Having a baby can cause your body to change in many ways. You might be ready for some of those changes, but others come as a surprise. Take, for example, hair loss.
Hair loss after baby is common in women, but you don’t often hear people talking about it. Find out how hair loss can affect you, and what you can do about it.
How Common Is Postpartum Hair Loss?
Hair loss after baby is very common. Although not every woman is unfortunate enough to go through it, many women do. It’s more common to lose hair than not. If you’re one of the lucky ones who doesn’t exhibit this symptom, fantastic. But if you are, there are a few things that you should know about it.
First and foremost, you should realize that you’re not alone. There are millions of other new mothers out there. They are going through the same thing, while trying to handle motherhood. And that’s not easy.
Why Is There Hair Loss After Baby?
You might understand why you have those stretch marks on your stomach. Or, why you’re experiencing certain pains. But figuring out why you’re losing hair postpartum isn’t as obvious. After all, your baby is out of your womb. Isn’t your body supposed to go back to normal?
Not quite. At least, not for a while. To understand why you’re experiencing hair loss, you need to understand how hair grows. Between 85% and 95% of the hair on your head grows at one time, while only 5% to 15% is “resting.”
While hair is resting, it doesn’t grow at all. Then, it starts to fall out. But because you have so much hair growing, some hair loss doesn’t make a noticeable difference.
A typical woman loses 100 hairs each day. They often fall out while you brush or wash your hair. You might find the evidence on your floors or in your shower drain. Other than the occasional hair trail, you won’t notice any thinning or balding.
But pregnancy changes the way your hair grows. It boosts your estrogen levels, which makes your hair grow for a longer period of time. While you’re pregnant, you may notice your hair thicken and have more of a shine to it.
Those effects are because of the estrogen.
After your baby is born, your body chemistry changes once again. Your estrogen levels and other hormones immediately start to drop down. They return to their original levels.
Then, the hair follicles that were growing move on to the resting phase. And with that, hair starts to fall out. This isn’t just one or two missing strands of hair each day. Hair loss after baby is impossible to ignore.
Your shower drain might be clogged with what looks like a whole head of hair. And your hair brush might be so tangled with hair that you toss it in the trash. Your once thick and luscious hair becomes thin and sparse.
How Long Does It Last?
Hair loss after baby usually becomes noticeable a week after giving birth. But it could be sooner or later. It all depends on your body’s chemistry. Unfortunately, the hair loss lingers around.
The growing hairs need to catch up with the resting ones before you start losing hair at an alarming rate. It can take anywhere from six months to 12 months for this to happen. Once it does, your hair returns to its original fullness.
In years to come, you might forget it ever happened.
Coping With the Hair Loss
Unfortunately, hair loss after baby can hurt your self-esteem. A new mom needs to cope with a laundry list of issues. Some of these include no sleep, hormones balancing out, and a screaming newborn. That newborn demands every second of your attention.
Yes, motherhood is great. But it’s also incredibly stressful and can take a toll on your self-esteem. Losing hair doesn’t help matters.
Some people lose hair at more rapid rates than others. In some cases, you might lose so much hair that it appears as if you are permanently balding.
Other people can notice it, and this might make you feel uncomfortable. But there are ways that you can cope with hair loss.
1. A Shorter Haircut
Thinning hair is easy to notice on long hairstyles. So, it might be a good time to try that new short hairstyle you’ve been considering for years. The thinning hair will be harder to notice, and you might find a new do that you truly love.
As a bonus, you’ll have less hair to clean out of your drain.
2. Be Gentle
While you’re losing hair at such a rapid rate, it’s important to do what you can to limit hair loss. Avoid certain damaging activities to prolong the life of your hair. Avoid putting it up in a ponytail or a bun, because your hair can come out with the band when you try to take it out.
You should also avoid using hair straighteners and dryers with high-heat settings. They can do extensive damage to your thinning hair, and make it more prone to fall out.
Even a brush can damage your hair. If you can, only use a wide toothed comb on your hair. And only brush it when it’s completely dry. While these tips won’t make your hair thicker, they will prevent it from thinning out even more.
3. Take Supplements
Some supplements, like fish oil, may help to get your hair restored to its original lusciousness. But chances are, it will only help move things along. Taking prenatal vitamins sometimes reduce the hair loss as well.
Most likely, the shedding will still be a problem with either supplement.
4. Use a Thickening Shampoo
You may be able to combat your hair loss after baby with a thickening shampoo. Find the most effective one that you can and follow the instructions on the bottle. It may thicken your hair to the point that the hair loss is no longer noticeable. With a thickening shampoo, you may be more confident when you go out in public.
As a general advice, use an organic shampoo with argan oil in it. It is so much safer than commercial products.