So you’ve just popped out a gorgeous baby – poof! You’re now losing chunks of hair. What is going on? Well, this unwelcome phenomenon is called postpartum hair loss, which happens after childbirth. It is ok to feel upset about losing so much hair; even though you may be a mum now, you’re still a woman. The good news? Hair grows back for most women—it just takes time and patience. To help you understand the cause of postpartum hair loss and how to best cope with it, here’s everything you need to know about postpartum hair loss.
What causes postpartum hair loss?
Typically, a person loses about 100 hairs a day. But new mothers with postpartum hair loss will notice much more hair fall than that. During your pregnancy, you may have noticed that your hair looked great – super lush and thicker than normal. That is because your body experiences soaring estrogen and progesterone levels when you are expecting, particularly from the second trimester onwards. Also known as the telogen phase, this causes an impact on the underlying growth pattern of your hair, which keeps it in an ongoing stage of growth. In addition, the prenatal vitamins you consume during this time, like folic acid(a B vitamin that’s responsible for healthy cell growth), is most likely what’s helping your hair look its best. So naturally after you pop your baby, your hormones would drop back to normal which would then trigger extra hairs to drop as well.
How long does postpartum hair loss last?
As much as you want to keep your luscious locks, unfortunately, your hair will go into the next phase, called telogen effluvium. This is when your hormones level out in the following 3-4 months after childbirth, and you start to notice your hair falling out. But because it happens all at once, you might end up with chunks of hair every time you wash your hair. Some have it far worse, where there is a significant change and visible hair loss or thinning of the hair, especially in the area above the forehead.
While the first reaction might be to panic since most women tend to consider their hair their crowning glory, it is important to remember that postpartum hair loss is temporary. Generally, the hair growth resettles into a healthy cycle after several months. Some women, however, may experience postpartum hair loss up to a year after childbirth. Unfortunately, there is no proven way to prevent postpartum hair loss from happening. Still, by implementing these tips at an early stage, you might be able to reduce the severity of the issue.
Tips for dealing with postpartum hair loss
- Hair Cut and Styling
Just because you’re losing hair, it doesn’t mean you cannot still wing it. If you’re ready to take the plunge, consider getting a shorter haircut or you can try adding layers to your existing haircut. By doing this, you can make your hair appear fuller than it really is. More so if you add on the use of a hair volumiser. As long as you make time to style your hair right – like using a curling iron to give your locks some oomph, or changing the parting of your hair, you’ll be able to create the illusion and disguise your receding hairline. Accessories such as headbands or scarves are also a fun way to hide any balding spots.
- Maintain a healthy diet of protein and iron
A healthy diet can play a role too. After all a balanced meal and a healthy you would give your hair the best chance to grow. Ensure that your diet includes dark leafy greens, whole grains, berries, and protein-rich foods, as consuming them can help keep your hair strong, healthy and intact.
- Take nutritional supplements
Don’t skimp on your vitamins intake, especially if you are not getting enough nutrients from your diet. Consuming supplements such as prenatal or postnatal vitamins can help keep your body in a tiptop condition and replenish your body which would benefit your hair recovery. Supplements that specifically contain Biotin, Zinc, Iron and Vitamin C can help support hair structure, minimise hair loss and promote hair growth.
- Scalp Massage
Scalp massage, whether done professionally or by yourself, is a great way to boost the blood flow to the scalp to stimulate hair growth. You can try to gently massage using almond oil or castor oil into the scalp as both oils are rich in antioxidants that can help nourish and strengthen your hair follicles. Brushing the scalp every night can also stimulate blood circulation, but make sure to use a soft natural bristle brush or a wide-tooth comb to help reduce hair breakage and prevent tangling.
- Minimise stress and get some R&R
Treat yourself to some free time and a good night’s sleep. With the new baby, finding rest may seem challenging and a thing of the past unless you work as a team. Get your partner on board to help with some of the night feeds so that you can have some uninterrupted rest. At very least, get them to give you that scalp massage mentioned earlier!
When to talk to your doctor
If your hair shedding show no signs of slowing down and is becoming excessive, then perhaps there are other health issues at play. Prolonged hair loss could be a sign of iron deficiency or even postpartum hypothyroidism, so it would be good to inform your doctor so that you can get some blood tests done to rules those out. If your blood test results are clear, and you are just having a bad case of hair loss, your doctor might suggest other treatment options such as medication to help reduce inflammation around hair follicles or even laser therapy to stimulate new hair growth.
For the most part
Nobody likes dealing with hair loss and thankfully postpartum hair loss isn’t something that is permanent. Fret not because all this shall soon pass! Even if there is no overnight cure for postpartum hair loss, you can use these tips to help you manage instead of stressing over it too much. Try to focus on bonding with your new baby and remember that this postpartum symptom is simply part and parcel of recovering from childbirth.