For most women, hair is important. So when hair starts changing for better or worse during pregnancy and postpartum, it’s a big deal. Today we’re sharing what to expect for your hair during pregnancy and postpartum hair loss.
Hormones are a strange and phenomenal thing. They can help us create and sustain a brand new life in our bodies, but also be the cause for countless negative symptoms during puberty, pregnancy and beyond. In the case of your hair during pregnancy and postpartum, once again, it’s all about hormones.
During a normal, non-pregnant period of your life, hair grows in regular cycles. At any given point, approximately 85 to 95% of hair is in a growth stage, while the other 5 to 15% is resting. Every three months or so, the hair in the resting phase begins to fall out and new hair growth begins. However, this all changes during pregnancy and postpartum.
During pregnancy, hair loss is rather uncommon. In fact, women tend to lose less hair during pregnancy because more hair remains in the growth stage without falling out. This is due to excess estrogen that encourages hair growth. Many moms-to-be experience thicker more lustrous hair during pregnancy. It’s part of that pregnancy glow that is bestowed on expectant moms. If you do experience hair loss during pregnancy, talk to your physician as it may be a sign of a nutrient deficiency.
Postpartum hair loss is much more common. Most women note a significant hair loss three to four months after childbirth. It may feel like hair is falling out in clumps, which is alarming for many new moms. What’s happening is all that hair that was growing for so long during pregnancy is now in the resting stage and falling out, due to decreased estrogen levels.
Women with longer hair tend to notice the affects of postpartum hair loss more as lost strands are easier to detect, especially when they end up on your bathroom floor or hair brush. For this reason, some new moms opt for shorter haircuts that are easier to manage with a new baby. Also, long hairs can get caught more easily on a baby’s fingers and toes, potentially cutting off circulation.
While postpartum hair loss cannot be stopped since the hormonal changes are out of your control, you can try to reduce the hair loss somewhat. First, don’t wear your hair in tight ponytails, braids or buns as this can pull your hair and snap strands. Try a mild shampoo and conditioner that will moisturize your scalp and hair and won’t exacerbate hair loss. Avoid over-brushing your hair and detangle when your hair is wet. Also limit use of chemical-based hair products such has hair dyes and don’t over-use heated tools including hairdryers, curling irons and straighteners.
Postpartum hair loss is usually well over by the time your baby is one and there are rarely ever lasting effects on the look and health of your hair. In the mean time, enjoy your silky hair during pregnancy and know that postpartum hair loss is normal.