Many women experience changes in their hair texture and growth during and after pregnancy. For some, their hair becomes thicker and more lustrous. For others, their hair becomes drier and more brittle. They often experience hair thinning and hair loss whilst pregnant and during the postpartum period after giving birth. Changes to your hair are very common and, luckily, they are not usually permanent.
Knowing what to expect and how to take care of your hair during pregnancy can help to put your mind at ease.
Causes of hair loss during pregnancy
It is normal to lose anywhere between 50 to 100 hairs each day. During pregnancy, you are generally less likely to shed hair because of having higher oestrogen levels in your body.
Oestrogen slows down your natural cycle of hair shedding and keeps hairs in their anagen (growth) phase. As a result, you may find that your hair feels fuller, thicker, and shinier. For some of us however we may experience hair loss during pregnancy, caused by several reasons.
In the first trimester, your body’s balance of hormones shifts dramatically to support the baby, which can increase stress levels and affect your hair. Stress brought on by hormonal shifts causes more hairs to move into their telogen (resting) phase before falling out during a process called telogen effluvium.
It can take around two to four months to notice thinning caused by hormonal shifts. Fortunately, telogen effluvium is generally reversible. Other health issues caused by pregnancy may also lead to telogen effluvium.
Pregnancy puts you at higher risk of developing iron deficiency anaemia. This is especially the case if you are pregnant with more than one child, your pregnancies are close together or you have severe morning sickness. Iron deficiency can result in hair thinning and hair loss along with symptoms like fatigue, shortness of breath and heart palpitations.
Thyroid conditions like hypothyroidism or hyperthyroidism can cause hair loss, amongst other symptoms. Hypothyroidism affects around 2 or 3 out of 100 pregnant women, whilst roughly 1 in 20 women may experience thyroid disorders after the baby is born.
Causes of postpartum hair loss
Finding handfuls of hair on your pillow or clogging the shower drain is never a great feeling, but postpartum hair loss is no reason to worry. After giving birth or stopping breastfeeding, your body’s oestrogen levels return to normal. This causes the surplus hair that didn’t fall out during the last nine months to shed.
As your body returns to its pre-pregnancy state, your hair should bounce back as well.
We often get asked how long postpartum hair loss lasts? Generally, postpartum hair loss will last for around three to six months after childbirth. If you are breastfeeding, your extra hair may stay on your head for longer.
How much postpartum hair loss is normal? If you feel your hair loss is particularly severe (if it’s patchy and coming out in clumps) or isn’t slowing down after six months, it may be time to see your doctor as it may be the result of other health issues.
Pregnancy and Postpartum Hair Loss Treatments
It is normal for your hair to thin after pregnancy. Unfortunately, nothing has been shown to prevent postpartum hair loss as this is part of the natural cycle of hair during pregnancy. However, hair loss during pregnancy and hair loss that persists longer than expected may be a cause for concern. Luckily, there are several natural treatments you can try to help your hair health through pregnancy and beyond.
1. Eat well
Keep your hair healthy by eating a balanced diet with plenty of protein to help hair growth.
2. Minimise stress
This may be easier said than done for new mums but reducing your stress levels will help to prevent telogen effluvium.
3. Skip the styling
Blow-dryers, curling irons, straighteners and chemically based treatments are best avoided until the shedding stops. Give your hair a chance to go au naturale.
4. Take supplements
Hair supplements can help to strengthen your hair during and after pregnancy. Both our Ginkgo and Biotin Hair Care Plans have been expertly formulated to support healthy hair growth and to help strengthen your hair follicles. All our Simone Thomas Wellness products are safe to take when you are pregnant.
Do not be too alarmed it is perfectly normal for your hair to change during and after pregnancy, although what one person experiences may be different to another. No matter the changes, remember your hair should return to its natural state once your baby is born and if it doesn’t do contact us for a personal consultation.