing your hair during a well-deserved and much-needed me time when you suddenly noticed a handful of hair strands tangled in your hairbrush’s bristles. Quite alarming, isn’t it?
Lots of new moms like you have the same dilemma: postpartum hair loss. It’s truly an anxiety-inducing event especially if you’ve rarely experienced hair loss before and while you are pregnant. You might be wondering why this is happening now after you’ve got fuller hair during your nine-month pregnancy journey.
Read on to find out what’s the real score between the postpartum period and that wild hair loss that accompanies it.
A Natural and Normal Condition
Postpartum hair loss is medically known as telogen effluvium. It is also often known as postpartum alopecia. The condition happens during the months directly after childbirth, and it affects approximately 40-50% of new moms.
Before anything else, take note of this: Postpartum hair loss is completely normal and should be expected a few months after giving birth. And it’s usually a temporary condition. So, calm down and take deep breaths; you’re not going bald because of this.
The Culprit? Raging Hormonal Changes
Everybody experiences a normal shedding of hair on a daily basis. Sometimes, you may even rarely notice it. But during pregnancy, this normal hair shedding comes to a stop, thanks to the fluctuating levels of various hormones such as progesterone and estrogen. That’s why you experience a fuller mane during your nine-month journey.
After you’ve given birth, another huge episode of hormonal changes floods your system. Progesterone levels significantly drop, estrogen levels remain high, while other hormones responsible for childbirth and nursing continue to rise and fall as well. All these changes happen as your body transitions back to normal.
Women notice excessive hair shedding during the 3 months preceding their childbirth, while some experience this hair fall until 6 months postpartum. It’s also possible to get postpartum telogen effluvium for up to a year after giving birth.
Coping with Postpartum Hair Loss
You can’t stop excessive hair fall after childbirth, but you can control it. These tips will revive your hair’s natural strength and help it cope with its faster-than-usual shedding rate:
- Mind Your Nutrition.
Good nutrition is crucial in recovering from childbirth. It is also especially important to help your hair withstand excessive shedding. Make it a habit to eat nutritious foods from as wide a range of foods as possible. Fruits, veggies, and healthy protein sources are your best bets during this period.
Iron and protein are especially needed to improve your hair’s strength. Vitamin C, vitamin D, beta carotene, omega-3 fats, and magnesium are also important nutrients that your hair needs to combat brittleness. Ramp up your intake of the following foods:
- Dark leafy green veggies
- Sweet potatoes
Remember to stay adequately hydrated as well. Keep a water bottle near you at all times. Infuse your water with lemon or other fruits to sweeten it a bit and make it more appealing to drink.
- Continue Taking Your Vitamins.
There’s no nutritional substitute for a healthy, well-balanced diet. But you can continue taking your prenatal vitamins to supplement your diet, especially if you feel you’re not eating well due to several postpartum factors (think 24/7 breastfeeding and lack of sleep).
- Style Your Hair Simply
Stop the use of hairdryers, curling iron, and hairsprays for now. Stick to simple hairstyles that don’t need fancy tools and hair products. Hair tools and too many styling products may cause further hair thinning and won’t help in your hair’s recovery.
Let your hair dry naturally without using heated tools. Be gentle to your hair and wear it in loose buns, ponytails, and half-ties. Too much pressure caused by hair accessories and friction can further accelerate your hair loss at this moment. Scrunch up thinning hair from the roots to naturally add volume as well.
- Comb Using Your Fingers.
As much as possible, finger-comb your hair to untangle it and set it in place. You can also massage your scalp with small circular motions to enhance blood flow, while you’re at it.
Avoid brushing and combing too hard, as these may make your hair fall out in even larger clumps. Try to limit brushing and combing to at most once a day.
- Pat Your Hair Dry After Shower.
Use a gentle microfiber towel to pat your hair dry after you shower. Wrapping up your out-of-the-shower hair in a towel may cause further breakage and frizz.
- Try New Cuts and Colors.
Head to your favorite professional stylist and have him assess your hairstyle. Perhaps it’s time to get a flattering cut and color to give your thinning hair that feeling of fullness.
Face-framing styles such as long bangs and layers work well in giving your hair that illusion of fullness. Color highlights and glossing treatments are also effective in ramping up the fullness factor. Always check the dyes to be used if they’re safe, especially if you’re breastfeeding.
When Should You Be Concerned?
Inform your dermatologist if you notice clumps of hair still falling out come your baby’s 1st birthday. Also, check-in with your physician anytime you feel your postpartum hair loss is exceptionally excessive. It could be a sign of underlying health problems such as thyroid disorders.
Postpartum hair loss is a temporary increase in the rate of hair shedding after childbirth. Almost half of all new moms across the globe experience it. While it is temporary, postpartum hair loss can be bothersome to many.
You can control your excessive hair fall through a proper diet, good nutrition, ample hydration, and prevention of too much friction and pressure on hair. You may even get a new flattering haircut and color to make your mane look lush and full.
Postpartum hair fall will pass in time, so relax and focus on enjoying your new baby!