Increased hair thickness is one of the many beautiful side effects of pregnancy a woman can experience. Indeed, it can help make up for some of the not-so-fun symptoms of pregnancy, like nausea and trouble breathing due to pressure on the diaphragm. But after pregnancy, these effects wear off, and while some are easy to say goodbye to, others are hard to let go of (like your great hair). Most women will go through a period of significant hair shedding in the postpartum period. Here is a look at why this happens and how you can minimize your losses in the postpartum period.
Why Your Hair Falls Out After Pregnancy In the First Place
Surprisingly, the aftermath of childbirth is not exactly what causes postpartum hair loss. Rather, hair loss occurs after birth because of what is going on inside your body during pregnancy. Your body needs higher levels of certain hormones (like estrogen, progesterone, and human chorionic gonadotropin (HCG) to support a growing baby. Because these levels stay high until it is time to deliver, your hair (and body, of course) can see some significant changes. One of the most common hair changes is that these hormones alter the normal hair growth cycle by prolonging the growing phase.
A Normal Hair Growth Cycle
Typically, a normal hair growth cycle occurs over 4-7 years. The first part of the growth cycle is the growing phase called anagen. This phase is where a new strand grows from the bulb inside your scalp and stays attached to your scalp until it switches into the catagen (resting) phase. Catagen lasts about 14 days and is where your hair stops growing. The final phase is called telogen, where the hair begins to detach from the bulb in your scalp as it prepares to shed.
When women become pregnant, their pregnancy hormones alter this growth cycle so that very little hair actually sheds during a 9-month pregnancy. Thus, it can seem like your hair become thicker. Normally, your hair is in a balance where each individual strand is on its own growth cycle so that you do not lose all of your hair at once. Yet, once your hormones drop after delivery, it triggers hair follicles that should have entered the catagen and telogen phases during pregnancy to finally begin shedding. Therefore, most women feel like they lose a lot of hair because it happens all at once!
Telogen Effluvium: The Official Term for Postpartum Hair Loss
There is an official term for postpartum hair loss, and that is telogen effluvium. Usually, telogen effluvium is caused by some form of stressor, like childbirth, surgery, trauma, a life change, or a severe emotional experience that forces a bigger portion of your hair strands into telogen.
Nearly all people will experience telogen effluvium at some point in their lives. The good news is that while it is not always preventable, it is temporary. People with telogen effluvium (including women with postpartum hair loss) find that their hair falls out about 120 days or 3 months after the stressful event. This amount of time passes because that is how long the telogen phase lasts. Remember, telogen is where your hair starts to detach from the bulb and ends with the hair strand completely falling out.
You Are Not Alone, Mama
Most women will experience more shedding after the postpartum period. But, for so long, women kept this secret to themselves, often wondering if something else was causing their hair loss. Fortunately, more and more women are taking to social media to share a more realistic image of postpartum challenges, including hair loss.
Many celebrity moms have come forward acknowledging they have struggled with postpartum hair loss. Stars like Lea Michele from Glee, Selma Blair, Kate Hudson, and even former Bond girl Britt Ekland have come out after various pregnancies to share their struggles with postpartum hair loss.
Yet, you do not need to be an influencer or a celeb to get your hair back to what it was pre-pregnancy. Most of the famous women who have talked about their postpartum hair loss have touched on a few key tips that have helped them get their hair (and energy) back.
What You Can Do To Prevent Postpartum Hair Loss, Or At Least Minimize It
Postpartum hair loss is inevitable because it is a normal physiological response to pregnancy and birth. And hormones aside, there are so many other factors that can cause you to lose your hair after birth. However, there are ways to minimize your losses and help you re-grow your hair much more quickly.
Eat to Feed Your Body (And Baby, too)
Most new moms are encouraged to eat more calories than average if they are breastfeeding. But, between the demands of caring for a new baby (and other babies if you have other children), coupled with other obligations, it can be hard to give your body the right fuel. Indeed, new moms often reach for the quickest convenience food so they can quickly jump to the next task at hand.
Try to focus on eating as many wholesome fruits, vegetables, and lean meats as possible, emphasizing protein and iron. These foods are packed with essential ingredients that will help nourish your body and your hair.
Take Hair Growth Supplements
A hair growth supplement can help keep your hair healthy and even prevent additional hair loss. Consider taking the REVITA Nutraceutical Tablets for Hair Growth Support to ensure your hair gets every nutrient it needs to stay healthy and strong. Make sure to check with your doctor before you start taking any additional supplements if you are breastfeeding.
Drink Plenty of Water
Here again, your efforts toward keeping your body and baby healthy will also help your hair. Getting plenty of water after childbirth is so important, especially if you are pregnant. Your hair and skin will also thank you.
Get Some ZZZ’s
Sleep is a foreign idea for new moms, but it is so important to help your body recover. Take advantage of every opportunity to shut your eyes. You may be surprised to learn that sleep is vital to help regulate and reset numerous body cycles, including the hair growth cycle.
Give Your Hair Some Well-Deserved TLC
Most new moms toss their hair into a quick bun to keep it out of their way. And indeed, it is necessary so that you can do what you need to do to care for your little one. But in those rare moments you have to wash your hair, make sure you are using the best shampoo products that also help with hair re-growth. Wash and condition your hair with the REVITA shampoo and conditioner to stimulate new growth while protecting and nourishing healthy strands.