Let’s get into the thick of it. Or should I say the “thin” of it. Okay, jokes aside, because in complete honesty, this phase is a scary phase for lots of new moms. What’s even scarier is that it’s a phase that doesn’t get talked about more often.
For most women, their crowning glory is everything. Even if you’re a hijabi, your mane is still something you hold dear and fond of because a lot of women (men too) carry themselves more confidently with a good head of hair. But the moment you begin to start shedding hair, now that’s when panic kicks in.
As new moms, we’re often told to expect the usual loss of pre-baby body, sleep, freedom and even our sex drive. But what we’re not told often enough is the hair loss that comes with post-pregnancy. Therefore, it’s no surprise that a lot of women enter postpartum feeling unsure and uncomfortable with their new changes. There is so much to adapt to as you enter motherhood and small things like loosing your hair, can really scare and sometimes depress you.
What Is Postpartum Hair Loss
Getting to the root of it (man, I have a lot of puns for this) there are two forms of hair loss we should know about. Hair loss means that something is stopping the hair from growing. It’s a term we usually wail and complain about when we lose our hair. Though in reality, what’s happening to us is really hair shedding. Excessive hair shedding commonly affects:
- new moms
- anyone who’s either experienced or is experiencing tremendous stress (losing a job/loved one, etc)
- anyone who’s experienced major weight loss
- anyone undergoing operation
- and anyone with acute illness
Daily, we shed about 50-100 hairs off our head and this is a start contrast to the perks that we have been enjoying throughout pregnancy where we actually stopped shedding hair. Shedding typically resumes all at once after childbirth causing alarm to a lot of new moms.
So here’s me telling you mamas, THAT IT’S NORMAL and it’s not your imagination. Read on to learn what’s up with your pregnancy locks, how long it postpartum hair loss lasts and treatments to help you cope.
Will I Ever Get My Pregnancy Locks Back?
Now that you know it is normal, read this carefully, mamas – this is temporary, expected and common. After childbirth, you will notice clumps of hair falling out around 2-3 months post-delivery. However, peak of hair loss usually kicks in at 4-6 months postpartum so your brush, bedroom floor may not be so easy on the eyes and your shower sessions may be a little more stressful than calming. I know this to be true because sometimes I would frozen into place just staring at the clumps of hair I just lost (not that I had the bushiest mane of hair to begin with) and just felt scared.
Don’t panic – lots of mothers slowly experience regrowth after 7 months (this varies for a lot moms) where you will start to see little baby hairs appear as it grows back in. Some mothers are lucky to have their hair return to it’s usual fullness by their baby’s first birthday. There are cases where it might grow back in sooner but I for one, fell short on the other end of the stick.
If you find yourself like me, read on to understand why some women experience later recovery through learning the causes of postpartum hair loss.
Causes Of Hair Loss After Birth
A major cause to hair loss is from our hormones. Understanding that hormones change during and after pregnancy helps with knowing that the hormonal imbalance affects our hair growth. You were able to enjoy luscious locks during pregnancy because you had higher levels of estrogen. Yet however, once your baby arrives, hair will begin to fall out due to your hormone levels dropping.
The high levels of estrogen during your pregnancy slowed down your usual rate of hair loss. For some ladies, the prevention saw little to no hair fall throughout their pregnancy. This spike in estrogen levels also see an increase in blood volume and circulation giving you the joys of lesser hair fall.
Can I Stop Postpartum Hair Loss?
Unfortunately, no. As a result of our changing hormones, this natural process is beyond our control. However, because it is temporary, there are ways for you to downplay the effects of postpartum hair loss and instead promote healthy hair growth.
How To Cope: Postpartum Hair Treatments
Hair treatments are known to be costly. If you’re born with a head full of hair and still find yourself with beautiful locks, then most likely there’s nothing for you to worry about. Nonetheless, if you do find yourself stressing over your hair loss, there are ways to help make your hair appear fuller.
Here, I’ve listed 7 ways you can try from the comfort of your home without breaking the bank.
The Groove Is In The Shampoo
It’s often said that conditioning shampoo weighs your hair down. Leaving you with limp and thin hair. Which is the opposite of what any women wants especially when you’re already facing the dilemma of excessive hair shedding.
The trick to this illusion is to use a good volumizing shampoo. Volumizers add body to your hair giving you that lustrous look. So try finding a volumizing shampoo that contains proteins like biotin that boosts your tresses with umph and life. This applies for conditioner as well. A deep conditioner helps but only if you apply it correctly which is only at the ends of your hair. Applying it closer to the roots will only weigh it down causing your hair to look limp.
Furthermore, do not be fooled by labeling. Avoid shampoos that promote “intensive conditioning” or even “conditioning shampoo”. Best approach for finding the right shampoo is to find shampoos formulated for your type of hair. If you have fine hair like me, try opting for lighter formulas in your hair care products.
Skip The Styling, Darling
As much as you love your curls or that good blow dry, trust me babes, protecting those locks is more worth it. All that styling and excessive heat will also put a toll on your already fragile hair. The more brushing and tugging you put it through, the more strands of hair will end up on the floor or in your palms. It’s not a good look, ladies.
Since I’m a big advocate for mental health, if you feel the need to get that blow dry in, set your hairdryer to a cool setting to prevent further damage. I also suggest waiting for your hair to be at least 80% dry before attempting any styling as your hair is most fragile when its wet.
I also suggest enjoy cuddling your baby or mindless phone scrolling instead over time spent on your hair. But you do you boo.
In almost every research study, a good diet always helps. Same goes for our hair care. Maintaining a healthy diet that includes fruits, greens (dark leafy greens are the best) and healthy proteins (wholegrains too) is the most optimal way to feed your body all the nutrients it needs. Feeding yourself with the right balance of vitamins and nutrition can encourage better hair regrowth and your overall postpartum recovery.
For postpartum women, staying hydrated during this phase is also crucial. Remember to drink lots of water to stay hydrated throughout the day.
Don't Skip Your Nutritional Supplements
No, vitamins don’t act as meal substitutes. This is something new moms should be wary about because I know very well how easy it is to miss a meal and popping pills seem like the easier alternative than to sit through a full meal. But trust me, getting in a varied diet and taking your supplements is major for your overall health especially for postpartum moms.
Although there is no evident proof that vitamins can affect your hair loss, it does supplement the nutrients missing in your diet if it is not well-balanced. There are vitamins which promote hair regrowth so speak to your doctor or pharmacists to assist you especially if you are breastfeeding. Some vitamins may not be recommended.
Cut The Stress
Your postpartum recovery plan may slow down if your stress levels are on a high. Reducing stress may help regulate your hormone imbalances. Stress is a very triggering factor to your health so reflecting and taking mindful steps to control them can be very beneficial throughout your postpartum journey. Learn to appreciate deeper breathes, aim to do light to moderate exercises and start being present.
I realized when I began to breathe a little slower, I was able to pause my thoughts and just remind myself that I am OKAY. That I have GOT THIS. Feeding yourself these affirmations is also another way of combating stress. Do whatever it takes for you to not feel overwhelmed.
Switch Up Your Hair Care Routine
Believe it or not, modifying your hair care routine can prevent further hair loss. Aside from switching to a different shampoo best suited for your current hair condition now, understanding your hair a little better goes a long way. Did you know that it’s best to air dry your hair sans brushing?
Brushing your hair when it’s wet will cause the most hair fall. You may be combing out clumps of hair all at once because hair is most fragile when it’s wet. Thus, the act of brushing will only weaken and trigger your hair roots causing hair fall. This applies to how you shampoo your hair as well. Slow gentle motions works best.
Time for a Change of Hairstyle
A lot of mothers have gone for a chop chop once they delivered. Some even suggest getting a hair cut before delivering to avoid the stress of leaving baby at home to get this done. As cliché as it sounds, the “mom haircut” is a genius tip, mamas. Going for a shorter hairstyle is not only practical seeing as once we’re moms, the postpartum phase sees a lot of us not having the time to our usual self-care routine.
And that’s okay. To avoid this stress altogether, getting it chopped will also naturally change your hair care routine for the better. That would mean less “stress” on the hair from brushing and styling.
Natural At It's Best
During this time, it’s best to let your hair breathe. This means lay off on heavy hair masks, fancy styling and coloring your tresses. Instead, opt for natural oils that can help strengthen your roots, give it shine and stimulate hair growth.
Be patient, mamas. It’s a startling and stressful time but remind yourself, this postpartum symptom is normal among new moms. Keep telling yourselves, this too shall pass! I will grow from this! Get it? Sorry, I just had to. Once your hormone levels return to normal, you can expect your postpartum hair loss to correct itself. Take it easy and know that you are beautiful irregardless, babe.
Join our 24/7 Telegram Mommy Hotline on Telegram where we seek to support and empower mothers daily through love and knowledge sharing.