When you’re pregnant, you expect to deal with certain side effects such as swollen ankles, morning sickness and heartburn. However, one side effect which isn’t commonly talked about and which can come as a huge shock to new moms, is hair loss.
Postpartum hair loss is extremely common, yet that doesn’t make it any easier to deal with; especially as your hair is thick, bouncy and looking healthier than ever during pregnancy. So, what exactly is postpartum hair loss? Is it permanent, how long does it last and is there anything you can do to stop it? Here, you’ll discover everything you need to know.
Table of Contents
What Is Postpartum Hair Loss?
Postpartum hair loss usually develops within 3-6 months after giving birth and causes excessive shedding. While some women experience more of an overall thinning of the hair, others start to see their precious locks falling out in shockingly large clumps.
The good news is, it’s only temporary and the hair will grow back eventually. However, that doesn’t make it easier to deal with when you’re seeing bald spots appear on the scalp. The hair can continue to gradually fall out over a period of 6 months. That’s when it should start to get back to normal.
What Causes It?
Like many nasty side effects, postpartum hair loss is caused by hormonal changes within the body. During pregnancy, your estrogen levels increase dramatically, pushing more hair than usual into its resting phase. This is when you’re given a false sense of security as your hair looks healthier and thicker than ever before.
The trouble is, once you’ve given birth, your hormone levels return to normal. When this happens, it causes the hair which was happily resting, to start shedding. You’ll notice large clumps falling out, which can be a real shock. You’re basically losing all of the hair in one go, that you would have normally lost gradually.
Can It Be Prevented?
As the hair loss is down to hormonal changes, it’s not something which can be prevented. However, it is something you can prepare for. By taking certain measures, you can minimise the shedding and prevent it from getting worse. There’s also a few ways the condition can be treated until it starts to get naturally better. For now, let’s look at the ways you can minimize the hair loss experienced.
The American Pregnancy Association states eating a nutritious diet packed full of fruits and vegetables can help. They also suggest ensuring your diet is packed full of protein. It’s common for new moms to diet and incorporate a stricter eating regime in order to try and lose some of their baby weight. However, this could potentially make postpartum hair loss worse, so it’s best to focus on eating a healthy, balanced diet rather than a restrictive one.
You can also avoid wearing your hair in tight hairstyles. As the hair is already falling out and it becomes weaker for a while after the birth, tight-fitting hairstyles are going to cause damage to the hair. This in turn will lead to further hair loss.
These are the main two ways to prevent the condition from worsening, but what about actual treatments?
How To Treat It
Many experts argue you cannot treat postpartum hair loss – it’s simply a waiting game until the hair starts to go back to its normal cycle. However, while there are no concrete treatments out there, you can still treat the condition to minimize its effects. Here we’ll look at some of the best ways to deal with postpartum hair loss.
Consider Having A Haircut – Have you noticed many new moms often switch to a shorter hairstyle? One of the main reasons why is, you guessed it, postpartum hair loss! Shorter styles make the hair appear thicker and healthier. So, if you’re experiencing thinning, treating yourself to a shorter cut could be exactly what you need to regain that confidence; not to mention the fact it’s easier to maintain.
Try Out Topical Medications – While many topical treatments for postpartum hair loss are largely just a gimmick, there are some which have proven to be effective. Minoxidil, or Rogaine as it is often called, is one of the best hair loss topical treatments you can find.
It’s typically available over the counter at local drugstores (or available online,) but you may need a prescription for a higher strength variation depending upon how severe the hair loss is. While this type of topical treatment isn’t suitable for long-term hair loss conditions, it’s perfect for those suffering from temporary hair loss. Simply rub it on the scalp as directed and it will help minimize the hair loss and encourage quicker regrowth.
Try A Light Volumizing Mousse – It’s important not to clog the hair up with heavy products, but a light volumizing mousse can help provide an illusion of thicker, healthier hair. It will also help to keep the hair nice and moist. Avoid using leave-in conditioners too. Some sites tell you leave-in conditioners can help keep the hair looking healthier, but in reality, they tend to weigh the hair down, highlighting the hair loss rather than covering it up.
Overall, postpartum hair loss can be distressing, but it is completely normal. While the above tips can help you to manage the condition, the main thing to remember is that it’s only temporary. You’re not going to be stuck with constantly thinning and balding hair and postpartum hair loss rarely leaves total bald spots. So, stay calm, treat yourself to a haircut and remind yourself you’ll soon have your thick, healthy hair back in no time.