Hows and Whys of Postpartum Hair Fall

Pregnancy often brings with it one wonderful side-effect -- gorgeous tresses! Courtesy all the changes your body is going through and the extra nourishment you’re likely to be getting as you watch your health, it isn’t surprising to find your hair growth is more luxuriant than usual. But with childbirth and the weeks that follow, comes another familiar pregnancy woe - postpartum hair loss.

This feature turns the spotlight on the issue and offers tips for dealing with postpartum hair loss.

What Causes Hair Loss after a Baby?

While it is often dubbed postpartum hair loss, pregnancy-linked hair fall isn’t hair loss in the true sense of the word. Dermatologists prefer to call it excessive hair shedding. It is brought on by the dip in oestrogen levels that your body experiences in the months after your baby is born. When you have a baby on board, your hormone levels are elevated, resulting in hair that grows quicker than it sheds. Once you deliver your baby, the hormone levels begin to return to normal pre-pregnancy levels and the shedding starts to outpace the growth for a window of a few months.

How Can I Prevent Hair Loss After Pregnancy?

If you’re wondering what vitamin is good for hair loss after pregnancy, the answer lies in not one vitamin, but many nutrients. For good hair health, eat a healthy, balanced diet rich in nutrients like:

  • Omega-3 fatty acids(found in fatty fish, omega-3 enriched eggs, walnuts, almonds)
  • Protein (from dals, beans, chicken, fish, eggs, soya, and dairy)
  • Vitamin B6 (found in spinach, bananas, sweet potatoes, potatoes), Vitamin B12(found in dairy, meat, chicken, fish), Folic acid(found in lentils, beans, tomatoes, citrus fruits, wholegrain foods)
  • Iron(found in meat, chicken, eggs, dried fruits, dried beans)
  • Vitamin A (found in liver, fish oil, milk, eggs)
  • Vitamin C(found in citrus fruits, guavas, capsicum, strawberries)
  • Vitamin E (found in sunflower seeds, avocados, almonds, spinach)
  • Zinc (found in chicken, meat, whole grain products, beans, nuts)
  • Biotin (found in eggs, sweet potatoes, salmon, avocados, nuts, seeds)
  • Calcium(found in dairy products like dahi, milk, cheese; green leafy vegetables, nuts, soya)

In addition, here are some tips to reduce that postpartum hair loss:

  • Use a gentle shampoo and don’t wash your hair too often.
  • Always use a wide-toothed comb and don’t brush your hair when it is wet(this is when it is most delicate)
  • Use conditioners formulated for fine hair.
  • Avoid chemical treatments like hair colouring or straightening.
  • Avoid excessive styling, the heat and chemicals can damage your hair further. If you must use a hairdryer, use the cool setting. Try and avoid using a hair iron or curling iron.
  • Try and avoid hairstyles that strain your hair

How Long Does Postpartum Hair Loss last?

The good news is that the increased shedding associated with postpartum hair loss is temporary and will settle in 3-4 months. You should see your hair return to its old levels of fullness within the year (often sooner).

if your hair loss is very severe, do consult a doctor to rule out any other causes for the hair loss. Remember, these other causes are usually treatable, so there is no reason to put off seeing the doctor if you are concerned.

Find solutions to common problems faced by other new mums and get expert views on the MamaXpert blog. Join a community of supportive women as you nurture a new life and discover the many hues of motherhood.