This can cause some to feel insecure and unsure of how to return their hair to its former glory.
So, when hair health specialists at Harklinikken explained exactly why this happens and what new mums can do about it, you’d best believe my ears pricked up. Here’s what I learned.
Why does postpartum hair loss happen?
Postpartum hair loss is typically caused by hormonal changes.
“During pregnancy, oestrogen levels are much higher. This hormone keeps hair in its anagen, or growth, phase for longer, and fewer hairs reach the telogen phase, which is when shedding occurs,” the hair experts explain.
They add that “around three months after the baby is born, or after you stop
breastfeeding, the sudden hormone drop initiates the hair shedding that didn’t occur during pregnancy, and you can lose around four times as many hairs each day”.
In other words, your scalp is essentially hoarding your hair during your pregnancy – only to release the excess strands in one go after birth. Oh great.
Of course, “stress is another signiﬁcant factor”, say experts – and there’s plenty of that after the birth of a baby.
“From diﬃcult deliveries to sleep deprivation, a new baby can take its toll – and that stress can aﬀect your hair.”
What can I do about it?
First of all, you might not need to do anything. Postpartum hair loss should ease over time. The American Academy of Dermatology Association says that by their child’s first birthday, most women regain their normal hair growth.
But if you want to prevent and speed up the process, Harklinikken recommends taking the following steps:
1. Eat well
It might seem obvious, but your diet has a huge impact on your hair. So, say hair care experts, “eating foods rich in protein will ensure your hair stays strong and healthy”.
They recommend incorporating foods like chicken, beef, ﬁsh, green vegetables, eggs, walnuts, beans and sweet potatoes into your diet.
2. Stay hydrated
It feels like everyone is telling us to drink more water lately, but Harklinikken reckons the hyper-hydrated influencers of the world are onto something.
“When you don’t drink enough, your body will use the water you do drink for more important functions than your hair, causing it to become dry and brittle, and can slow or even stop hair growth,” they say.
3. Give the Trunchbull bun a rest
I have a fringe, a sweaty forehead, and more strays and flyaways than I know what to do with, so I understand the urge to slick your hair back in a tight bun.
However, experts advises against achieving that scraped-back chic look while you’re suffering from postpartum hair loss.
“Hairstyles that are too tight are strenuous on your hair and can increase hair loss, so be gentle when styling your hair and avoid putting in a tight ponytail,” they say.
4. Don’t skimp on the shampoo
Ah, finally – my usually inexcusable £10 shampoo habit has been justified. The hair care brand advises that a pricier product is sometimes worth the splurge, especially if it adds volume.
If you’re struggling with hair loss, you might want to give the heat stylers a break too, they say, as these “can cause breakage and further hair loss”.
5. Indulge your scalp
Need some ‘you’ time after birth? So does your scalp, apparently.
“A scalp massage can help stimulate blood ﬂow and encourage new hair growth,” say the hair health pros.
They suggest “apply(ing) ﬁrm but gentle pressure in circular motions when washing your hair, and brushing the scalp every night with a natural bristle brush” to “increase the blood circulation”.
Well, if they insist...
6. If you’re worried about long-standing hair loss, see a doctor
While postpartum hair loss is normal, it might be worth reaching out to your doctor if the symptoms continue. After all, there are many reasons why hair loss can occur.
“If the hair loss is severe, with hair coming out in clumps, or you’ve been losing hair for longer than six months, it might be a good idea to consult your doctor,” says Harklinikken.
If you’re panicking about regular postpartum hair loss, though, you can relax.
“Postpartum hair loss is very common,” says Harklinikken – so, eat and drink well, treat your scalp like a princess, and wait a little while. Your hair woes should end soon.