Losing a large amount of hair after having a baby is completely normal, but that doesn’t make it any less frustrating. The same hormones that cause you to have a thick, glossy mane of hair when pregnant, are responsible for the hair loss that happens a few weeks or months after the birth of your baby.
How it works is that hair goes through growth phases, and resting phases – which is when it stops growing, and is eventually pushed out by a new hair. You increased levels of oestrogen and progesterone during pregnancy causes more of your hair to be in the growth phase at the same time, which is why you may be boasting fabulous hair while expecting.
Once you’ve had your baby and your hormones level out, more hairs than usual enter the resting phase at the same, which means you lose up to four times more hair than pre-pregnancy. According to the Cleveland Clinic, this excessive shedding has a very fancy name: Teleogen effluvium.
Thankfully, your hair should return to normal by the time your baby turns 1. Here are some tips to deal with this hair loss in the meantime:
- Be gentle with your hair. Brushing or washing hair roughly will only cause more hair to fall out. Make sure you use a gentle hair brush or wide toothed comb, and use soft hair elastics, like scrunchies, to tie it up. Be careful not to pull your hair into very tight styles.
- As difficult as it can be to eat healthily while dealing with a new born, it’s important to continue eating healthy foods, drinking lots of water and taking a prenatal or breastfeeding-compatible vitamin supplement. It’s especially important to eat protein rich foods like eggs, fish, poultry, lentils and nuts; and iron-rich foods like red meat, spinach, almonds and beetroot.
- Your hair will probably be feeling thin and lanky. Using a good quality, volumizing shampoo will help give it a bit of lift while you wait for it to grow back. Volumizing mousse or leave-in conditioner could also help give your hair some temporary volume.
- When your hair starts growing back you may find that you have lots of fluffy “baby hair” along the hairline on your forehead. If this bothers you, consider cutting bangs that hide this fluff.
If your hair loss seems excessive or lasts longer than 18 months, speak to your doctor to rule out other underlying conditions.