Not all moms-to-be experience lush hair growth during pregnancy. In fact, many women report hair loss during pregnancy, and after the birth of their baby. While they may not realise it, most women actually lose a small amount of hair when expecting.
Here’s what you need to know about hair loss after pregnancy:
No, you are not suffering from some weird disease. Postpartum hair loss affects 40-50% of women, according to the American Pregnancy Association.
Your hair enters a resting phase during pregnancy
About 90% of your hair is growing at any one time, while the other 10% is in a resting phase. Every two or three months, the resting hair falls out and new hair grows in its place. During pregnancy, the increased levels of oestrogen in your body “freezes” the hair in the resting phase, resulting in thicker hair.
You’ll only start losing hair three months after giving birth
The most common period for hair loss is about three months after giving birth, according to the American Pregnancy Association. “After you give birth, your oestrogen levels go back to normal and all the hair that was ‘resting’ starts to fall out all at once,” explains Dr Joanne Stone, an obstetrician/gynae at Mount Sinai Medical Center in the US and co-author of Pregnancy for Dummies.
It can take up to one year for your hair to grow back
“You should regain your normal hair growth by your child’s first birthday, if not sooner,” according to the American Academy of Dermatology. If your hair doesn’t regain its normal fullness after one year, speak to a dermatologist. There may be something else that’s causing your hair to fall out.
There’s nothing you can do to prevent it
The bad news is that there’s not much you can do to prevent hair loss, but there are steps you can take for your hair to regrow back to its former glory:
- Follow a healthy diet and take a prenatal vitamin.
- Try not to use a blow-dryer or straightening iron until the shedding stops.
- Only wash your hair when necessary and use a wide-toothed comb to minimise tangling.
Xanet is an award-winning journalist and Living and Loving’s digital editor. She has won numerous awards for her health and wellness articles and was a finalist for the Discovery Journalist of the Year in 2009 and again in 2011 for the Discovery Best Health Consumer Reporting and Feature Writing category. She is responsible for our online presence across social media channels and makes sure our moms have fresh and interesting articles to read every day. Learn more about Xanet Scheepers.