Most women expect certain physical changes to occur after they give
birth, but postpartum alopecia, or losing hair after pregnancy, is not
Even if you are fortunate enough to escape postpartum depression, you still may be dealing with stretch marks, excess skin, hormone changes, and exhaustion during the postpartum period. Many women are somewhat prepared for those changes, but hair loss after giving birth? It is more common than most women realize.
According to the American Pregnancy Association, 40% to 50% of women will experience hair loss up to five months after giving birth.
Alopecia is the formal term for hair loss. With postpartum alopecia, the hair loss that results is typically gradual and occurs all over the head as more of a thinning effect. In some cases, however, alopecia can occur in the formation of bald spots on the head.
The cause behind this condition is hormone-based, as are many other physical and emotional occurrences during the postpartum period. During pregnancy, high levels of hormones prevent a woman’s hair from shedding as often as it naturally would and encourages more hair growth, which results in fuller, more lustrous hair.
Shortly after you have given birth to your baby, your hormone levels plummet, which then signals the hair to resume the process of shedding.
Unfortunately, this can occur faster than it naturally would, resulting
in drastic thinning and stringiness. It can also occur in patches or
A bit of hair loss is a natural occurrence when you have recently given birth, however when dramatic hair loss results, it can have a serious effect on your self-confidence and quality of life. Every time you take a shower, look in the mirror, or brush or style your hair, you are reminded of the fact that your hair is losing luster and fullness. It might look stringy, dull, or greasy no matter what you do to perk it up.
Even if you didn’t exercise vigilance in caring for your hair before pregnancy, the sudden loss and degrading value of your previously more radiant locks could lead to feelings of helplessness, self-consciousness, and a loss of your former self. These negative feelings can be exacerbated by fluctuating hormone levels, which in turn can develop into full-blown postpartum depression.
In addition, this natural form of hair loss can be exacerbated if you are already suffering from postpartum depression. Postpartum alopecia is largely caused by hormone level fluctuations; however hair loss has also been known to worsen during times of high stress. Any parent knows just how stressful the first year of baby’s life can be. During this time where anxiety, worry, and insecurity are rampant, the chances of developing postpartum depression is increased.
If you are already suffering from postpartum depression, the additional
stress caused by your condition can increase hair loss from a subtle
occurrence to a severe affliction.
Postpartum alopecia usually resolves itself around six months after the baby is born, but can sometimes last longer. If hair loss is worsened by postpartum depression, then you should pursue a treatment for your postnatal depression first and foremost, which will likely also improve the condition of your hair.
Many women find that wearing a shorter hairstyle during the postpartum months is a fairly effective way to mask the fact that the hair has thinned. By the time your hair starts to grow long again, the condition of your hair should have resumed its pre-pregnancy state.
If you don’t want to adopt a shorter hair style, there is always the option of using a volumizing shampoo and conditioner on a regular basis, as well as taking supplements for hair loss.
Do you have a question about postpartum alopecia? Or perhaps you have some wisdom to give to other moms about hair loss after pregnancy. Please contribute here!
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