When it comes to the things new moms are happy about losing after giving birth, parting ways with that thick, luxurious pregnancy hair isn’t one of them. However, for 40 to 50% of women, telogen effluvium, or postpartum shedding, is a reality that occurs quite soon after leaving the hospital.
On a normal day, we shed about 100 strands of hair—not all at once, but periodically over the course of 24-hours. During pregnancy, on the other hand, as our hormone levels rise—specifically estrogen, this amount of shedding drastically decreases. And given the higher blood volume and circulation, your hair will appear much thicker and longer than normal.
However, once the baby is born, these hormone levels drop, and that dip happens very quickly. Causing the long, lustrous hair you’ve gotten used to over this past 9-months to suddenly begin falling out, and in chunks.
Now, this doesn’t mean there’s something wrong with you. Essentially, your hair follicles are making up for the lost time. This can, of course, be jarring, especially when coupled with the normal stress of being a new mom, but it doesn’t last forever.
Although postpartum shedding is inevitable, there are ways to help slow the rate in which it occurs. Here’s how:
Cut down on heat and focus on hair health.
Heat styling, in general, can be quite damaging, but even more so during this shedding process. So, go easy on your hair with low manipulation styling and very little heat to prevent any further damage. Try using a low setting, or letting your hair air dry every so often. This also goes for relaxers, and hair dyes. This may be the time to try going natural or cutting back on the frequency of these treatments.
It’s also important to focus on the overall health of your hair strands, by using nutrient-rich products like Jamaican Black Castor Oil, or the Strength + Shine Oil ($38) by HATCH, which was designed with postpartum moms in mind. There are also a number of postpartum shedding specific shampoos with biotin like the Hairtamin Shampoo + Conditioner ($40) or the Luseta Biotin B-Complex Thickening Shampoo and Conditioner ($32).
Have more well-balanced meals.
As if juggling being a new mom isn’t tough enough, maintaining a well-balanced diet can seem like a big ask, but in the case of postpartum shedding, it does play an integral role. Drinking tons of water, eating vegetables, whole grains and fresh fruit are great for decreasing hair loss and overall recovery. These items contain the vitamins and nutrients necessary for hair and bodily health.
Continue your prenatal vitamins.
Speaking of vitamins, continuing to take prenatal vitamins can be helpful in decreasing postpartum shedding. These are especially helpful if you’re unable to maintain a fully balanced diet on your own.
Along with your prenatals, incorporating these specific vitamins into your routine can be most beneficial, according to the American Pregnancy Association:
- Vitamin B complex and/or biotin (B7)
- Vitamin C
- Vitamin E
Try hair health supplements.
To help get to the root of the issue, it may be most helpful to begin taking supplements made specifically for hair health. These supplements often contain multiple vitamins and ingredients targeted specifically to hair growth and retention.
The brand Nutrafol is one of the best out at the moment, with it’s all-natural, physician-formulated products that help with hair growth, fullness, and overall health.