Postpartum hair loss has happened to me. My third baby is now 13 weeks old and I’m currently deep in the trenches of it occurring for the third time. However this time I’m actively nourishing my body to help decrease the amount of hair I’m losing.
When Does Postpartum Hair Loss Occur
During pregnancy, you likely experienced a full head of hair. This is due to how pregnancy hormones affect the hair cycle along with your nutritional state from prenatal vitamins. However, once you are no longer pregnant changes occur.
It is estimated that at least 50% of women will experience some degree of postpartum hair loss. The medical term for this hair loss is telogen effluvium. The hair loss typically begins occurring around 10-16 weeks postpartum.
Why Do We Lose Hair Postpartum
The hair cycle
Each hair we grow, goes through a cycle. This cycle consists of a growth phase, a resting phase, and a falling out phase. Common postpartum hair loss is the result of many of our hairs entering the falling out phase around the same time.
During pregnancy, we have an increase in hormones. One of these hormones is estrogen. Estrogen directly affects the hair growth cycle. When our bodies have significant amounts of estrogen our hair is more likely to stay in its growth phase.
Approximately 24-72 hours after a woman gives birth there is a significant decrease of estrogen in her body. This promotes the hairs in the growing phase to enter the resting phase. Hairs typically stay in this resting phase for about three months. Then they begin to fall out and a new hair cycle begins.
What Else Contributes to Postpartum Hair Loss
A decrease in hormones is not the only factor causing postpartum hair loss. Anemia and thyroid issues can also play a role.
Low iron blood stores can cause excessive hair loss. Low iron blood stores can occur during pregnancy. Anemia can also occur from delivery. Once a woman gives birth her iron needs decrease. However, if a woman was anemic during pregnancy it could take time for her blood stores to build after she has the baby. Additionally, if a woman lost a significant amount of blood during delivery she may become anemic.
The thyroid hormone can also have an effect on hair loss. Either too much or too little hormone can result in side effects that affect hair. A simple blood test can diagnose thyroid issues. It is best to speak to your healthcare provider if you believe that you may have a thyroid problem.
Postpartum Hair Loss & Breastfeeding
Breastfeeding has not been shown to cause women to lose hair at excessive rates. There is no reason to stop breastfeeding when postpartum hair loss occurs.
This page may contain affiliate links. You can read the full disclosure policy here. If you purchase something through a link on this page I will receive a commission at no cost to you. Thank you for supporting this blog.
How to Decrease Postpartum Hair Loss
Consuming a healthy diet and supplementing with vitamins are two of the best ways to slow postpartum hair loss. It is also best to style your hair gently, avoiding tight braids and styles, during the postpartum period.
Diet for Postpartum Hair Loss
A proper diet can help decrease postpartum hair loss. Biotin along with vitamins A, C, D, E, and zinc have been shown to be beneficial.
Vitamins & Minerals
Biotin is considered part of the B vitamins. It typically is a good source of protein as well. Foods that are rich in biotin include eggs, seeds, and nuts.
Vitamin A plays a crucial role in cell growth. Hair cells included. Vitamin A also helps the body produce sebum. Which is an oily substance that keep the scalp moisturized. Foods high in Vitamin A include sweet potatoes, pumpkins, carrots, and kale.
Vitamin C contains antioxidants that help protect against stress. It also helps your body produce collagen. Lastly, vitamin C assists your body in absorbing iron. Iron is necessary for hair growth. Foods that are high in vitamin C include strawberries, citrus fruits, and peppers.
Vitamin D works to stimulate hair follicles. This stimulation assists with hair growth. Additionally, alopecia has been linked to low vitamin D levels. Our bodies process vitamin D with the help of rays from the sun. Supplements are your best source of vitamin D.
Vitamin E is an antioxidant like vitamin C. A small study was completed using tocotrienols from vitamin E. This study found positive hair growth in the group taking tocotrienols. Sunflower seeds, almonds, and spinach are all good sources of vitamin E.
Zinc also plays a role in hair growth and repair. However, too high of levels of zinc can be dangerous. Therefore, it is best to get zinc from your diet and not supplements, unless under the advice of your healthcare professional. Foods that provide a good source of zinc include pumpkin seeds, spinach, and lentils.
For many years it was suggested that women continue to take their prenatal vitamins for as long as they are breastfeeding. However, you may now find advice that women switch to a postnatal vitamin during the postpartum period. Postnatal vitamins, such as these or these, typically include higher doses of Vitamin D3, Vitamin B6, and Vitamin B12. This increase in vitamins works to keep mom and baby healthy. These vitamins may also help slow postpartum hair loss.
Some women believe that including a biotin gummy supplement into their routine significantly helped with hair loss. However, some women do report side effects. This gummy and this one are consistently reported as favorites. However, it is best to consult your healthcare provider before beginning a supplement.
Taking Care of Yourself
The postpartum period is one of the best times while also being one of the toughest times. During the postpartum period, it is important to take good care of yourself. Taking care of yourself will help to reduce your postpartum hair loss. Good nutrition is important, as you read about in this post. But you need to take care of your whole self. It can be tough but you should also pay attention to what you are putting on your body.
Did you lose hair during the postpartum period? Do you have any great tips or tricks to share to help make the hair loss easier? Leave a comment and let me know.
Till next time…