Being a new mom is one of the toughest jobs in the world. On top of the sleepless nights and constant caretaking, new mothers also face a flurry of (sometimes unanticipated) physical side effects accompanying pregnancy and childbirth. Postpartum alopecia, the official term for losing hair after giving birth, is one of them, affecting up to 90 percent of women after childbirth. As if dealing with the stretch marks and the exhaustion wasn’t enough!
While hair loss might seem like somewhat of a strange side effect of childbirth, there’s a good scientific reason as to why it occurs.
During pregnancy, you may notice that your hair seems fuller than usual. That’s because your body is producing higher levels of estrogen, which prevent the usual rates of hair loss. Typically, people lose between 80-100 hairs every day — we just don’t notice it, because they fall out throughout the day and not all at once. Once the baby is born and those hormone levels drop back down to normal, so does the body’s capacity to keep all that hair looking voluminous and luscious. As a result, new moms can sometimes shed up to 400 hairs per day. Some women report having thick clumps of hair falling out at a time.
Understandably, that can be a little alarming, but don’t worry: postpartum hair loss isn’t permanent, and it doesn’t mean you’re going bald. It usually only lasts between 4-5 months. However, it’s also understandable to want to find a healthy, natural solution to combating that hair loss within those few months that it does occur. From natural hair restoration to increasing your vitamin supplement dosage, here are a few ways for managing postpartum hair loss.
Eat a healthy diet with lots of vitamins and minerals.
Staying well-nourished not only gives your body what it needs to stay healthy and strong, but your hair, too. Ensuring you get full servings of fruits, vegetables, and healthy proteins every day can help fortify hair and diminish the signs of postpartum hair loss.
Some foods that are known to improve hair health are dark leafy greens, eggs, fish, and sweet potatoes and carrots.
Be mindful of how you tie your hair back.
With a new baby to take care of, moms with longer hair typically will want to tie their hair back and out of their face. Sounds fair enough, but this could actually be contributing to postpartum hair loss. Skip the rubber bands and hair ties —hair more easily gets caught in them. Instead, try a headband, scrunchies, or barrettes to keep hair from falling into your face. Also, try braiding or putting your hair in a loose ponytail, with an emphasis on loose. Making a ponytail or bun that’s too tight also increases the chances of losing more hair.
Even after you’ve given birth, you can continue taking prenatal supplements to help deliver vital nutrients to your body and your hair. You can also take supplements specifically designed for managing postpartum hair loss, like Viviscal Professional. This blend of 100% natural ingredients is backed with 25 years of research and provides nutrients directly to hair follicles, extending the hair growth cycle and supporting the growth of existing hair.
Viviscal Professional’s main active ingredient is AminoMar Marine Complex, a marine-based protein that’s known to promote thicker, fuller hair. It also contains nutrients like biotin, apple extract, and vitamin C, all of which contribute to healthy hair growth.
Consider non-surgical hair restoration options.
While you may not want to commit to surgical hair restoration for temporary hair loss, opting for non-surgical restoration is a great way to get back to looking and feeling your best while your hormones adjust. Micropigmentation is a solution for those who aren’t ready for surgery but want to thicken the appearance of their hair.
Micropigmentation involves non-permanently tattooing areas on the scalp to minimize the appearance of thinning hair. Placing pigment between the existing hair decreases the contrast between the hair and scalp, giving a fuller and denser appearance. By using different distributions, depths and shades, we’re able to position each dot in a way that fills in the scalp and replicates the appearance of hair follicles. Better yet, it’s a fast and painless treatment: patients are usually back to their usual business the next day.
Another non-surgical hair restoration option is low-level light therapy, also sometimes known as red light therapy or cold laser therapy. It works by emitting photons into the scalp tissue, which triggers cells to stimulate hair growth. Low-dose laser treatments stimulate circulation, which enables hair follicles to grow faster.
Turn down the heat.
Hair dryers, curling irons, and straighteners might make hair look great temporarily, but they can actually do more harm than good in the long run. Applying direct heat to your hair can cause the appearance of brittle strands and even contribute to hair loss. Additionally, try to avoid using chemical treatments, like highlights and perms, in the first six months after giving birth.
Talk to your doctor if the hair loss is truly excessive.
If the shedding continues after five or six months, talk to a doctor. It’s possible that there are other underlying health issues at play, such as postpartum thyroiditis.
Consider a hair transplant.
Hair loss, even though it’s completely natural, can trigger anxiety in many people. This kind of stress can be even more challenging when coupled with the stress of taking care of a newborn. If your hair isn’t growing back normally after six months, it’s possible that a hair transplant may be the best option for you.
Follicular Unit Transplants (FUTs) are one kind of surgical hair restoration procedure. They involve implanting a strip of tissue from the back of the head into spots where hair is thinning. This allows for healthy hair follicles to produce hair on areas where the hair isn’t as thick. FUTs will leave a minor, linear scar on the back of the head, but the procedure is minimally invasive and isn’t painful.
Another option is undergoing a Follicular Unit Extraction, in which individual grafts are extracted and placed into recipient sites, where the natural elasticity of the scalp pulls them into place. This procedure allows for reduced scarring and is a great option for patients who’d like to maintain more hair styling options in the future.
Having a child is truly a gift, and we believe that you deserve to look and feel your best after childbirth! If you’re experiencing postpartum hair loss and want to learn more about the solutions available to you, get in touch and we will be more than happy to walk you through your options.