It can’t be stopped, but it may be slowed. Here’s how.
Postpartum hair loss (also known as postpartum alopecia) can affect upwards of 90% of new moms. So, if you’ve recently given birth, it’s probably not your imagination that your hair doesn’t seem as full as before. And you’re certainly not alone in wondering if there is more hair than usual collecting in the shower drain.
Why does it happen?
This hair “shedding” occurs because of the decrease of estrogen after birth. During pregnancy, there is an increase in estrogen and progesterone, which is why you may notice fuller, thicker hair growth. This can feel like a great perk during those uncomfortable, lumbering days. But those days may be numbered in the months after you give birth. Hair loss may not happen with each pregnancy but when it does, it usually occurs between 2-4 months postpartum.
Here’s the good news! Postpartum hair loss is not permanent.
You will likely return to your normal hair growth by your baby’s first birthday. (If you don’t, there may be another reason for your hair loss and you should seek medical advice from a dermatologist). If all is normal, here are some things you can do to mitigate the hair loss that is driving you to pull out the remainder of your hair (but don’t)!
- Be gentle with your hair and scalp. Don’t pull your hair in a tight ponytail. Brush lightly.
- If you dye your hair, consider taking a break. The chemicals may damage the hair you do have and the process often demands heavy rubbing, pulling or combing.
- Eat healthy foods and stay hydrated. Your body, your baby and your hair need to be nourished with unprocessed, nutritious food.
- Choose a shampoo that adds volume. Stay away from heavy conditioners.
- Do what you need to do to help reduce your stress. That’s a tall order when you have a newborn! This might mean asking a friend to set up a meal train, checking in with a therapist, getting a dog walker or hiring a postpartum doula.
If you have postpartum hair loss, there isn’t anything you can do to prevent it but you can take charge of how to deal with it until it passes. Eat right, be gentle with your hair and talk to others who are also going through it. That just may reduce some of your stresses and that can only be a good thing for you and your tresses.