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by NIKKI POPE, February 01, 2021
Apart from the stresses of child-rearing, another thing that concerns many new mothers is postpartum hair loss. While it may be alarming to see hundreds of locks dissipating forever, it’s not a permanent condition. To ease your mind, make sure to read up on these details about postpartum hair loss:
As the name suggests, this temporary hair loss condition occurs after childbirth - 2 to 6 months after the big event, to be exact.
After childbirth, the hormones that have helped maintain the pregnancy begin to return to its normal levels. Unfortunately, these hormones are the ones who promote hair health in the first place. Thanks to estrogen, a driver of hair growth, pregnant women grow oh-so-thick and lustrous.
But now that there’s no baby to nurture, estrogen levels have no choice but to return to normal. As such, the body resumes with its normal hair loss process.
The phenomenon most mothers know as postpartum hair loss is what the scientific community calls telogen effluvium. As mentioned, this is triggered by the hormonal changes associated with childbirth. Although this is the case, telogen effluvium could also occur following a major event, such as menopause (another hormonal event), psychological stress, surgery, and extreme weight loss, to name a few.
In telogen effluvium, the hairs are pushed to enter the resting phase (telogen). This is the period where your locks stop growing - while the others start shedding. As this phase lasts for about 2 to 4 months, this explains why postpartum hair loss usually occurs 2 to 6 months after childbirth. It can affect roughly 30% of your mane, which would result in a hair loss of about 300 strands compared to the usual that is about 100.
Recovery time varies according to the individual. It could last for about 3 months but could go for as long as half a year. After this, you could expect your hair to resume its normal growth cycle. Sadly though, there's a chance that it won't go back to its pre-pregnancy look or quality.
No. However, pregnancy can end up triggering a type of condition such as female-pattern baldness. This is manifested by hair thinning at the front and top of the scalp. Unfortunately, this could get more pronounced with each pregnancy.
As this is a natural process, you can’t prevent it from happening. You can, however, take control of how it affects you. Here are some ways on how you can better deal with postpartum hair loss:
As a breastfeeding mother, you need to add another 450 to 500 kcal to meet your growing energy needs. As you do so, make sure to add some more of these sources to your diet:
Your hair is made up of keratin, a type of protein that gives your hair strength and structure. Expectedly so, protein-rich fares supply your hair with the components it needs to synthesize more keratin. Good sources include lean meat, eggs, tofu, nuts, seeds, beans, and lentils.
Iron is a mineral necessary for the production of hemoglobin. This carries oxygen to the scalp and the rest of the body, providing the cells and tissues with the nutrients they need. To supply your hair cells with the substances they need for growth, you need to consume a diet rich in lentils, beans, spinach, tofu, and cashews, to name a few.
Biotin is a B Vitamin that may help improve hair quality, volume, and shine. To get the 35 mcg/day RDA for breastfeeding women, make sure to eat lean meat, eggs, nuts, and seeds.
If you want your hair to appear fuller, then you need to use hair products that give it more bounce. For example, you could apply a leave-in moisturizer or conditioner after shampooing. You could also use a volumizing mousse for that added pouf.
Since your hair is thinning, you need to try a new hairstyle that provides more ‘volume’. The simplest way to go is to change the way you part your hair. Instead of doing the usual middle, part it at the side. This will conceal the thinning in the temple area.
You may be losing hair, but a new haircut can make you look like you have more! According to celebrity stylists, certain styles give an illusion of fuller hair. For one, you can try long bangs that can frame your face. Another good option is short snips in the middle and longer locks on the side.
While you’re at it, you could also try to color your hair. You can highlight the front to take attention away from your receding hairline. But as you do so, make sure to avoid those containing harmful ingredients such as ammonia, peroxide, diaminobenzene, and resorcinol, to name a few. Remember, you are breastfeeding and you don’t want these chemicals to reach your baby. As such, make use of better organic alternatives such as henna or coffee.
If you and your baby are going to the doctor for a routine checkup, you could go and inquire about some tests. Monitoring your iron, zinc, ferritin, and Vitamin D levels can help, since low levels of these are usually associated with hair loss. Should these manifest, your physician is sure to prescribe your supplements or therapies that can help normalize these markers.
Postpartum hair loss is a normal occurrence for many women. While alarming, this condition called telogen effluvium will resolve in a matter of months. For the time being, the best way to cope up with the hair loss is to eat well, change your hairstyle, and stress less.
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