Worried about hair loss after birth? You’re not alone.
Firstly, yes it is normal. And secondly, here’s why and what you can do.
Why do we experience hair loss after birth? Is this something we should be concerned about? Many women experience luscious hair growth during pregnancy. It’s thicker, it’s more voluminous, it holds length and it shines like something out of a glossy Pantene commercial. However, after bub arrives, many of us watched those gorgeous mermaid locks swirl slowly down the drain like something out of a horror film.
Is there anything we can do during pregnancy to attempt to prevent it? And what can we do afterwards when our beautiful hair is thinning – and fast!
Why do we experience hair loss after baby?
It’s an interesting concept. It’s not so much that we experience hair loss AFTER baby, it’s that we DON’T experience it DURING pregnancy. Elevated levels of estrogen during pregnancy both lengthen the growing stage and almost ‘freeze’ it into the growth stage. This means that all the hair you lose during your day-to-day life (that the robot vacuum chokes on around the house) is often dramatically lessened during pregnancy.
While it might seem like you’re shedding heaps and heaps (and you’re wondering when it’s going to stop!) what you’re actually doing is just getting rid of the excess that didn’t disappear while you were pregnant.
You can read what our BHT community thinks about hair loss after baby at this link – you might find a few good tips (if not, some condolences instead!).
How long does postpartum hair loss last?
Don’t freak: You’re not going bald, you’re just getting back to normal. If you’re breastfeeding, some of your extra hair may hang on to your scalp until you wean or start to supplement with formula or solids.
But breastfeeding or not, take comfort in knowing that by the time your baby is ready to blow out the candles on that first birthday cake — and perhaps has plenty of hair of her own — your catch-up hair loss will be finished, and your locks should be back to the way they were before pregnancy too.
Is there anything that can prevent hair loss after baby?
Unfortunately, this is just one of those things. Short of super-glueing the hair to your head in an attempt to keep everything in place it’s probably just going to be something that you’re going to have to deal with.
Hair loss after baby is very normal and it’s nothing to be concerned about. If you have concerns that it might be related to another health issue, potentially an over or under-active thyroid, Baby Hints and Tips recommends a consultation with your health care professional or with your maternal child health nurse.
Continuing to take your pregnancy vitamins or consulting with a naturopath may show some results but, again, this is an incredibly normal part of pregnancy and hair loss after baby is just one of those things. It may not be glamorous but at least we can bask in the glory of what was our (once) shiny, glossy manes!
Tips for dealing with postpartum hair loss
What to Expect suggests: If you’re losing hair since giving birth, there are some things you can do about it:
- Keep your hair healthy by eating well and continuing to take your prenatal vitamin supplement.
- Be extra gentle during your shedding season to prevent excess hair loss after pregnancy. Shampoo only when necessary (as if you have time to shampoo at all!), and use a good conditioner and a wide-toothed comb to minimize tangling. Use scrunchies or barrettes to put hair up, instead of rubber bands — and don’t pull hair into tight ponytails.
- Skip blow-dryers and curling and flat irons if you can, and put off any chemically based treatments like highlights, perms and straightening sessions until the shedding stops.
- Talk to your practitioner if your hair loss is excessive. When it’s accompanied by other symptoms, hair loss after pregnancy could be a sign of postpartum thyroiditis.
Need more information? Healthline shares these tips on postpartum hair loss.