Postpartum Hair Loss

Hormones, am I right?

When you’re expecting, the hormones in your body change so much, and play a huge role in how your body works. Specifically, estrogen and progesterone are two hormones that have such a dramatic increase during pregnancy, and affect vascular development, mood swings, milk duct development, and hair changes.

According to the American Pregnancy Association, 90% of your hair is growing at any given time, while the other 10% is in what’s called a resting phase. What happens outside of pregnancy is the resting hair falls out every few months which allows new hair to grow in its place. During pregnancy, thanks to estrogen, your hair is in a continual phase of growth; this is when you can expect your hair to be full and beautiful and luscious.

The problem that 45-50% of women face during the postpartum stage is most of that full and beautiful and luscious hair that’s been in a constant state of growth will fall out. Thanks to a sudden decrease in estrogen following the birth of the baby, your hair will no longer be growing, but at the same time it’s not dying; your hair is returning to its normal 90/10 growing/resting state, so all of that “extra” hair you’ve been tossing over your shoulder during pregnancy will start to come out in clumps. Hair loss will start to return to normal by about 5-6 months, but it can lead to bald spots and receding hair lines. Take a look at my own hair loss journey postpartum:

Here you can see the thickness of my hair, where my hair line is, and how healthy it looks. This was taken at 7 months gestation.

These photos were taken right after a shower, so my hair is wet. But you can see how high up my part is, how far back my hair line goes, and the thinness of the hair on the side of my head. This was taken at 4 months postpartum during the peak of my hair loss.

Here is a picture of me with my babe, and notice the balding spot on the right side (your left) above my ear. This photo was taken 3 days after the last ones.

All of this to say, your hair WILL grow back. Cutting your hair shorter may help with the appearance of thin hair, but overall it comes down to the hair follicle itself.

A WORD OF CAUTION

I’ve noticed in some of the local Mom Facebook groups, moms suggesting certain vitamins to take for hair loss (and brittle nails…yeah, that happens too.) I’m not a medical professional, so based on my EXPERIENCE, a pharmacist at a local Shoppers told me to avoid vitamins for hair growth that include Vitamin E. Vitamin E, if ingested and you’re chestfeeding, can result in an increased level of Vitamin E in your baby, which could be toxic and potentially fatal. Biotin can be used as a topical treatment of biotin for those nails, so you may just have to ride the unfortunate wave of hair loss. Perhaps get a hair cut and/or sport some cute scarves for the time being? You got this. It will grow back, I promise.

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