Pregnant women experience an abundance of new and exciting things while the baby is in their womb, as well as after giving birth. Going further, most women consider their experience as a pregnant woman to be exciting, beautiful and life-changing. But what they don’t mention are the negative side effects of pregnancy that not only affect their body, but their hair and nails as well. Postnatal hair loss is unfortunately very common, which means you can’t scoff at the possibility that it could happen to you.
However, the cause for concern is limited as long as you’re prepared for this situation. Also, hair loss after pregnancy is like most of the other side effects in that they are temporary, and can make a new mom feel alone in the situation.
This being said, here are some of the things you should keep in mind with regards to postnatal hair loss.
Post Pregnancy Hair Loss Tips
Natural Hair Cycle
Your hair has 3 stages of growth:
In the first stage, a.k.a. the terminal growth stage, it’s actively growing for a number of years.
The second stage involves the hair staying in place without growth for approximately 1-3 months. While the hair is resting in this stage, there are chemical changes happening in the hair follicles.
At the end of the rest phase, the third phase happens, which is when your hair falls out. You can see 100 strands of hair shed from your head each day without cause for concern; once a strand falls out, a new hair grows in to replace it. Unfortunately though, the replacements don’t always come, which is when hair loss happens.
Causes of Hair Loss in Women
The main cause of hair loss after pregnancy is due to the hormonal changes that a woman’s body goes through. During pregnancy, women are taking prenatal vitamins that enable strands of hair which would normally shed or fall out to remain intact and continue growing; this causes your hair to become fuller and thicker during pregnancy. However, hormones create hair loss problems after you’ve delivered the baby, and it could be a while before you see the hair again. In fact, the amount of time it takes for women to notice a difference in hair growth is 1-3 months after labor.
In addition to the hormone problem, it’s completely normal to see hair fall out after discontinued use of any prenatal vitamins or change in diet following birth. Another reason why you could experience hair loss during pregnancy is due to a deficiency of minerals and vitamins. To help fix both of these problems, incorporate more fruits and vegetables into your diet.
Your hair’s natural terminal length is 5-7 years, depending on the individual. This enables hair that is in a resting phase to fall out so that new hair can grow in. But pregnancy causes the resting phase to pause, which lets current hairs keep growing. When the hormones reach a normal state again after pregnancy, the hair that was being held intact during the extended resting phase will fall out rapidly. Hair loss can take up to 6 months to get back to normal, but there are steps that you can take to keep the loss at a comfortable pace. Here is a list of things to consider trying to keep hair on your head.
Common Areas of Postnatal Hair Loss
Postnatal hair loss is described as an overall thinning, rather than a single bald spot. But along with this, there are parts of your scalp that have more hair loss than others. You may see thinner hair around the front hairline, top of your head, behind your ears, or around your temples. Some people see a combination of major hair loss in these areas, while others will only have one or two affected areas.
When is Hair Loss Serious?
Since hair loss can be caused by anything from hormonal imbalances to more serious things such as malnutrition, you should bring the hair loss issue up with your doctor if it continues 6 months after the child is born. In some cases, they can prescribe simple medications for your issue, which will make you feel more at ease. It is important to mention that medications often take months to show results, and the hair loss will normally stop without the help of medicine.
Avoid Pulling Hair
The next piece of advice is to avoid hair styles that pull your hair taut. This includes tight ponytails, braids, weaves or cornrows. This may sound odd considering that hair can become annoying when it hangs in your face, but a simple solution is to use a hair clip instead. These hairstyles will cause hair to fall because they tend to pull and add stress on the scalp.
How to Manage Wet Hair
Use shampoo and conditioner that contains hair-strengthening ingredients like silica biotin, or keratin. Your hair becomes incredibly vulnerable when wet, which causes it to be weak enough to break and fall out easily. When you’re dealing with wet hair, handle it with caution so as not to accidentally pull hair out. You will see best results by using a comb with large teeth on wet hair.
Be Gentle with Styling Tools
Using a blow dryer can cause a lot of stress on strands, and should be avoided whenever possible. The same concept applies to curling irons, hot rollers, and flat irons. Using these tools requires you to pull your hair taut, which is a step in the wrong direction if you want to keep hair loss to a minimum.
Diet and Nutrition
As mentioned before, your health is reflected through the health of your hair, skin and nails. If you’re not providing your body with enough nutrients, you may experience a large amount of hair loss after pregnancy. So include fruits and vegetables into your diet .
It’s also crucial to get enough protein in your diet so that you can provide your hair follicles with nutrition and protection from the inside-out. These tips will also promote hair growth, which can be further encouraged by taking supplements like vitamin B complex, biotin, vitamin C and zinc.
In the majority of cases, women who experience hair loss after pregnancy will not be able to stop it from happening completely. But by following these tips, it becomes less of a burden, and can help you get back to a normal routine without having to worry about hair loss.