Hair Loss After Pregnancy

Aishwarya Nirmal Jan 23, 2019
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Hair loss in women is a common post-pregnancy aftereffect that can be prevented easily with proper care during and after this period. Provided here is some information about the same.
Pregnancy is a transition of a woman from a wife to a mother. There are numerous physical and mental changes that a woman may experience after this phase due to the many hormonal alterations occurring in the body during that period.
Though, not all the listed changes necessarily occur in every woman, the changes may vary depending on her body type and the care taken during and after maternity. Hair loss after childbirth is one such physical aftereffect that commonly occurs in around 75% women after child-birth.

Reasons

Normally, every woman loses around 30-100 hair strands everyday, either when one brushes or washes their hair. A pregnant woman loses very less hair compared to a normal woman due to the hormonal changes occurring in her body during this period.
In a normal woman, around 10% to 15% of the scalp hair are in the resting phase at every point of time. This phase is medically known as the telogen phase, which is the last phase of hair cycle growth. The hair in this phase fall off while brushing or washing.
The rest of the hair strands are in the growing phase and transitional phase. Growing phase, also known as the anagen phase, is the phase in which the hair are growing; this is the first phase of hair growth cycle. Around 80%-90% scalp hair are in this phase at any point of time.
Transitional phase, medically known as the catagen phase, is a phase when the hair is transiting from the growing phase to the resting phase; around 2%-3% scalp hair are in this phase at any point of time.
During pregnancy, the increased levels of the hormones, progesterone and estrogen in the body prevent hair from falling. The hair strands that are in the resting phase transit to a protected phase due to the hormones.
Scalp hair becomes thicker during the maternity period, in fact, it may become more thick than one's usual hair.
However, once the baby is delivered, the body metabolism starts stabilizing and the hormone levels return to normal. Therefore, the hair which was till now in the protected phase goes back to the resting phase and starts falling off. Usually, this stage of increased hair fall would remain from one month to six months after child-birth.
Though the condition may be severe, it does not cause visible baldness. Furthermore, new hair would start growing and the normal hair growth cycle will resume within a year. Also, post-pregnancy stress and nutrition loss due to breastfeeding can also be the reasons behind this condition.

Ways to Prevent It

  • Since hair are more prone to breakage after the maternity period, it is very important that one handles them with extra care while brushing and washing.
  • Use a wide-toothed comb to untangle hair, especially when it is wet.
  • Avoid using harmful chemicals on hair and use a hair fall prevention shampoo and conditioner. Herbal products will be more suitable.
  • Try not to tie up hair too tightly that could easily cause them to break or fall off. If tying a ponytail or braiding hair, take care to tie them loosely.
  • Eat a nutritious, high-protein diet. Foods rich in iron would prove beneficial for hair. Before that consult with the doctor about what to include in the diet, as one would not want any unnecessary problems while one is still breastfeeding the baby.
  • Avoid using heating appliances like dryers or hair irons on hair.
  • Light oil massages would be beneficial for hair.
  • Last but not the least, try a new shorter hair style if the condition is grave.
Some women experience this condition due to the birth control pills that are consumed until just before maternity. If one discontinues the medicine right before pregnancy, the hair fall that is observed thereafter, is mistakenly associated with it.
If one experiences normal or increased hair fall during maternity period and birth control pills are not the reason for it, consult the doctor regarding the problem. Mostly, it is not a serious issue and can be handled easily with efficient care. However, if it happens excessively and for a long duration, then also one must consult the concerned doctor.
Disclaimer: This is for informative purposes only, and should not be used as a replacement for expert medical advice.
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