My postpartum hair loss was unexpected and unacceptable. It didn’t just fall out. My hair left a trail behind me as I walked and bounced the baby. It carpeted my bathroom floor and shower walls. I had so much hair loss, I could’ve knitted an heirloom afghan with my fallen locks!
When I had my first perfect child, my postpartum expectations were completely reasonable and acceptable. I’d read all the books, after all. Twice.
Here are my (reasonable and acceptable) expectations for after my little cherub was born:
Here’s what really happened:
Postpartum hair loss begins with being pregnant. Obviously. *smile*
As soon as that little pumpkin sprouts, your hormones go WHACK! Pregnancy promotes rising tides of human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG), estrogen, progesterone, oxytocin (the hormone that got you into this predicament) and prolactin. Combine that with an average 50% increase in blood volume, and you have the perfect balance of crazy to create a head of gorgeous, thick hair!
During our normal lives, we lose an average of 100 hairs per day. During pregnancy, all that crazy hormone business keeps your hair from falling out for nine glorious months. However, when your little biscuit is done and you’re holding the perfect little beauty in your arms. Filled with love, contentment and joy, you know beyond a shadow of a doubt, this moment will last forever.
Sorry, Sunshine. That particular moment may last forever, but your hair growing hormones are leaving the building. Everything is going back to normal. Which includes hair. But, don’t worry! It’s going to be ok. Your hair is only shedding what it didn’t shed while you were pregnant. Unfortunately, nine months of no shedding begins shedding at the same time. (again, sorry.)
Here’s a little postpartum perk: If you’re breastfeeding, your hair will hang on a bit longer, until you stop nursing. Then, you’ll start shedding. That’s why a lot of women freak out a year or so down the line, because they don’t make the connection between discontinuing lactation and postpartum hair loss.
While your postpartum hair loss begins with a bang, it normally tops out around 4-6 months. Then, you’ll see less hair fall and more growth. If you experience handfuls of hair loss after your sweet little dumpling turns one year, check with your doctor. (Note: or one year after you wean your little butterball.) There may be something else at play, and you want to visit your doctor to make sure there are no other issues. Mama needs to stay healthy!
Here are a few ways to help decrease postpartum hair loss.
Put away the blow dryer, curling wand, hot sticks and flat iron. These tools overstress even the healthiest of hair, and will wreak havoc on your precious, recovering and shocked postpartum locks. Think of it as a few months of quiet meditation. Your hair will say “Aaahhhh…”
This is not the time to go on a crash diet! If you do, not only will you lose weight (the wrong way), it will suck the life out of you and you will lose even more hair! Don’t freak out about the extra pounds left over from giving birth. Come ON! You just grew a human being inside your body!
Now is the time to eat a balanced diet. Make sure to eat healthy, lean protein, lots of fruits and veggies, and decrease sugars. If you’re nursing, eat a little extra because you’re still feeding two!
A high-quality multivitamin is a must have for postpartum gals. Consider taking your prenatal vitamins for the first six months. Check with your doctor first, please! These will fill in the gaps of nutrients not supplied to your body by food and drink. However, vitamins are in no way a substitute for healthy food sources!
Be encouraged, my dear friend. Postpartum shedding is normal and will stop when it’s caught up with the last nine months of not shedding. Take care. Relax. And, enjoy every little moment with your little monkey. They pass far too quickly!
Comments will be approved before showing up.