Most women notice having a thicker hair during pregnancy. However, it can totally be the opposite after giving birth. After pregnancy, they may notice frequent hair fall or hair loss. This scenario is quite common for most women during and after pregnancy. Continue reading below to know more about pregnancy hair, expectations after childbirth, and the things you can do about hair loss.
Hormonal Changes During and After Pregnancy
Hormones dramatically change during pregnancy. The first hormone that usually increases is the human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG). It is the hormone measured in pregnancy tests due to its elevated levels when women are pregnant. Other hormones that increase during pregnancy are prolactin, oxytocin, estrogen, and progesterone. Moreover, blood volume also increases up to 50 percent than normal when pregnant women are near their due date.
After childbirth, the levels of several hormones, such as estrogen and progesterone, immediately drop and practically return back to normal levels within 24 hours. However, prolactin levels usually remain high as long as mothers continue to breastfeed. Blood volume also gradually decreases and goes back to normal a few weeks postpartum.
Hormonal changes are the major reason for hair changes during and after pregnancy. During pregnancy, the usual rate of hair loss in women is prevented by elevated levels of estrogen. It is normal to have small amounts of hair fall every day, but when women become pregnant, their hair loss usually decreases due to increased circulation and blood volume. After giving birth, several hormones drop, which make your hair fall out in larger amounts than normal.
Expect postpartum hair loss any day after childbirth. Some women report hair loss even as long as 12 months. Hair loss is usually at peak around four months postpartum. Thus, if your baby is still a couple months old, and you are still losing clumps of hair, do not worry since it is not usually a cause for concern.
As previously mentioned, it is perfectly normal to experience hair loss after pregnancy. There is also no known treatment that can prevent postpartum hair loss. Treatment is not really necessary if you are not bothered with it. However, if you want your hair to become healthier and fuller, the following tips can be helpful:
- Be gentle with your hair: Try to avoid styling and be gentle when brushing your hair. Do not brush or comb your hair more than once daily.
- Use a wide-spaced teeth comb: If a comb has tight-spaced teeth, then it may pull out more hair strands than a comb with a wider tooth. This kind of pulling can lead to more hair fall. Moreover, wet hair tends to be more fragile than dry hair, so be careful when combing wet hair.
- Use appropriate hair products: Using the right products can make your hair look thick. Most hair conditioners make your hair look limp and thinner. When shopping for hair products, look for leave-in conditioners or moisturizers and volumizing mousse to add fullness to your hair.
- Eat healthy: To make sure you get the nutrients that your body needs, include a wide variety of healthy proteins, vegetables, and fruits in your daily diet. Some of the suggested foods for healthy hair are eggs for vitamin D, fish for omega-3 fatty acids and magnesium, dark leafy vegetables for vitamin C and iron, and tuber and root crops, such as potatoes and carrots for beta-carotene. Iron is also present in meat. You can consume lean meat if you are non-vegetarian. For those who prefer vegetables, they can consume spinach, lentils, as well as soybeans. Lastly, do not forget to include fresh fruits and vegetables since both contain antioxidants and flavonoids that can help maintain hair follicles.
- Take supplements: It is important to note that vitamin supplements should not be used as a substitute for a healthy diet, especially in new mothers who need overall wellness to take care of their newborn baby. However, these supplements can help if you have an unbalanced daily diet. Doctors often recommend the continuous intake of prenatal vitamins even after delivery, especially in mothers who exclusively breastfeed. The vitamins that promote hair growth are vitamin B, vitamin E, vitamin, C, and zinc. Other supplements that can help enhance hair regrowth are biotin (oral) and topical applications that contain clobetasol propionate, which is a corticosteroid that helps relieve inflammation and a variety of skin conditions. Some of the natural treatments for hair loss are lavender essential oil mixed with thyme and other essential oils, such as cedarwood, peppermint, chamomile, lemon, rosemary, and tea tree oil.
- A new haircut: Instead of constantly dealing with the frustration of detangling your hair, especially when you have long hair, you can get a shorter haircut, so it would be easier for you to manage daily chores and taking care of your baby. You can also ask a hairstylist to cut your hair in a style that would make your hair fuller. Remember that postpartum hair loss is only a temporary condition, so do not worry since you would be able to restyle your hair once you recover from your hair loss issue.
- Hormonal birth control: After pregnancy, the levels of estrogen are known to drop lower than the normal levels and the use of hormonal birth control pills are said to boost the levels of estrogen, which may somehow help treat the hair loss issue after delivery.
Alarming Signs of Hair Loss
After giving birth, women normally shed approximately 500 strands of hair every day. Postpartum hair loss usually lasts up to one year, which can be quite scary, especially when you do not know what's causing it. If you notice a consistent hair loss even after your child's first birthday, consult a dermatologist to find out what's causing it.
If you have long hair and can't seem to keep up maintaining it, you can get a haircut to keep your hair short for some time. Don't worry too much since you can always grow your hair back. Just relax and take pleasure in every moment of motherhood.