Having a new baby is a beautiful and joyous time in your life. But with the great happiness of being a mother, you may notice surprising physical changes in your body, like hair loss after childbirth. Understanding and finding ways to deal with this temporary phase can help you get through it with confidence and peace of mind.
In this guide, we'll talk about the reasons and triggers of hair loss after pregnancy, the normal hair growth cycle, and some tips to deal with and get through this time.
Learning more about the causes and how your body changes postpartum will help you navigate this season well. You can take comfort in the fact that there are ways to manage it as you wait for your hair to grow back normally.
What is Postpartum Hair Loss?
Postpartum hair loss, also called postpartum alopecia or telogen effluvium, is a temporary form of hair loss or excessive hair shedding that some women experience after giving birth. It is a normal physiological response and is quite common, affecting many new mothers. This is a situation in which many hair follicles go into the telogen phase (the resting phase) simultaneously. This can make it look like you're losing a lot of hair.
It is a short-term condition that usually happens three to four months after giving birth and can last for a few months. Hormonal changes during pregnancy increase the number of hair follicles in the growth period.
This makes the hair fuller and thicker. But after having a new baby, hormone levels return to normal. It causes a quick change in the hair growth cycle. This change can cause more hair cells to go into the resting phase, called "telogen," where the hair stops growing.
Postpartum shedding can be scary for new moms because they may see clumps of hair coming out when they brush or wash. But it's important to know that increased hair loss after giving birth can be managed, and you'll eventually get your healthy hair back.
What Causes Postpartum Hair Loss?
We need to know the triggers to manage and prevent postpartum hair loss. Here are the causes and triggers of losing hair after giving birth:
The body goes through a lot of physical stress during pregnancy and childbirth. Hormones change, blood flow changes, and nutrients are moved around. The sudden drop in estrogen levels is the main culprit for postpartum hair loss. Estrogen helps hair grow. When estrogen levels decrease, hair cells go into a stage where they rest, and hair falls out more quickly.
Physical stress can also cause temporary hair loss after giving birth because the body will put the baby's health before hair growth. The body needs more nutrients than usual during nursing and breastfeeding. If these needs aren't met, it can hurt your hair's health. A poor diet, especially one lacking in iron, zinc, or biotin, may be the cause of postpartum hair loss.
Emotional and Mental Stress
The change in routine and added responsibilities may cause not just physical stress but emotional and mental as well. The mental load of caring for a newborn can be quite heavy for a new mom.
Getting used to being a mother, not getting enough sleep, pregnancy hormones, and caring for a baby can all add to emotional and mental stress, which can exacerbate hair loss and contribute to other postpartum-related challenges like postpartum depression and anxiety.
Some women may be more likely than most women to lose their hair after giving birth because of their genes. If other women in the family, like the mother or sisters, lose a lot of hair after giving birth, there may be a higher chance that you will too.
Knowing that hair loss after giving birth is totally normal and temporary is essential. In most cases, hair grows back on its own as hormone levels return to normal and the body heals from giving birth.
When Does Postpartum Hair Loss Start, and How Long Does It Last?
Postpartum hair loss typically starts three to four months after giving birth due to hormone changes. However, the exact timing varies from woman to woman. The shedding phase might last several months, ranging from six to twelve months. However, it is crucial to note that the duration of postpartum hair loss varies from person to person.
Why do you get "baby hairs" after pregnancy?
After the loss phase, many women start seeing new hair, often called "baby hair." These new hairs are a sign of renewal and are a perfectly normal part of the hair growth cycle. The hair grows when the hair cells in the resting phase move back into the active growth phase (anagen phase).
When baby bangs grow, it's a good sign that the hair follicles are getting better and returning to their regular routine. At first, your fine hair may look thin and shorter than the rest of the hair, but over time, it will get thicker and grow longer.
It's important to be patient because the regrowth process is different for everyone, and it may take several months for the baby hairs to grow out and mix in with the rest of the hair.
What Helps With Postpartum Hair Loss?
Dealing with postpartum hair loss can be difficult, but there are various steps you can implement into your routine to promote healthy hair development and control excessive shedding during this phase. Here are some helpful tips:
As a new mom, there can be so many responsibilities, but it's also important to take care of yourself. Self-care practices should include a gentle hair care routine and using natural products that can help prevent future hair damage and breakage leading to hair loss. Here's what you can do:
- Use a wide-toothed comb or a brush with soft bristles to avoid yanking or pulling on delicate hair strands.
- Avoid hairstyles that impose too much tension on the hair, such as tight ponytails and braids.
- Sleep on silk pillowcases to lessen the friction on your hair.
- Avoid using heat-styling tools such as flat irons and curling iron. Heat styling tools can make your hair brittle and promote breakage.
- Make it a part of your daily routine to use a volumizing shampoo for hair growth. A natural anti-hair loss shampoo with plant-based ingredients such as sunflower extract, almond oil, and castor oil can help your hair grow faster.
Nutrition and Supplements
A healthy diet rich in critical nutrients helps boost hair health. Include foods high in minerals and vitamins for postpartum hair loss, such as biotin, zinc, iron, and vitamin E. Consult your healthcare provider about adding supplements or vitamins designed for postpartum hair support. They can offer advice based on your needs and guarantee that the supplements are safe while breastfeeding.
Emotional Support and Stress Reduction
Adjusting to motherhood and coping with hair loss can be emotionally taxing. Seek help from loved ones, join online new mom communities, or talk to a therapist about your feelings and experiences.
Reducing stress through activities such as meditation, yoga, or engaging in hobbies can also improve your overall well-being and hair health. Rest is vital after giving birth, so take the time to relax or sleep when you can.
Remember that postpartum hair loss is transitory, and restoration takes time. Being patient and giving your body time to recuperate and adjust is critical. While waiting for new hair to develop, experiment with different hairstyles or use accessories such as headbands or scarves to boost volume and create a fuller appearance.
If you have concerns about the severity of your hair loss or if it lasts longer than intended, consult your healthcare provider or a dermatologist. They can offer specific guidance and rule out any underlying conditions leading to excessive hair loss.
Many new mothers experience postpartum hair loss, a natural and temporary phase. Understanding the reasons and mechanisms of postpartum hair loss can help new mothers confidently navigate this stage.
Remember that postpartum hair loss is not permanent, and hair usually returns to its natural thickness and texture. By learning and applying these guidelines, new mothers can concentrate on the joys of parenting while boldly enjoying their hair's journey back to its pre-pregnancy condition.