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Fuller, thicker hair is one of the best side effects of pregnancy. A majority of women have reported that they have their best hair during pregnancy. Unfortunately, this great hair are temporary.
However, after your baby is born, you may find out that your hair have started thinning. You might find loose hair on your clothing, your pillow, or even clogging your shower drain. Even if you find it alarming, this increased hair loss is actually quite normal. This happens due to the changes in the hormone levels after pregnancy. So, if you are a new mom and going through postpartum hair loss, read on to learn more about how it starts and how to stop postpartum hair loss?
Hormonal Changes During Pregnancy and Postpartum
When you are pregnant, your hormones are going to change dramatically. The first hormone to spike is human chorionic gonadotropin or hCG. The rising levels of this hormone indicate that you were pregnant. Other than hCG, several other hormones rise such as progesterone, estrogen, and prolactin. Also, your blood volume will also increase during pregnancy to as much as 50 percent more than normal up to the due date.
Just after the baby is born, a lot of your hormones are going to drop quickly including progesterone and estrogen. Both of these hormones will get back to normal levels within 24 hours of birth. However, prolactin levels will stay up as long as you are breastfeeding. The blood volume levels drop but at a very gradual pace. It takes a few weeks after the baby is born.
How These Hormones Affect Your Hair
Hormones are the main reason behind hair changes during pregnancy and postpartum hair loss. Your estrogen levels increased during pregnancy and stopped the usual rate of hair loss. Generally, a small amount of hair fall is normal, but during pregnancy, the increased levels of estrogen combined with increased blood volume and circulation lead to less hair fall than normal.
So, when does postpartum hair loss start? After the baby is born, your hormone levels drop and the hair makes up for the lost time by falling into bigger clumps. Postpartum hair loss can start any day after the baby arrives and oftentimes it continues as long as a year. Usually, it peaks around the 4th month, but it doesn’t mean that you should panic.
How Long Does Postpartum Hair Loss Last?
Like we said, once the postpartum hair loss starts, don’t panic. You are not going bald. Everything in your body is going back to normal. If you are breastfeeding you may suffer some extra hair loss until you start using supplements with formula.
Breastfeeding or not, rest assured that by the time your baby is one year old, your catch-up hair loss will stop and your hair will be back to as healthy as they were before your pregnancy.
How to Prevent Postpartum Hair Loss?
If you are wondering when postpartum hair loss stops, it usually stops after 3-4 months of birth. One thing to keep in mind is that hair loss after childbirth is normal and you don’t need to do anything extra to prevent or slow postpartum hair loss and there’s no specific postpartum hair loss treatment. However, if your hair loss is bothering you, follow the tips mentioned below and your hair will appear fuller and healthier.
1. Skip the Styling
Using a blow dryer or a curling iron may make your hair look thin. For some time let your hair air dry till the thinning stops. Brush your hair gently as brushing too hard may cause your hair to fall more. Also, brush only once a day. You can use the extra time to catch up on some sleep.
2. Eat well
Add a lot of vegetables, fruits, nuts, and healthy protein to your diet. This ensures that your body is getting all the nutrients it needs to heal. Some of the foods that you can include in your diet are dark leafy greens for vitamin C and iron, carrots, and sweet potatoes for beer carotene, fish for magnesium and omega-3s, and eggs for vitamin D.
3. Take Your Postpartum Hair Loss Vitamins
Multivitamins should never replace a nourishing diet, especially when you are a new mom. However, they may be of assistance if your diet lacks balance. While no particular vitamin can stop hair loss completely, they are essential for overall health. Doctors often recommend taking your prenatal vitamins after childbirth, especially if you are breastfeeding.
4. Use a Volumizing Shampoo
Conditioning your hair may make your hair look thinner. In such cases using a volumizer may add some thickness to your hair and help you maintain a lustrous look. Also, go easy on the shampoo and use it whenever necessary.
5. Talk to a Doctor
If your hair loss is excessive you should consult your physician because oftentimes hair loss after pregnancy could be a sign of postpartum thyroiditis.
In the majority of cases, postpartum hair loss is completely normal and there’s nothing to worry about. However, if it’s been a year after childbirth and you are still seeing major clumps of hair in your hairbrush, talk to your dermatologist to ensure there is no other reason for your hair loss.