You have a newborn baby and everything feels perfect until you run your hands through your hair and come out with clumps of hair in your hand. What happened? Why are you losing your hair?
It’s called postpartum hair loss, and it’s an issue many women face. If your hair was long, thick and gorgeous during pregnancy, that’s because of the pregnancy hormones. They stop any hair from falling out, even the normal 100 hairs most people lose daily (just not all at once). Many pregnant women can’t get over the luscious beauty their hair becomes while pregnant, but then lose it postpartum.
Why Women Lose Hair after Childbirth
Here’s what happens.
During pregnancy, you have incredible estrogen and progesterone levels. This keeps your hair in the stage. You don’t go through the ‘resting and shedding phases’ during this time. It’s wonderful while it lasts as you have incredible hair. After you give birth, the hair goes into a ‘resting phase.’ You still don’t lose hair during this time, so you still have your luscious locks.
Then the timer hits – three months are up and your hair goes into the ‘shedding phase.’ This is when you’ll see new or short hairs along the hairline. The problem is during the ‘shedding phase’ you may lose as much as 800 hairs a day – it's frightening, to say the least.
The shedding phase should subside by about six months postpartum. If it doesn’t, there may be other underlying medical conditions going on. For example, you may have a thyroid issue or hormone imbalance. Talk to your doctor to find out.
How to Prevent Postpartum Hair Loss
You can’t control your hormone levels or how your body reacts, but you can control how you take care of your hair. Here are some simple tips:
- Be gentle with your hair
When you wash, brush, and style your hair, use gentle pressure. Don’t pull too hard or use excessive force or you may pull the hair right out of the shaft.
- Sleep with a silk pillowcase
Spoil yourself during this time – you deserve it! Sleeping with a silk pillowcase reduces the amount of hair pulling that goes on when you toss and turn, leaving more hair on your head.
- Eat healthy
- Your hormones will be all over the place postpartum and your vital organs will take all the nutrients. Now more than ever it’s important to eat right. When you give your body the nutrients it needs, your body’s organs can run optimally and your hair may go through its phases rather than staying stuck in the ‘shedding phase’ for too long.
Having a newborn is stressful, but it’s important to take care of you during this time too. The more stress you experience, the more your hair will stay in the ‘resting’ phase. Try meditating, taking a few minutes every couple of hours to yourself, taking a walk, or taking a hot bath to relax.
How to Reverse Postpartum Hair Loss
You can’t reverse your hormones or postpartum hair loss, but you may shorten its cycle. Just like preventing postpartum hair loss, reversing it requires you to take care of yourself. Reduce your stress, eat right, and be gentle with your hair.
In addition, consider:
- Taking supplements
Are you low on iron, vitamin C, E, B, or zinc? If you aren’t sure, have your doctor test your levels. Many postpartum women are low on iron and the vitamins. Each of these vitamins is crucial to your hair’s cycles. If you are low and can’t eat the foods rich in these vitamins, consider taking supplements.
- Change your style
You may not be ready for the ‘mom do’ yet, but it may help hide your postpartum hair loss. If nothing else, choose a shorter ‘do to limit the amount of pressure you put on your hair. The less you have to fuss with it, the less likely it is that it will fall out.
- Use the right hair care products
What Happens after Postpartum Hair Loss?