One to five months after delivering the baby, surprise! Some women experience a large amount of hair shedding, or hair falling out in clumps, as their hormones return to pre-pregnancy status.
While the hair loss may be disappointing or scary, it is a normal response to the body’s readjusting post-pregnancy chemistry. About 40 to 50 percent of pregnant women experience this type of extreme shedding known as telogen effluvium, but fortunately it is a temporary condition.
Why some new moms return to their regular pre-pregnancy hair cycle immediately after birth and others do not, is unknown.
Why Hair Loss After Pregnancy Happens
At any given time, other than pregnancy, around 90% of our hair is in a growth, or anagen phase. The other 10% is taking a break from growth and resting in what is called the telogen phase.
Every eight to twelve weeks, the resting hair sheds. We find it in our brushes and shower drains. Once hair is lost, the “empty” hair follicles can begin to produce a new shaft.
During pregnancy the increased estrogen keeps hair growing strong. The hair does not rest and fall out as before, leaving some moms-to-be with hair so thick it might be difficult to comb.
When estrogen levels plummet after birth, up to 60% (usually less) of the mother’s hair can enter the resting phase and be lost through shedding. It may take six to twelve months for the hair cycle to return to its pre-pregnancy routine. Women who breastfeed may keep their extra locks a bit longer.
Any time a woman’s estrogen levels change there is a possibility of hair loss. Besides pregnancy, other triggers are miscarriage, stopping any hormonal form of birth control, abortion, or out of balance hormones.
For Healthy Hair During and After Pregnancy
- Eat three to four servings of fruit and vegetables every day. Make sure that some of the daily veggies are dark green and leafy.
- Talk to your doctor about supplementing your diet with Vitamins C, E, the B complex, biotin, and zinc.
- Shampoos containing biotin and silica are recommended, followed by a good conditioner.
- Be gentle with your hair. If you blow dry your hair, use the dryer’s cool setting. Use wide tooth combs after shampooing, and do not stress-out your hair with tight rollers, curling irons, pigtails, weaves, or cornrows. Consider putting off chemical treatments such as perms, dyes, or straightening.
Women should inform their doctors of excessive postpartum hair loss since there is a possibility of other underlying causes for it, especially if the shedding does not resolve within a few months. For instance, a vitamin deficiency can trigger hair shedding as can changes in the thyroid after giving birth.
Easy Homemade Hair Moisture Treatment
- Mash a medium sized avocado until it is smooth.
- Add 2 tablespoons of honey, mix well.
- Apply to dry or slightly damp hair; leave it on for 15 to 20 min.
- Rinse your hair well. If desired, follow up with shampoo and conditioner.
For oily scalp: You can apply this treatment starting at ear level to keep your scalp from becoming oily.
For normal scalp: Massage the mixture into the scalp and hair, root to tip. It will moisturize your scalp as well as your locks.
Source: American Pregnancy Association
Hair Moisture Recipe from The Chalkboard