Help! I just had a baby & my hair is falling out! Postpartum hair loss.
Have you, or have you heard of a friend complain about hair loss after having a baby? I remember being in the shower, running fingers through my hair as I wash and condition it and effortlessly, chunks of hair would be entwined in my fingers. While it’s terrifying to see and freak out at the idea of going bald, it’s a pretty common, and normal, occurrence that about half of women who give birth experience, called postpartum hair loss.
What causes postpartum hair loss?
“She’s radiant” or “she’s glowing” isn’t an uncommon thing to hear when talking about a woman during pregnancy. I mean, as the expecting mum, it doesn’t always feel like that.
Growing a tiny human is exhausting, not to mention hormones are going berserk, in particular oestrogen and progesterone. Thanks to the increased oestrogen levels the growth phase of the hair follicles can take longer, so mama might notice that their hair may seem thicker and fuller than usual.
After bub’s arrives, oestrogen levels take a significant dive which can trigger a shift to the resting phase of the growth cycle. Meaning, hair follicles will stop growing and eventually fall out.
How much hair loss is normal?
Do you know that normally you lose between 50 to 100 hairs a day? Hardly noticeable, right? This number doubles during postpartum. Up to 200 hairs can feel and look significant.
How long does postpartum hair loss last?
Postpartum hair loss is a reflection of your body’s response to changing hormones. While it usually starts about three to four months after bub’s arrival, it can last up to six months. Don’t freak out, most of the time your body will regulate to it’s normal growth cycle and fullness around a year after birth. Do note though, it’s around the four month mark that you’ll notice the loss.
Is there anything I can do to stop or help postpartum hair loss?
Unfortunately, no. You can implement some ways to make it less noticeable but it’s inevitable. How?
● Be gentle with your hair, and don't brush your hair too often.
● Avoid using heat styling tools.
● Avoid bleaching and colouring your hair - if you reallyfeel the need to colour it, seek some professional advice from your stylist beforehand and consider a half-head of foils or toner instead of a full dye.
● Get a salon treatment and regular trims to remove any split ends - it will help make your hair feel healthier and thicker.
● Use a good conditioner to keep your hair hydrated.
● Eat a healthy diet that includes plenty of vitamins, protein and iron - and up your water intake.
● If you’re really concerned, chat with your maternal health nurse or see a doctor.
Emotionally dealing with postpartum hair loss
I get it - the last thing you need on top of the nine months emotional rollercoaster, growing and not fitting into your clothes etc then giving birth - is hair loss. We’re all attached to our hair and more often than not, we’ve spent a bucket-load making ourselves feel and look fantastic. It can feel like a big deal, not to mention kick your self-esteem down at possibly the worst time. But this is what I feel like helped wrapping my head around it:
● Find ways to boost your self-esteem (easier said than done having just popped out a tiny human) but try to make time to do things that make you feel good about yourself. Hand bub’s to your partner, get dressed up and head out with some friends. Grab a massage or mani/pedi.
● Vent to friends or your partner: having a good bitch and whinge can help them understand what you’re going through. Bottling it up and keeping high emotions to yourself can lead to a ticking time bomb. If you’re talking to mum-friends, you’ll probably find most of them have also experienced it - and that helps knowing you’re not the only one.
● Do some research. Save this blog so you can refer back to it. Learn as much as you can about postpartum hair loss to help you understand what's happening and to dispel any myths or misconceptions you may have.
● Take care of yourself, and don’t be too harsh on yourself. You just made a human and that’s an incredible thing! It’s hard and can suck at times but look at your baby!! Worth it? ;)
● If you’re feeling stressed, overwhelmed or anxious about your hair loss, talk to your doctor or a therapist. They can help you cope with the emotional aspects.
If you're experiencing postpartum hair loss, it's important to be patient and to take care of your hair. With time and care, your hair will regain its fullness, and you will be back in the salon, feeling fab in no time! In the meantime, ask your hairstylist to show you hairstyles and products to help disguise it. As you go through the phase of growing back, (IYKYK) for a short period of time it can literally stick up like horns! Otherwise, reach out - I’ve been there! Or follow our socials for styling tips.
Until next time,