What is postpartum hair loss?
Many new mothers notice hair loss, sometimes very dramatic at around three months postpartum. If you’re experiencing postpartum hair loss, this shedding may be sudden and might last for six months.
At any point in time, 85%-95% of the hair is in the growth phase. During pregnancy, due to hormonal changes, the number of hair in the growth phase increases, resulting in thicker hair. After giving birth, the majority of these hair starts to enter the shedding phase. Within 6 months to 12 months after childbirth, most women will return to their normal hair growth cycles.
Causes of Postpartum Hair Loss
Losing about 100 strands of hair per day is normal for an average person. During pregnancy, the body goes through dramatic hormonal changes. As a result, your hair growth is thick and dense as more than the regular amount of hair is in the growth phase.
After childbirth, a large number of this hair enter the resting phase. Since the shedding phase follows the resting phase, new mothers will experience more than normal hair fall after delivery once this resting phase ends. It normally starts three months after childbirth. This duration can last up to 6 months and averages at about three months and is one of the major postpartum hair loss causes.
If you are having excessive hair loss after baby, it may also be happening due to postpartum conditions such as hypothyroidism (low thyroid hormone) or anemia (iron deficiency).
How Long Does Postpartum Hair Loss Last?
By the time your newborn is ready to blow the candles for their first birthday, your postpartum hair loss might be long gone. If your hair grew more during the pregnancy phase, the postpartum hair loss will be more extreme. Most women will return to the normal hair growth cycle within 6 months after the onset of postpartum hair loss, or within 12 months from childbirth. Within a year, your catch-up on hair loss will be finished and your hair should be back to pre-pregnancy levels.
Postpartum Hair Loss Treatment
It is normal to have hair loss post-pregnancy. The phenomenon takes its own time and goes away within a year. If you are not bothered by postpartum hair loss, you can simply let it be and allow it to finish its duration. This phenomenon is natural and there is not much that can be done to prevent or slow the process. However, if the hair loss is stressing you out, you can undertake the below postpartum hair loss remedy to make your hair appear fuller and healthier.
- Cut down on styling
Using heat styling tools such as curling iron or blow hair dryer causes the hair to look thinner. You can opt for air-drying your hair. Also, be careful to not brush your hair more than once a day, brush gently to prevent hair fall out in clumps.
- Take on a new haircut and a new look
You can pay a visit to a professional hairstylist and take recommendations on adopting a haircut to give you a fuller appearance. You can also opt for highlighting to give camouflage to the hair. If you normally keep middle parting, try side parting to disguise thinning at the temples.
If you have naturally wavy hair, try sporting that natural look for now. Straight hairstyles make thinning obvious – try using rollers to give your hair some curl if you have straight hair. This will disguise the thinning and give the hair a dense look.
- Keep your hair moist
Using the right products might help you add a volumized appearance. Use a conditioner or a leave-in moisturizer. You can also go for a volumizing mousse for lending a fuller appearance to your hair.
- Eat well and take your vitamins
Include fruits, vegetables, and proteins in your diet. Make sure you have leafy vegetables (for iron and vitamin C), eggs (for vitamin D and proteins), fish (for Omega3) in your diet. Although it is best to take nutrients from natural sources if you are not able to take a well-balanced diet, make sure you take vitamin supplements. You should continue taking prenatal vitamins after childbirth, especially if you’re breastfeeding.
Applying a homemade mask can also be one of the useful postpartum hair loss home remedies. If the hair shedding becomes extreme, you must consult your doctor and a dermatologist to rule out any postpartum medical condition.
Tips to Deal with Hair Loss after Delivery
Taking care of a newborn can be stressful and can put a lot of strain on you physically. Here are a few tips for after delivery hair care -
- Wear ornaments - External ornamentation such as headbands, scarves, bandannas can be a stylish way to disguise hair loss.
- Get a good haircut that gives a volumizing look.
- Try styling products such as volumizing mousses.
- Avoid brushing the hair very often.
In most cases, postpartum hair loss on totally normal and is nothing to worry about. If you’re experiencing hair loss even after a year after childbirth, you should consult the dermatologist to make sure there aren’t other causes for this hair fall.
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Dr. Jaspreet Sarna, M.D
Dr. Sarna is an MD (Skin & VD) with a decade-long experience in treating hair loss and working on hair regrowth. She believes stress management is the key to good health.