So, you’ve just had a baby, congratulations! Pregnancy does a lot of weird and wonderful things to your body and whilst you may be aware of the more obvious ones, postpartum hair loss is something that often comes as a surprise to new mums, and often an unwelcome one at that! The good news is that it is completely normal and probably more common than you think. Here we discuss all things hair loss: What causes it? How can I manage it? And will my hair ever return to normal?
What is postpartum hair loss?
Postpartum is a Latin word meaning “after childbirth” and refers to anything concerning the mother, whereas anything relating to the baby is known as “postnatal”.
Hair loss after pregnancy is all to do with hormones. When you’re pregnant, hormone levels in your body increase but oestrogen levels in particular are significantly higher than normal. Raised levels of oestrogen are thought to alter the natural cycle of hair growth. There are three phases to the cycle: The anagen phase (growth), the catagen phase (resting) and the telogen phase (shedding).
The extra oestrogen is thought to prevent hair from falling out as often as it normally would, meaning that when you’re pregnant all of the hairs that would usually fall out, don’t. Many women say the “best hair they’ve ever had” is when they’re pregnant!
However, after giving birth to your little bundle of joy, the hormone levels in your body will slowly start to return to their pre-pregnancy state. This means that all of the hairs currently in the categen (or resting) phase will start to fall out as they no longer have the extra oestrogen to hang on to them.
The average woman loses anywhere between 50-100 hairs a day and postpartum this can increase to around 400 hairs. With potentially four times the amount of hair falling out daily it comes as no surprise that you will be more likely to notice the shedding!
But don’t worry, postpartum hair loss is perfectly normal and is experienced by 40 to 50% of women.
So will my locks ever be the same again?
The good news is that in most cases your hair will return to its original condition. The hair loss will usually last around 10-12 weeks although this can be a little longer if you are breastfeeding.
If your hair loss persists for many months after pregnancy we recommend that you visit your GP as there is a chance that this could be a sign of an underlying condition such as alopecia or thyroid issues. Female-pattern baldness is one of the most common reasons for hair loss in women. It is typically seen in women in their 50’s and 60’s with the onset of menopause. However, FPB can affect women as young as their 20’s or 30’s.
What can you do to kick start your hair growth?
Although hair loss or thinning after pregnancy is completely normal and nothing to be concerned about, many women still experience embarrassment around the topic and this can often be something that they are self-conscious about. There are a few things you can do to stimulate hair growth to speed up the process.
Maintaining a healthy, balanced diet:
Foods rich in protein are believed to hold hair-strengthening properties so make sure you’re getting your protein fix!
You may notice more hair loss when brushing. The best way to reduce this is to use a wide-toothed comb instead of a standard hairbrush. Also, washing your hair in a thickening shampoo or a shampoo that promotes hair growth is a great way to make your hair look and feel thicker.
Conditioning the hair is also important. Not only will it ensure your hair is healthy and shining, lathering your hair in conditioner and brushing through with a comb in the shower is a great way to detangle whilst also minimising the extra strain on your hair that comes with brushing when dry.
Still concerned about the way your hair looks?
For a lot of women, their hair is hugely important and can have a major effect on self esteem levels. There are many options available to give you that extra boost of confidence. Our resident Trichologist or ‘scalp doctor’ Emma Smith is the woman to talk to for all things hair loss related. A confidential diagnosis appointment is the first step in your hair journey, Emma will work to determine the cause of your hair loss and then suggest the most appropriate treatment path for you.
In the early stages of hair loss or thinning the best option is often our specialist laser hair growth therapy. If hair loss is more advanced a hair system may be the option for you, whether it be a wig, hairpiece, intra-lace hair system, or extensions, helping you choose the perfect option is what we do best. And with our custom made hairpieces, you’re in control!
Give us a call or book a free consultation to start your journey with us and fall in love with your hair again!