Something nobody ever prepared me for during pregnancy, was the post partum hair loss. You reach the four month milestone and when you should be feeling proud of yourself for keeping your tiny charge happy and alive, right? Well between the sleep regression, parental exhaustion and seeing more sunrises than you ever thought you would, something begins to happen.
It begins with a strand.
It covers the floor, your baby permanently has it clutched between their fingers or toes and it gathers in places you never thought it would (under the boob anyone?).
Your hair is now shedding like nothing before. The first brush of the day (or week, I’m not judging) fills the bristles with your hair and showers? You stopped daring to spend too long in there for fear of blocking the plumbing. The wonderful job of peeling your shedding barnet out of the plug is demoralising enough, but on the sixth or seventh time your doing it.. It just gets heartbreaking.
Often you find yourself looking for bald spots – you might have them, like me. My temples are now bare, hidden by the fringe I clumsily chopped in a few months ago. Thankfully, you aren’t completely bald which is surprising (and a relief) – the amount of hair that vacates your follicles on a daily basis, you’d already picked out a nice wig.
Alas, this is all normal. Post Partum Hair Loss is a thing and while it feels like you’re being stripped of your glorious mane – you aren’t. Well not completely.
Why Does This Happen?
Normally 90% of the hair on your head is actively growing (this is the anagen stage) while the other 10% percent is in a ‘resting or shedding stage’ (known as telogen). After the resting period, this hair falls out. During pregnancy, your high estrogen levels prolongs the anagen stage so it grows longer and rests less. There are fewer hairs in the telogen stage and fewer falling out each day, so you can enjoy your luxurious glossy pregnancy tresses. After you give birth, however, your estrogen level plummets, and a lot more hair follicles enter the telogen stage meaning between three and five months, you’ll be losing a lot of hair as it begins the shedding process.
The good news is, that by the time your baby reaches around a year old your hair should settle back into its normal cycles again.
Can I Stop Post Partum Hair Loss?
A lot of companies are attempting to cash in on this vulnerable part of post-pregnancy by shilling various lotions, potions, pills and styling tools. Stop.
You cannot reverse or alter hair cycles – hair in the telogen stage is going to shed, if you want it to or not. This means washing it less will not stop shedding. Super shampoos or conditioners will not stop it. The best thing you can do is start integrating some multi vitamins into your diet, because looking after your new arrival is exhausting and just keeping your iron, zinc and vitamin D levels up will help your hair through this transition.
If you feel you are losing far too much hair, or it continues to shed then visit your GP. It could be that you have a deficiency in a certain vitamin and need a prescription to build those levels back up once again.
Stock photograph from Pixabay.