Hair Loss After Pregnancy
- Thursday, 24 November 2011
Many women are surprised to find out that starting at around month 3 post partum, they begin losing hair. At first they may not even notice, as it may simply be a few strands here and there. But eventually it becomes hard to ignore with several – maybe dozens - of strands falling out with each touch of the scalp.
After an especially bountiful hair period during pregnancy, when hair is known to look more luscious than ever, the rapid decline in hair that follows seems even more pronounced in comparison. One of the small beauty joys that many women appreciate during pregnancy is fuller hair. This change in a woman’s mane is due to shifting hormones – particularly estrogen - that incidentally prevent hair from falling out. This is because hair goes into a natural growing phase, which means less if any is falling out.
Thus during the 9 or so months that women are pregnant, they retain most of the hair that is normally shed. This interruption in normal shedding gives the appearance of thicker, healthier hair.
Then comes the baby. And upon delivery there is another monumental shift in hormones, this time in the opposite direction as estrogen levels go down. As a result, the hair that has been in growing mode now enters the rest phase. However the bad news is that what follows the rest phase is the fall out phase. And sometimes it seems like its never going to stop.
Some women don’t notice much change in their hair during pregnancy or even post partum while others notice substantial losses. A small percentage of women may even start to see bald patches in areas where many hairs have fallen out. Hair from around the hairline tends to fall out the most. Since this is the most obvious sightline for women looking in the mirror, the shedding can appear even more dramatic since this is what frames their face.
Keep in mind that all of this is completely normal and is not a sign of any type of underlying health issue. However that being said, a very small percentage of women may develop thyroid issues post partum and if excessive hair loss is followed by other symptoms such as depression, inability to lose weight, and extreme fatigue, you may want to check in with your health care professional.
Unfortunately there isn’t much one can do to prevent or stop the loss of hair post partum. The only additional things that can be done are to avoid all unnecessary extra hair loss by not wearing any clips, ties or elastics that pull the hair excessively.
On the nutritional end to help ensure that the body has the right materials to grow new hair back, certain nutrients can be added to the diet in higher amounts. Specifically, essential fats, B vitamins, vitamins C and E, and the mineral zinc are all helpful for healthy hair growth.
Although it seems unfair to have to endure hair loss at a time when you already feel as though you look your absolute worst, you can be reassured that your hair will grow back. In the meantime you may want to play with some different hairstyles to help reduce the thinning.