Have you noticed a bit more hair on the hairbrush than usual since giving birth? If you’re seeing more hair in the drain after you shower, you’re probably experiencing is postpartum hair loss. Some studies have shown that postpartum hair loss effects nearly 90% of new mums in one form or another – but, don’t worry, it isn’t permanent. How can you prevent postpartum hair loss? Here are our best tips for managing postpartum hair loss.
Why does my hair fall out after giving birth?
Did you notice thicker, longer hair during pregnancy? Many women experience more ‘good hair days’ during pregnancy because of the increase in estrogen during pregnancy, which causes more hair growth than usual. Normally, about 85 percent of the hair on your scalp is growing, while the rest is in a resting state. After hair is done ‘resting’ for a few months, it will fall out naturally while you shampoo, brush, or just go about your day. During pregnancy, the increased amount of estrogen makes it so pretty much all of your hair is in a state of growth (and isn’t falling out).
After you give birth, you’ll experience a sudden change in hormonal levels (like an increase in prolactin levels for breastmilk production). This will effect how your hair grows, and for many women, all that extra hair that started growing during pregnancy will stop. The combination of having more hair, and more hair in a resting state, means more of it will fall out – sorry!
How can you prevent postpartum hair loss?
Since it’s all hormone-related, there’s nothing you can really do to prevent some of that excess pregnancy hair from falling out – but, there are some things you can do to prevent excess thinning.
Your hair brushing routine
Most of the hair in a resting state will come out while you brush your hair. Sometimes you’ll remove hair that isn’t resting, too (especially if you have tangled hair). You can prevent excess tugging and removal of hair by changing up your hair brushing routine. You can get a brush with softer, wider bristles (like the wet brushes meant for brushing out wet hair) or use a wide-tooth comb. Start at the bottom of the hair and slowly work your way up toward the scalp. Basically, the less tugging you do while brushing, the better.
Get a hair cut
This might sound counter-intuitive, but getting a hair cut will help with prevent excess postpartum hair loss. A hair cut will remove any split ends which make your hair more prone to tangles (and thus, more likely to be tugged out while you brush your hair). Also, if you’re experiencing quite a bit of hair loss and notice thinning or balding around the hair line, a professional hair stylist can help cut your hair in a way that will hide those areas.
Wash your hair regularly and use conditioner
Keeping your hair clean and conditioned will also prevent excess tangling. Washing it gently will help remove the hairs that are ready to come out, and adding a conditioning treatment to the hair will keep it slick and easy to comb out without snagging.
Continue taking your prenatal vitamins
Pregnancy can take a lot out of you – literally. This can effect women in many different ways, including hair growth. Your pretnatal vitamins can be a good source of iron, zinc, and vitamin D, which are all important for growing new hair. Eating a healthy diet rich in proteins and fats can help with hair growth, too.
How long does postpartum hair loss last?
Postpartum hair loss usually slows after about 6 months, and may continue in some degree for up to a year postpartum (especially if you’re breastfeeding). So, hang tight, and know that this, too, shall pass.
How much postpartum hair loss is normal?
At what point should you be concerned? Postpartum hair loss, when accompanied with other symptoms, could mean you have a postpartum thyroid problem. If you ever have any concerns – and especially if you haven’t noticed any slowing in postpartum hair loss after 6 months – you should let your doctor know.