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8 Tips to Help Relieve Postpartum Hair Loss

The Gentle Nursery

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Suffering from post-birth hair loss? These tips can help you regain your crowning glory!

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There’s no denying that the first six months after giving birth can be a really challenging period for new moms. Caring for a newborn and the minimal sleep that comes with late-night and early-morning feeds can take its toll on you — and on top of all that, many new mamas also experience postpartum hair loss.

This shedding of hair, sometimes in clumps, is often quite noticeable. I won’t lie. It’s distressing, and a bit of a dent to your self-esteem. The good news is that postpartum hair loss is perfectly normal, and it’s not necessarily permanent. 

Does this mean all you can do is wait it out, hoping that everything returns to normal before your child’s first birthday? 

Not at all. There are things you can do that can help to relieve this condition.

Daily hair loss is normal. The average person loses approximately 100 hairs daily, but we generally don’t notice it because they don’t all fall out at once. During pregnancy, your hormones prevent those hairs from falling out, which is why most expecting mamas have thick, lush hair. 

After giving birth, your hormone levels start returning to normal, and all that extra hair on your head starts falling out. That said, your hormones are only one of the potential reasons for postpartum hair loss. 

Let’s take a closer look at the causes:

Your estrogen levels drop: During pregnancy, especially during the first trimester, there’s a rapid increase in your estrogen levels. These levels drop soon after delivery, affecting your hair’s growth cycle. Many of your hair follicles enter the rest phase quickly, leading to increased hair loss.

Nutrient loss after delivery: Your body undergoes all sorts of changes and blood loss after delivery. This causes a loss of nutrients in your body, which can aggravate hair loss after giving birth.

Anemia: Some women are iron deficient,and losing blood during delivery causes their anemia to spike. If this happens, it could cause far more hair to fall out than usual after giving birth.

Stress: Childbirth is followed by a tremendous amount of emotional and physical stress on a new mother. This stress may get exacerbated by postpartum lows and depression which can also trigger hair loss.

Lack of rest and sleep: The restlessness and sleeplessness that often come with being a new mother can affect your body and mind, which can further aggravate postpartum hair loss.

Poor eating habits: A healthy and balanced diet is essential for getting your body back to a normal state while nursing your newborn. Missing out on important nutrients can make your hair loss more severe.

Postpartum thyroiditis: An uncommon condition, postpartum thyroiditis causes inflammation of the thyroid in the first year after delivery. The first phase of this condition is hyperthyroidism, followed by hypothyroidism, which can cause greater hair loss.

In most cases, postpartum hair loss continues for six months or slightly longer after delivery. Of course, knowing this isn’t much comfort if your postpartum hair shedding is having a negative effect on your self-esteem! 

So, let’s explore eight tips to help relieve postpartum hair loss.

Keep eating well and taking your prenatal vitamins after you give birth, as they contain healthy amounts of vitamins A, C, D, and E, as well as zinc, all of which can help reduce postpartum hair loss. 

The chemicals you put on your hair can affect your hair follicles’ life cycle, so changing your shampoo can help relieve postpartum hair loss.

Thinning hair requires different care to stop it from looking oily, limp and lifeless. While your hair recovers, do the following to keep it in the best possible condition:

You might not be at risk of over styling your hair during postpartum (I wore my mom bun proudly), but it’s to avoid hair styling techniques that could damage your hair or aggravate hair loss after childbirth. This includes blow-drying, curling, and straightening your hair. Even brushing too hard can contribute to postpartum hair loss.

Your hair is particularly sensitive after you give birth, so be gentle. Avoid chemically based treatments such as highlights, straightening sessions, and perms, and don’t pull your hair into a tight ponytail (be gentle with your mom bun) until your shedding stops. Use scrunchies instead of elastic bands if you do need to tie up your hair.

Believe it or not, gentle stimulation to your scalp can promote hair growth. Ayurvedic hair massage is one free and easy method that you can do anytime to help with postpartum hair loss. Think: during breastfeeding or in the shower. I would recommend that you only do this with a natural hair oil, and not with essential oils. See #6 for my recommendations!

Hair oils have been used for ages to support healthy hair growth. You can either apply an oil directly to your scalp, or use an oil to make a hair mask. I would go with either coconut oil, castor oil, or flax seed oil.

If you’re not breastfeeding, you can also try rosemary or peppermint oil diluted in a carrier oil. Otherwise, if you’re breastfeeding, these are two oils you should avoid.

Exercise influences the health of your cells and your metabolism. Make sure you do gentle exercise as regularly as possible. Antenatal yoga classes or another form of gentle post-childbirth exercise, such as Pilates or aqua aerobics, are great options.

Easier said than done when you’re a new mom, but try your best to get sufficient rest while your baby is asleep. Stress can affect your body’s hormones and metabolism, leading to aggravated postpartum hair loss. Getting enough rest gives your body the opportunity to refresh, recharge, and repair itself, which can help you combat stress. 

If you need a helping hand, your doctor might prescribe medication based on your specific health needs. For example, you might benefit from thyroid medication or even hair loss medications that boost hair growth and limit further loss in extreme cases of hair loss.

Hair loss medication has a vasodilator effect that increases the blood flow to your follicles and the level of nutrients and oxygen. This reduces the chances of your hair falling out. But, don’t take this decision lightly and just ensure that whatever medication you take is safe for new mothers, especially if you’re breastfeeding. There are side effects to any medication and you should weigh the pros and cons.

As unsettling as postpartum hair loss can be, it’s not permanent. Use these tips to help relieve the condition while you wait for your body and your luscious locks to return to normal!

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Founder and Chief Mama Officer of The Gentle Nursery. Yasmine is the founder of The Gentle Nursery as well as the CEO of Biomeology, a prenatal wellness company. She is a wife, proud mom of two boys, a graduate of the University of Southern California, and a Functional Nutrition Coach. With a 10-year background in research, analytics, and leadership for a Fortune 100 company, Yasmine applies the same principles and attention to detail to every article she writes and researches.

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