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“I cried when my hair started falling out.” Here’s how to manage postpartum hair loss

You’ve birthed a tiny human into the world, you’ve just started to get to grips to life with a newborn and now you lose your hair. The injustice is real.The good news is that there are plenty of things you can do to help when your hair starts to fall out. Keep reading for your full lowdown…

Is postpartum hair loss really a thing?

Yes, we’re afraid so. It involves losing hair (from your head) in the early months after having a baby. Doctors glamorously call it “excessive hair shedding”. Over 50% of new mamas will experience it, including celebs like Perrie Edwards and Olivia Munn.

When does it start?

Typically, this hair loss starts around three months after giving birth and can continue for several months. Factors like stress, nutritional deficiencies, genetics, and individual hormonal fluctuations can also contribute to the severity of postpartum hair loss. However, keep in mind that this hair loss is temporary, and most women regain their normal hair density within a year or so after it starts.

Why does postpartum hair loss happen?

Dr Abha Gulati, a consultant dermatologist at Stratum Clinics says the culprit is every woman’s best friend: hormones. “Pregnancy related hair loss occurs due to changes in our hormones through pregnancy and after birth. Our estrogen levels increase during pregnancy which temporarily reduces hair shedding, resulting in more glossy, luscious fuller-looking hair. However, after the birth of babies, the body’s estrogen levels fall which can cause increased hair loss.”

So in other words, all that beautiful, extra hair that everyone complimented you on whilst you were pregnant is now saying “see ya later”.

How bad will it be?

Everyone experiences these things differently and we totally get that losing your hair can be quite confronting. However, it probably won’t be as bad as you think. And it will definitely be one of those things that you notice is happening but other people won’t really have a clue.

Usually it just involves seeing a lot more of your hair than you are used to. For example, you may see more hair in your hairbrush or on your pillow, or the shower drain getting blocked more frequently. You may also notice a little more thinning around the hairline.

Should I panic?

We would strongly advise against panicking. There’s loads you can do to help the situation. Read on.

What can I do to limit the shedding?

When you’re in the midsts of sleepless nights and dirty nappies, it can be hard to find the time to prioritise yourself. But you know the saying, you’ve got to put your own oxygen mask on first if you want to help anyone else. So in addition to keeping on top of your self-care, try and find some time for the below to keep your hair looking fabulous:

  • Vitamins: Keep taking your prenatal vitamins and stock up on supplements, especially collagen as this can help stimulate hair growth.
  • Eat well: Leafy greens, fruits, nuts, oily fish and eggs all contribute to healthy hair.
  • Rock the greasy top knot: Washing your hair is one of the main times when hair will shed a little more so try and skip a few washes when you can to prevent the shed.
  • Silk scrunchies: If you are sporting the wonderful mum bun, make sure you tie it loosely and wrap it up in a super soft scrunchie. We are big fans of this one.
  • Quality shampoo and conditioner: When you do wash your hair, try and use a high quality shampoo and conditioner. This brand is pricey but they definitely know their stuff when it comes to thinning hair. Dermatologists also recommend keeping the conditioner to the ends only so you don’t weigh the hair down.
  • Head massage: Massaging some hair oil into the scalp can also help stimulate growth. This is because it boosts blood flow and feeds the root.
  • Ditch the heat: Keep the hairdryer, curlers and straighteners locked away as they are all likely to pull on your hair and contribute to the shedding. If you can’t avoid them though, keep them on a low setting and be sure to go gently.

Let’s hear it for the bob

Shorter hair may help disguise the shedding and make your hair look more voluminour. And there isn’t a better time to opt for a bob as it has been declared “trend” for 2024. That’s right, we’re talking short, blunt cuts, choppy layers and even a fob (fringe with a bob). Check out the options here. But if the chop is too much for you, then think about this hairband, which has received rave reviews online for taming flyaways and covering the hairline.

Speak with your hairdresser

If a bob isn’t for you but you still want to limit the appearance of your hair loss, be sure to speak to your hairdresser about your concerns. They will be able to advise you on how to style your hair whilst managing postpartum hair loss and also the best treatments for your specific hair type. And don’t be embarrassed to speak about it as it is something that many hairdressers will have advised on over the years.

When should I be worried?

Postpartum hair loss is typically not a cause for concern in medical terms. However, if you’re experiencing excessive hair loss or if it persists for an extended period, it might be wise to speak to your GP or a dermatologist. Here are some scenarios where seeking advice might be beneficial:

  1. Severe hair thinning: If you notice substantial thinning or bald patches rather than generalised hair shedding, it’s a good idea to get it checked out.
  2. Prolonged duration: While postpartum hair loss commonly occurs for several months after childbirth, if it continues significantly beyond a year or seems excessive, get some advice.
  3. Other symptoms: If hair loss is accompanied by other concerning symptoms like fatigue, weight changes, or irregular periods, it could be indicative of an underlying issue that needs attention.
  4. Sudden changes: If you experience sudden and rapid hair loss, it’s better to consult your GP to rule out any underlying health conditions causing this sudden change.

In most cases, postpartum hair loss resolves on its own within a year or so after it begins. However, if you’re worried about the amount or duration of hair loss you’re experiencing, speaking with a healthcare provider can provide reassurance and help rule out any underlying conditions causing excessive hair shedding.

And don’t forget, you’re not alone. Postpartum hair loss is totally normal, it’s temporary and your hair will return to its former glory in time (maybe even better if you follow the above steps).

Sources

https://www.aad.org/public/diseases/hair-loss/insider/new-moms#:~:text=Many%20new%20moms%20experience%20excessive,want%20to%20see%20a%20dermatologist.

https://www2.hse.ie/pregnancy-birth/birth/health-after-birth/breast-changes-hair-loss/

Birthbabe does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. the resources on our website are provided for informational purposes only. you should always consult with a healthcare professional regarding any medical diagnoses or treatment options

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