Did you know? 90% of women are suffering from some form of postpartum hair loss and it is a normal phase of your afterbirth recovery.
What happens during the normal hair growth cycle?
The hair goes through 3 stages: anagen (growing) stage, catagen (transitional) stage and telogen (resting) stage. This cycle ends when the hair in the telogen stage starts to shed hence leading into a new cycle. You lose approximately 100 hair a day that have completed their cycle and fall out. 85% to 90% of your hair is in the anagen stage and 5% to 15% of it is in a resting stage at any given time.
What happens to your hair when you are pregnant?
During pregnancy, this normal hair growth cycle lasts longer due to the hormonal changes and results in a “postpartum hair loss” period where your hair loses its pregnancy glow. The excessive shedding that you experience is also called “postpartum telogen effluvium” which is a temporary phase.
Why does it happen?
Higher estrogen levels cause your hair to stay in the growing stage for a longer period. There is less hair in the resting stage, fewer number of hair falling out each day resulting in thicker and fuller hair. However, after giving birth, your hormone levels turn back to their pre-pregnancy state which makes your hair go back to a normal hair growth cycle. It is more noticeable since all that hair that was supposed to be falling out was actually in a growing phase when you were pregnant and now instead of losing 100 hair a day, you are actually losing almost 300. It usually peaks around the 4-month mark and starts to go back to its normal cycle around your little one’s first birthday. However, after reaching the one-year mark, if it still looks like you are losing too much hair; please speak to a doctor to eliminate any other possible underlying medical condition.
Tips to cope with this completely normal but not very pleasant temporary phase of your life:
- Eating a good, healthy, and balanced diet rich in protein
- Using volumizing shampoo and conditioner special for fine hair
- Using a wide-toothed comb to minimize tangling, and start brushing your hair from the bottom up rather than from the roots
- Trying a new hairstyle: consider cutting it short (manageable and saves time) or changing the part (try a different side ;))
- Trying styles that mask the thinner areas in your hair
- Also trying to avoid
- Heat and chemicals
- Styles like ponytails that add extra tension to the scalp
- Using rubber bands, try using scrunchies.
- Baker, Lisa. “The 4 Best Treatments for Postpartum Hair Loss.” Healthline, 3 Nov. 2016, www.healthline.com/health/parenting/postpartum-hair-loss.
- Bevinetto, Gina, and Zara Husaini Hanawalt. “Postpartum Hair Loss: Your Guide to Shedding After Pregnancy.” Parents, 8 July 2021, www.parents.com/pregnancy/my-body/postpartum/dealing-with-postpartum-hair-loss.
- Bruckner, Liz. “Postpartum Hair Loss Is Totally Normal—but There Are Things You Can Do to Stop It.” Today’s Parent, 6 July 2021, www.todaysparent.com/baby/postpartum-care/why-postpartum-hair-loss-is-totally-normal-and-how-to-stop-it.
- “Hair Loss in New Moms.” American Academy of Dermatology Association, 2010, www.aad.org/public/diseases/hair-loss/insider/new-moms#:%7E:text=Many%20new%20moms%20experience%20excessive,want%20to%20see%20a%20dermatologist.
- Huang, Susan J. “What Happens During the Anagen Phase of Hair Growth.” Verywell Health, 16 Apr. 2020, www.verywellhealth.com/what-is-the-anagen-phase-of-hair-growth-1069411.
- Masters, Maria. “Postpartum Hair Loss.” What to Expect, 4 Mar. 2020, https://www.whattoexpect.com/first-year/postpartum-health-and-care/postpartum-hair-loss.
- Miles, Karen. “Postpartum Hair Loss.” Babycenter, 2020, www.babycenter.com/baby/postpartum-health/postpartum-hair-loss_11721.
- NHS website. “Women and Hair Loss: Coping Tips.” Nhs.Uk, 5 Feb. 2021, www.nhs.uk/conditions/hair-loss/coping-tips-for-women/#:%7E:text=It%20can%20be%20gradual%20or,after%20they’ve%20given%20birth.
- R.N., Jo Lewin. “Is Telogen Effluvium Reversible?” Medical News Today, 23 Apr. 2018, www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/321590#overview.
- WebMD Editorial Contributors. “What to Do If You Have Postpartum Hair Loss.” WebMD, 10 Mar. 2021, www.webmd.com/parenting/what-to-do-if-you-have-postpartum-hair-loss#1.