Most women notice changes in their hair during pregnancy, soon after they give birth and even up to a year after they give birth.
So, what’s going on?
It has a lot to do with hormones. When you are pregnant, your body produces more of the hormones that it needs to sustain baby’s life, specifically oestrogen. Oestrogen is responsible for transferring nutrients to baby and supporting its growth. It’s also responsible for dramatic changes to your hair.
To fully understand hair changes during and post pregnancy, we need to understand the hair growth cycle, a process that we explain fully in another post. In a nutshell, when you are pregnant, the extra oestrogen that you produce causes your hair to remain in a growth phase. This means that it doesn’t shed as normal – during pregnancy, hair that would normally fall (about 80 - 100 hairs per day), is retained, which results in thicker, more luxurious hair. You’ll often hear pregnant women saying ‘wow, this is the best hair of my life!’ - they are not imagining it! Some women also report changes in hair texture or type during pregnancy, such as from curly to straight or vice versa.
Once baby is born and oestrogen levels start to level off, the hair that didn’t fall during pregnancy begins to fall out. This can happen quite suddenly, often in clumps and can be quite distressing. Falling hair can be distressing, it’s everywhere – in your brush, in your bath, in your bed.
Hair loss postpartum is normal, and normal growth will return but it’s important to know that sometimes it takes this new growth some time to catch up which means that hair might feel thinner than normal. It’s important to look after yourself properly at this time because you are growing completely new hair which can only be as healthy as you are.
Postpartum is a time of change during which the body is under additional pressure from breastfeeding and caring for a small child. Adequate sleep - which can be hard to come by, hydration and nutrition are key for healthy hair regrowth and getting back to feeling like yourself again.