It almost seems like a cruel joke, women notice that their hair looks shinier and thicker during pregnancy, but three to six months after giving birth, they may find themselves struggling with hair loss.
Why hair loss can happen
As we have discussed before, a hair follicle may produce a new hair every three to four months and then rest. During the rest period, ‘old hair’ falls out and makes room for the new hair to grow. However, the hair follicle rest periods are drastically reduced during pregnancy because of the abundance of hormones. After the estrogen levels are reduced again after giving birth, the hair follicle rest mode is going to work harder than before to return to normal.
This means that between 5 and 10 percent of hair needs to return to rest mode, which is natural. While this may be natural, it may seem as though you are losing more hair because the resting state was dramatically reduced during pregnancy. So in short, the woman is not going bald; it is simply the hair growth coming back to normal. According to the American Pregnancy Association, this hair loss will affect approximately 50% of women.
The hair lost after pregnancy will eventually grow back. However, it is possible to enhance hair regrowth by maintaining adequate nutrition or supplementation. Most women lose a great deal of nutrients through breastfeeding. The normal regrowth rate for most women (approximately 1/2 inch per month) should be back to normal between six and twelve months after the woman delivers her baby.
Enhancing hair regrowth
While avoiding hair loss after giving birth entirely may be impossible, there are ways to ensure that hair loss is reduced. It is important to be gentle with the hair while it is fragile; this means no flat irons, curling irons, or blow dryers because these provide excessive heat that may damage the hair.
As previously mentioned, it is important to provide a proper hormone balance. This means a well-balanced diet that contains antioxidants and flavonoids. In addition, in order to help stimulate regrowth and reduce hair loss, it may be a good idea to consider supplementing with minerals or vitamins.