You might not have heard, but the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge have just welcomed a baby born named George into the world. As mother and father proudly stood on the steps of the hospital and introduced their new son to the waiting press and well-wishers, it was clear to all that the three of them were gloriously happy and doing very well indeed.
Of course, the rumour mill was already beginning to churn about Kate's post-baby weight loss regime before George had even made his appearance, which rather understandable received some backlash. Predicting the Duchess's diet seems fairly pointless on the basis that unless Kate unexpectedly does a post-baby fitness DVD, it will probably remain under wraps. That said, there are certain post-baby issues that are far more interesting to discuss on the basis that the vast majority of mothers, royal or otherwise, will find themselves in the same boat.
Post-partum hair loss is one such issue, and noticeable shedding is more likely than not something that new mothers will have to contend with. But why is this? When women are pregnant, increased levels of the hormone oestrogen causes hairs to stay in the angagen (growth) stage for a longer period of time than is usual, resulting in more hairs remaining on the head. On average, we lose 100 hairs a day, but for pregnant women it can be half that amount, or even less. However, once the woman gives birth, oestrogen levels drop back down to normal, and hair loss occurs as the hairs in the anagen stage enter the telogen (resting) stage and shed.
The extent of post-partum hair varies from woman to woman, and is impossible to predict. In general the loss is diffuse, but it can sometimes be patchy. It can also be extensive, on account of hair follicles in the anagen stage making up around 80-90% of human scalp hair. However, despite this, post-partum hair loss is best seen as just one way that the body returns to normal after a pregnancy.
With this in mind, it stands that hair density should return to whatever is normal for you within around 6-12 months. However, if the hair loss is still occurring by your child's first birthday, it's best to visit a hair loss specialist. Because women's hair loss can be triggered by a variety of issues, from hormonal and nutritional balance to stress, it's best to have blood tests to rule out certain causes, too.
The type of hair loss known as diffuse thinning can be the result of the above causes, and once the underlying issue is dealt with, hair should return to its previous condition in the following months. Sometimes, though, hair fails to fully grow back, and this may be due to a genetic predisposition towards thinning.
Known as female pattern hair loss, this usually appears in women as an all-over thinning of hair atop the scalp. Whilst this often onsets after the menopause due to hormonal changes, an event like pregnancy can also potentially trigger its onset for the same reasons. This type of hair loss will not fix itself, and a hair loss treatment plan that contains minoxidil offers the best chance of regrowing the thinning area.