Whether you’ve just had a baby, or you are researching what to expect as your due date draws near, the question as to what’s up with your lovely locks has probably crossed your mind a time or two. Your eyes aren’t playing tricks on your mom, your beautiful mane has probably gotten thicker and more lustrous during your pregnancy. Let’s call it an early Mother’s Day gift from the universe! Folks weren’t joking about that amazing “pregnancy glow,” and although many sarcastic moms will chalk that up to extra sweat and oils, the reality is that your body is creating some amazing hormones that give you some impressively “glowy” benefits. It is normal and natural for those hormones to fluctuate after childbirth, which can lead to some hair loss. But there is help for postpartum hair loss! Read on to learn more about pregnancy hair, what’s ahead after you have your little bundle of joy and the options you have for postpartum hair loss.
Hormone Changes During Pregnancy and Postpartum That Affect Hair
It’s okay if you do a slight eye roll here. Every woman gets a little overwhelmed with constantly being told that all of the changes happening in her body are due to the massive influx of hormonal changes. You’ve heard it once, and you’ll hear it many times again, hormone changes during pregnancy and after pregnancy affects everything, including your hair. There are significant increases in estrogen, progesterone, prolactin, and oxytocin. The amount of blood you produce also volume increases, sometimes as much as a 50 percent increase by the time your due date rolls around.
If having significant increases in blood volume and hormones isn’t enough of a roller coaster ride for you for a period of 9 months or so, then get ready for the next dramatic twist because as soon as your baby is born, your estrogen and progesterone levels drop back down to normal almost within 24 hours of birth! Your prolactin stays high for the duration of breast-feeding, but your blood volume also decreases, but in a more gradual manner. It usually takes a few weeks after birth for your blood levels to drop back down to normal.
What Effects Do Hormones Have On Hair?
While you are pregnant, the high levels of estrogen that you are producing slow down the rate of hair loss. It is normal for a person to lose some hair every day, about 50 to 100 strands. During pregnancy, with the increase in estrogen, the number of strands you lose daily is lessened quite a bit. This process is also compounded with the increased blood volume and increased blood circulation, which is another helpful factor in causing less hair to fall out than normal.
Unfortunately, since your estrogen levels drop within 24 hours of giving birth, your hair ends up making up for the lost time by allowing those hair follicles to release their strands in larger clumps than it normally does. While it may seem like the volume of hair strands is quite a bit, it probably isn’t more than you would have lost over the last nine months. It just seems crazy because you are losing nine months of hair all at once.
Interestingly, while postpartum hair loss can set in almost as soon as your baby arrives, it can continue for up to a year. The hair loss usually peaks after about 4 months, so don’t worry if you find that you are still losing hair for quite some time after your baby is born.
What Can I Do to Reduce Postpartum Hair Loss?
Treat yourself to an early Mother’s Day gift with a trip to a trichologist! At New Look Institute, we can provide a consultation and a plan to help you mitigate the long-term effects of postpartum hair loss by working with you to maintain the health of your scalp, which is where hair growth stems from. Our professional and knowledgeable staff can recommend a personalized treatment plan that can help slow down hair loss and help you maintain a beautiful and healthy look until long after your hormones even out. Our trichologist will assess many aspects of healthy hair growth. Below are some recommendations that may help you with your postpartum hair loss, but we always recommend discussing these treatments with a trichologist so that you are guided towards a treatment plan that works best with your body.
- Nix Extreme Temperatures – While it is absolutely divine to take a piping hot shower in the winter, or a nice cool shower in the summer, extreme temperatures can cause issues when it comes to hair loss. Additionally, heating hair with a dryer or curling iron may make it look thinner. Try air drying your hair and sticking to warm showers. Use the extra time that you aren’t using on styling your hair to sneak in some extra snuggles with your baby, or to grab a few extra minutes of sleep.
- Pay Attention to Your Nutrition – Whole food vitamin supplements and good meals will help your body maintain the vitamins and minerals necessary for hair growth. Your body absorbs vitamins and minerals best from foods that you’ve eaten, so make sure that you are eating plenty of fruits, veggies, and healthy proteins for a diet high in Iron, Vitamin C, Vitamin D, Magnesium, and Omega-3s.
- Try a Different Shampoo – With the hormone fluctuations, you will find that you may not need conditioners, or that you need more. When you visit with a trichologist at New Look Institute, we can recommend a volumizing shampoo that works best with the pH balance of your scalp, specifically, that doesn’t weigh down your hair with too much moisturizer making it look thin and limp.
Postpartum Hair Loss Is Normal and There Is Help!
In many situations, postpartum hair loss is just part of the process of becoming a mother. There are still ways to minimize the loss and maintain a healthy glow after your baby is born. We recommend speaking with a professional for more information and advice, even before having your child, but especially if you are still seeing hair loss several months after your little bundle of joy arrives. Either way, congratulations, and happy Mother’s Day!