Pregnancy and new parenthood are strange and wondrous times. They’re also a physical and emotional roller-coaster… due in part to fluctuating estrogen levels. These hormonal changes can have an impact on your hair, sometimes causing lush growth and at other times causing excessive shedding.
When you see larger-than-usual numbers of strands in your hairbrush, it’s natural to wonder how much hair shedding during pregnancy and post-pregnancy hair loss is normal – and if there’s anything that can be done to prevent it.
Is It Normal to Lose Hair During Pregnancy?
Pregnancy hair loss typically occurs postpartum. During pregnancy, hair growth is stimulated by high estrogen levels that keep your hair in an extended anagen (growing) phase for several months. You may even have an exceptionally healthy, full head of hair while pregnant.
If you are experiencing excessive shedding during pregnancy, you may have a nutritional deficiency or hormonal imbalance and should consider consulting your obstetrician to address the cause. Other pregnancy-related reasons for hair shedding are miscarriage, abortion, stillbirth, or from stopping oral contraceptives.
When Does Hair Stop Falling Out During Pregnancy?
Post-pregnancy hair loss isn’t cause for alarm. In fact, it’s not hair loss at all… but rather excess shedding and slow regrowth. Rapidly dropping estrogen levels cause a larger percentage of hairs to go into an extended telogen (resting) phase. This is only temporary and will stop when falling estrogen levels regain their equilibrium.
Post-pregnancy hair shedding doesn’t cause permanent hair loss, nor will it result in patchy hair loss or bald spots… but rather diffuse, all-over thinning. The condition only lasts three to four months after delivery and hair typically returns to its pre-pregnancy growth cycle within a year.
How to Prevent Post Pregnancy Hair Loss
Temporary postpartum hair shedding is perfectly normal, but there are steps you can take to minimize it. Eating a hair-friendly diet and being gentle on your hair and scalp are a good start.
A postpartum diet should include lots of fruits and vegetables. These contain antioxidants and flavonoids that encourage healthy hair growth. Be sure your diet contains adequate amounts of hair-friendly vitamins B, C, and E, as well as appropriate levels of biotin, iron, and zinc.
Be gentle on your hair during the postpartum phase. Use mild, natural products on your hair and scalp – and avoid harsh styles like weaves, braids, cornrows, or pigtails whenever possible. Even a loose, messy bun or ponytail (while convenient) can pull on stressed hair causing breakage and additional shedding. If you need to use styling tools – like blow dryers, curling irons, or straighteners – use them on the lowest setting and try to avoid combing wet hair.
Supplements and oral or topical medications such as Minoxidil may also help. If you are nursing, discuss any medications or supplements with your doctor prior to use.
If you experience excessive shedding during pregnancy, do not take hair supplements or modify your diet without first consulting a qualified physician. Hair growth medications like Minoxidil are not to be taken orally or used topically during pregnancy.
RHRLI Offers Expertise in Treating Hair Loss
If you are experiencing excessive postpartum hair loss or shedding, Robotic Hair Restoration Long Island can evaluate your hair and scalp and help to formulate a treatment plan. Contact us today to schedule a free hair and scalp analysis.