Losing clumps of hair in the shower? Finding long strands of your hair all over the house? Welcome to the lovely postpartum hair loss phase! Don’t worry you are not going to go bald, although it totally feels like it.
Postpartum hair loss is something that many women go through and yet it is so hard to find any information on it. Don’t worry though, I have got you covered! I am sharing all the dirty details on postpartum hair loss including what you can do to stop it fast!
There are so many other things that happen to a women’s body during the postpartum period. Check out MY COMPLETE POSTPARTUM GUIDE HERE for everything you need to know!
Why does Postpartum hair loss happen?
During pregnancy you had the best head of hair ever right? It was thick, shiny and simply put – the best! Well unfortunately after you have a baby it is likely that you will experience postpartum hair loss as nearly half of all pregnant women do.
Ah, lovely hormones. The root of all women’s problems, am I right? Well during our pregnancy we get a surge of many hormones, one of those being estrogen which impacts how our hair grows. Estrogen likes to keep our hair in the growth phase which explains the nice full head of hair.
After you have your baby, those estrogen hormones drop. This kicks your hair cycle in to a rest phase, where growth stops, but the hair isn’t ready to fall out yet. Your hair will stay in this rest phase for roughly 3 months. Then you will start to see hair loss as your body prepares for a new cycle of hair growth. Creating the postpartum hair loss phase.
Did you know that your thyroid releases hormones as well that can cause postpartum hair loss? Sometimes after having a baby, the way your thyroid functions can be impacted resulting in too much or too little thyroid hormone being released which can both cause hair loss! It is a good idea to speak with your healthcare provider if you have concerns about your thyroid level so they can complete blood work to check on its functioning. Don’t worry though, if it is your thyroid, you can take medication to correct the hormone levels and prevent further hair loss.
Anemia is very common in pregnant and postpartum women. This results when your body doesn’t have enough iron in the blood. Iron carries oxygen throughout the body in your blood stream. Your body needs this oxygen to grow and repair cells including the ones for your hair. So if your iron levels are low the ability of your body to grow hair is reduced and thus your postpartum hair loss will begin.
Breastfeeding and Postpartum hair loss
Breastfeeding itself is not shown to cause or worsen postpartum hair loss. Please do not stop breastfeeding just because you have entered the postpartum phase and are now experiencing hair loss!
With that said, if you are not eating properly, you may not be getting enough nutrients which could result in further hair loss. This happens because you pass on all the minerals, vitamins and other nutrients to your baby from your breast milk. If you do not have enough it could leave your body depleted. To correct this eat a well balanced meal and take postnatal vitamins while you are breastfeeding.
On another note, if you are breastfeeding check out my breastfeeding tips HERE.
How Long does postpartum hair loss last?
Postpartum hair loss will start around 3-5 months postpartum for most women and resolve by the time you are 7 – 12 months postpartum. This depends on a number of factors as mentioned above. If you are still experiencing significant hair loss by 12 months postpartum please speak with your physician.
How Can I stop Postpartum hair loss?
You might not be able to prevent postpartum hair loss completely, because we cannot control the change in hormones after having a baby, however there are things you can do to end the hair loss sooner.
eat a well balanced diet
This might be the number one tip that I can offer you. A healthy body functions better. This means that even though you are losing hair, your bodies cells will function better to grow new healthy hair more efficiently. Some nutrients you want to make sure you get are:
- Vitamin A (sweet potato, carrots, kale)
- Vitamin C (peppers, strawberries, citrus fruits)
- Vitamin D (fish, sunlight or supplements)
- Vitamin E (nuts and seeds)
- Zinc (pumpkin seeds and lentils)
- Iron (red meat and green leafy vegetables)
- Biotin (nuts and seeds or eggs)
Take a suppliment
As a new parent it can sometimes be hard to make sure you are eating a well balanced diet. I know when I had my baby, between breastfeeding around the clock and feeling exhausted, the last thing I wanted to do was spend time cooking extravagant meals in the kitchen.
Taking a postnatal vitamin or other supplements specifically geared towards hair regrowth can help make sure you are getting the proper vitamins and minerals your body requires. Not only can this prevent any nutritional deficiencies, it can also help stop postpartum hair loss quicker.
Please speak with your healthcare provider before taking any supplements especially if you are breastfeeding!
Take Care of your hair
When I started losing my hair in clumps, I immediately went and spoke with my hairdresser for some tips I could use to prevent hair loss. I followed these and within a few weeks noticed a HUGE difference in my hair.
1. Don’t wash your hair every day
Did you know that washing your hair daily strips your scalp of the natural oils that it needs to stay healthy? I did not. I was washing my hair daily and not only was it damaging my hair, but it was encouraging the postpartum hair loss. I started reducing the number of times per week I would washing my hair – I am down to just two times per week now and use a dry shampoo or corn starch between washes to help control the oil.
If you were like me and washed your hair daily, when you decrease the number of washes you WILL notice an INCREASE in how greasy/ oily your hair is. This is normal as your body learns to adjust to it’s new routine and will decrease over time. I just embraced it, I had too many other things to worry about with a newborn!
2. Use Gentle Products
When you wash or style your hair use products that are free from harsh chemicals or parabens. These will damage your hair and dry out your scalp and make it difficult for proper regrowth.
I switched to the Live Clean Brand and saw a dramatic improvement in my hair thickness, regrowth and shininess. My favorite was the scalp care line, but they have many that can suit your individual hair care needs.
3. Put down the tools
Yup, blowdring, straightening and curling your hair all cause damage. Try and cut back on using these items or if you continue using them make sure that you use some sort of heat protectant.
4. Be gentle
Use a gentle brush and hair ties that don’t pull on your hair or your scalp. Hairstyles where your hair is pulled tight such as high ponytails or tight braids should also be avoided. Also avoid pulling your hair up when it is wet.
Rest and relax
Okay, this one is comical I know. You are a mom to a new little baby in the postpartum period and here I am telling you to get rest when you are likely up every few hours through the night, but hear me out!
Take advantage of getting in a break every now and then. This doesn’t have to be anything crazy, a ten minute shower for example is beneficial to giving yourself a moment to relax. A family member offer to come help out? Take advantage of that and take a nap. Anything you can do to rest up or relax will not only help with your postpartum hair loss but will also help your recovery as well.
That’s A Wrap!
There you have it, easy ways that you can stop postpartum hair loss quicker!
Have you gone through postpartum hair loss before? I would love to hear any tips you have in the comments below!
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