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Postpartum Hair Loss

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Hair loss after the birth of your baby can be distressing, but take comfort from the fact that it is a perfectly normal process, and is a sign that your body is getting back to normal.

What causes it?

In non-pregnant women hair is generally in one of two phases at any given time. Around 90% is growing, the remainder has finished growing and is in the resting phase. Some 100 of the hairs in this latter stage fall out each day, which is why your hairbrush gets clogged up, and you seem to lose a clump every time you wash your hair.

When you are pregnant, the hormone oestrogen that floods your body prolongs the growing phase, leaving fewer hairs in the resting stage, and so fewer hairs are lost each day. This is why many pregnant women experience the delights of luxuriously thick locks. After giving birth, the hormones in your body re-adjust, and oestrogen levels fall again. The extra hairs lurch towards the resting phase in one go, and you end up with glut of dying hair. Instead of 100 hairs being lost each day, you may lose several hundred as you body re-balances to its normal state.

Most women who experience visible hair loss after birth notice a marked increase in the amount of hair they lose in the three to six months following birth. This increased rate of hair loss during the period of correction can make it feel like you will eventually lose all your hair, but fear not. Most women will have regained their normal head of hair within six to twelve months after birth.

What can I do about hair loss?

You cannot halt nature, so there is nothing that will prevent the hair loss from happening. There are, however, ways in which you can mask the loss:

• Breastfeeding – maintains elevated hormone levels in your body, and slows down the readjustment. Many breastfeeding mothers do not notice the change as it is so subtle

• Keep your hair healthy – vitamin supplements pre- and post-birth can help to maintain healthy levels of essential nutrients in your body, and stimulate stronger hair growth

• Limit your hair washes in the months immediately after birth, and when you do wash be gentle on your scalp

Scared woman losing hair

• Invest in a good conditioner and detangling comb to minimise vigorous brushing

• Avoid tying up your hair too tightly and putting extra strain in your roots

• Be natural, and avoid using too many chemical products on your hair, or subjecting it to excessive heat and styling treatments

• Be vigilant. Prolonged excessive hair loss can be symptomatic of other problems, including postpartum thyroiditis, so if you are in doubt check with your Doctor about what is normal

• Treat yourself – getting a new, shorter hairstyle can help reduce the visual impact of postpartum hair loss. A perfect excuse for a new “do” and a spot of postpartum pampering

• Add texture and body with gentle, natural hair products to generate the illusion of fullness

• Go shopping – and choose some new hair accessories to boost your mood, and mask your shedding

 

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About Cally Worden

About Cally Worden

Seasoned freelance writer Cally Worden lives with her family and dog in a quiet corner of rural France. A love of the outdoors, and a fascination with her children's ability to view life with fresh eyes provide the inspiration for much of her work. Cally writes regularly for various websites and UK print publications on subjects as diverse as parenting, travel, lifestyle, and business, and anything that makes her smile.

Website: Cally Worden

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