Postpartum Hair Loss

Wednesday, 8 January 2014

I wasn't sure whether to write and publish this or not, it's not the usual type of post from me but I do feel it's important to me and it could help others who are expectant or new mums.

After having a baby, your body goes through so many changes. After being pregnant for 9 months and your body getting adjusted to all the new hormones, you give birth and suddenly everything starts changing again, just after you've finally gotten used to it!

I knew there were quite a lot of changes I was going to experience; I'd experienced them whilst being pregnant so I knew they had to go back at some point - my skin changed from it's normal/combination status to extremely dry in the early months and then glowing and healthy in the later months. Obviously your figure alters drastically and you get cravings and in the later months (if you didn't already) a huge appetite.

Although I didn't really notice it at the time, whilst pregnant my hair was falling out a lot less than normal and it was growing faster and becoming thicker too. After birth, I didn't immediately experience any hair loss, it only started for me at about 3.5 months and wow, did it come out thick and fast. I didn't really think too much of it until one day I pulled my hair back to do my makeup and spotted two bald patches at my temples. I was obviously upset and although I knew it was going to be hormone/postpartum changes I never expected it to be so drastic.

The reason it happens is that your hair normally goes through two phases; growing and resting. Most of your hair is in a growing phase whilst 10-15% is in a resting phase. When it ends the resting phase, that's when your hair falls out. The difference is when you're pregnant the hormone changes trigger many more of your hair follicles to enter the growing phase resulting in having lovely, thick and healthy locks.
After giving birth, the hormones return to normal and your hair now has a lot of catching up to do and a lot of the hair that was in the growing phase now enters the resting phase and begins to shed leading you to finding a lot more hair coming out when styling or washing.

I'm not kidding when I say that my hair now comes out in thick strands when I'm shampooing it, then when I'm towel drying it, brushing it and styling it. My hairbrush is full of hair within a couple of days rather than about a month (is it gross I only empty my brush when it's completely full?) of brushing it and I'm finding hairs shedding all over my clothes. It doesn't help having a curious 5 month old who loves to tug on mummy's hair either! He ends up with handfuls of it and more of it ends up floating around the house.
I'm not entirely sure why the loss is so noticeable at the temples; perhaps because the hair there can be quite fine and wispy anyway because I haven't been able to notice any other bald patches on my head.

Unfortunately, there's very little that can be done to avoid the hair loss, it will happen whether or not you breastfeed and as it's hormonal you pretty much have to go through it. I have really thick hair anyway and so I'm not sure if you lose more/less hair depending on how thick it is or if it makes it more noticeable depending on your hair type.

You can help manage it in a couple of ways though and fortunately, it won't last forever. By the time your baby is celebrating their first birthday you should be back to normal. If you have hair that can be styled easily, you could always try going for a fringe to hide the bald spots at the temples and then you can wear your hair back without worrying people will notice. This isn't an option for me due to having curly hair so I find that as long as I wear it down, you can't tell. I also got a couple of inches lopped off to help make my hair a bit lighter and it seems to have reduced the strain on my hair too.

I hope that this is helpful to anyone going through the same thing as me, you are not alone! And also if you're an expectant mum or haven't yet reached the 3/4 month mark then to give you an idea of what to expect and not feel too shocked or worried - it's completely normal and it will stop and is just one more thing for your body to adapt to and let's face it, that cute little face looking at you is totally worth it.
UPDATE: I posted this 4/5 months PP - Now we're 7 months along and at about 6 months PP, I noticed my hair had started coming back in little tufts. My hair has now returned to it's normal rate of shedding and the bald patches are a lot less noticeable. 

1 comment:

  1. Thank you for this post and for your update...I'm currently 4 months PP and have been shedding tons of hair since a little after 3 months PP. I'm hoping, like you, my hair will start to grow back soon! I'm so sick of finding hair everywhere!!!!


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