Postpartum hair loss during pregnancy, happens as your body transforms itself into an incubator, providing food, shelter and nourishment to a brand new life. After childbirth, you might be relieved to have it all over! No more morning sickness, no more hormone imbalance and the mood swings that come with it, no more weight gain...it’s finally over. After all those months you deliver and welcome the opportunity to reclaim your body as a familiar entity once again. But after delivery, over the next few months, you might start to notice more hair than normal is falling out in the shower and showing up on your hair brush. Then you look in the mirror and see that in fact you have significantly less hair then you used to. It may feel as if your hair has been coming out by the handfuls. You could be flooded with emotions and questions: Is this stress? Have I developed an illness? What’s wrong with me? What you might be experiencing is something called postpartum hair loss.
What is Postpartum Hair Loss? Postpartum hair loss is a form of telogen effluvium. It occurs suddenly and the hair loss is diffuse. This type of hair loss is not uncommon for many women. It often occurs one to six months after giving birth.
What causes Postpartum Hair Loss? In the normal cycle of hair growth, women tend to loose hair in what is called the resting stage. The hair in the resting stage, around 10% of your hair, often comes out during normal processes of maintenance. However, during pregnancy due to the hormonal changes in your body, fewer hairs actually enter that resting stage which allows it to naturally shed. For this reason, some women’s hair actually becomes fuller during pregnancy. However, after delivery, once your estrogen levels return to normal levels more hair enters the resting stage and becomes ready to shed. The telogen hairs tend to shed over a short time, around three to six months, and in large quantities. Don’t worry. This is a temporary state.
Will my hair grow back? Yes! Generally speaking, your hair will return to its normal growth cycle. The telogen hair sheds because the newly growing hair pushes out of the follicle. So shedding hair, in a sense, is a sign of recovery. In a year or less, you should make a full recovery.
What measures can I take? There aren’t many measures you can take to prevent this type of hair loss. Since it is temporary, you can try to avoid hairstyles that pull or strain you hair such as cornrows, pigtails and hair weaves after delivery. Be gentle with your hair; be conscious of the shampoos and conditioners you use, avoid fine tooth combing, blow drying and other instruments that require heat. You are also encouraged to eat healthy and balanced meals including healthy servings of fruits and vegetables with antioxidants and to take supplemental vitamins. Lastly, you should try as much as possible to reduce stress in your life.