Postpartum Hair Loss: Cause and Treatment

Postpartum hair loss is a normal occurrence among women who have just had a baby.

This can be difficult for new mothers because they are faced with the stress of having a new baby, plus the fact that their hair seems to be falling out. This can cause self-esteem issues, and can be an aggravating occurrence to many new mothers. This condition however, is completely normal and the hair will eventually resume its growth. In the meantime, it’s important for mothers to understand why this happens and what they can do about it.

Postpartum Hair Loss Cause

The cause of postpartum hair loss lies in the natural growing stage of hair. The hair typically grows in three stages: the anagen or growing phase, the catagen or transition phase, and the telogen or resting phase. During pregnancy, hormones that are released tend to lock the roots of the hair into an anagen stage. As a result, hair seems to grow faster, thicker and longer when a woman is pregnant.

However, when the pregnancy is over and the hormones are back to normal, a great proportion of the hair will enter into the catagen phase which only occurs for a short period of time. Then, it enters the dreaded telogen phase. During this pahse, hairs usually remain on the head for about 100 days before shedding, this is called the postpartum shed or telogen effluvium. Because of this, the occurrence of postpartum hair loss usually happens around 3-4 months after the birth of the baby. This can continue for a few months and up to a year.

Postpartum Hair Loss Treatment: How To Minimize Hair Loss

Since the hair loss is governed by hormones, this cannot be fully prevented. However, there are some tips that can help control the shedding, as well as encourage the hair to grow back quickly. Below are some tips that can help new mothers minimize hair loss and regain the fullness and thickness of hair:

  • Continue taking prenatal vitamins. There are some women who take these vitamins whether they are pregnant or not due to the benefits it can give to the skin, hair and nails. Supplements usually consist of Biotin, Silica, Calcium and Zinc, which are all responsible for hair growth and strength. Other supplements include Omega fatty acids which can be found in fish oil, flaxseed oil and foods such as avocadoes and nuts.
  • Conduct a scalp massage everyday while shampooing to stimulate blood flow to the scalp. Blood carries oxygen that rejuvenates the hair follicles, encouraging it to grow more hair.
  • Avoid keeping hair in tight buns and ponytails. This could cause the hair to break off easily. Also, be sure to use mild shampoos rather than harsh ones and avoid the use of thick creams or hair masques that could potentially clog the pores.

Hair loss, especially severe postpartum hair loss can be a discouraging experience. But this need not be a source of extra stress to new mothers. Understanding why it happens and what they can do to minimize the loss can help make the experience easier to bear.