Why is my hair falling out?
At least 90% of new mums experience hair loss. It’s normal, and common. Here we look at why.
During pregnancy, the hormones oestrogen and progesterone, which are responsible for keeping your pregnancy healthy, rise to high levels. These high levels stimulate more new hair growth, while reducing the normal amount of hair loss.
The result? More hair growing, and less falling out. So women often report having thick, luscious hair during pregnancy.
After your baby is born, the levels of oestrogen and progesterone fall, and the growth of new hair slows down to a normal level. Coupled with the rate of hair falling out returning to normal levels, those thick luscious locks of pregnancy start to shed.
Because this process happens over a short time-frame, it can feel like an excessive amount of hair loss.
90% of women will suffer from hair loss after having their baby
Hair loss tends to start within three months of giving birth, and will last for a few months.
You can expect that your hair loss to have stopped, or at least slowed down, six months after the birth. Within 6-15 months of delivery your hair cycle will be back to normal.
“Post-delivery telogen effluvium, that is shedding of resting hair, although physically normal can be distressing for women. Most women are back to pre-pregnancy hair shedding amounts within 6-12 months after delivery of their baby”Dr Cassandra McDonald, MBChB, dermatology specialist
When is it not normal hair loss?
Hair loss after giving birth tends to look like generalised hair thinning (and seeing a lot of it in the shower / your hairbrush / baby’s fist!). It shouldn’t look like bald patches on your scalp. Seek advice from your GP if this is happening, or if your hair loss is accompanied by other symptoms such as feeling cold, weight gain, dry skin and tiredness.
Is there anything I can do?
To reduce postpartum hair loss, there are a few things you can try to encourage new hair growth, or help make it less noticeable.
- A healthy diet will help. Dark, leafy greens, berries and protein-rich foods can stimulate hair growth
- Head massage can stimulate hair growth
- Thickening shampoos and conditioners could be tried as part of your usual hair care routine.
- Your hairdresser may be able to recommend a trim, change in colour or offer styling advice to help.