During my pregnancy, like many other expecting mothers, I received a lot of advice on just about everything baby related. Some of it was helpful and some not so much. One thing that no one warned me about was postpartum hair loss. How did I not know about this?
About 3 months ago (4-months postpartum), I remember showering and handfuls of hair began to fall out, my hair brush was full of hair. Hair was EVERYWHERE. My thick, shiny, luscious pregnancy locks were now falling out in clumps. It doesn’t help having a baby that yanks on my hair and ends up pulling even more of it out. I remember looking at a photo when my hair was pulled back tight and noticed what looked like a receding hair line, I thought only Dad’s have this problem (Sorry Dad if you’re reading this). In addition to being a sweaty, leaky, exhausted mess, of course this had to happen.
During pregnancy our high levels of estrogen prolong the growing stage of hair, this encourages the follicles to grip onto the hair for longer than usual. This is why it is common in pregnancy to have thick, luscious hair. Once the baby is born, the estrogen levels begin to return back to normal levels and then the hairs change to the resting stage, this is when they begin to shed. Approximately 40-50% of women will experience postpartum hair loss. The good news is that it will return back to normal.
The hair growth cycles can also be interrupted in a number of ways including physical stress, surgery, hormonal disruption and emotional stress. If you find that your hair is not growing back, consider seeing your doctor to have your thyroid checked. Thyroid issues can be closely related to auto-immune disorders, which can lead to hair loss. Another factor that could be causing hair loss is imbalance of hormones. During pregnancy and postpartum our hormones are all over the place, and it can take some time for them to go back to normal. Polycystic Ovary Syndrome and the birth control pill can both cause hair loss as well, so consider seeing your doctor if you think these could be playing a factor.
An iron deficiency can be linked to hair loss. When you have had a baby, you are using up more iron in your body through breast feeding. Remember to eat food that is rich in iron or take an iron supplement.
Eating a diet rich in foods that boost hair growth and contain an array of vitamins and minerals include eggs, blueberries, sweet potato and dark leafy green vegetables. Also include good fats that contain omega 3 fatty acids such as avocado, salmon and nuts and seeds. Omega 3’s help to make your brittle hair shinier, and help promote stronger hair growth.
Lastly, I would highly recommend taking a prenatal multi vitamin. Most women took one during pregnancy, and it’s just as important to take one postpartum if you are breast feeding. It will be packed with the vitamins and minerals to grow your hair. Look for one that contains biotin as this is the main vitamin that fuels healthy hair, skin and nails.
I would love to hear any other suggestions on what worked for you.