Pregnancy and Hair Loss

Pregnancy brings several changes in the body, hair loss being one of them. Although it is not unusual to witness excessive hair loss after delivery, many women become worried when it occurs during pregnancy.

Is hair loss a sign of pregnancy?

Hair loss is not considered an early symptom of pregnancy even though it has been observed in some women.

What causes hair loss during pregnancy?

Losing more hair than usual while you are pregnant could be linked to vitamin or mineral deficiency. Some of the possible causes may include:

•             An underactive thyroid that interferes with the normal growth of hair

•             Anemia caused by iron deficiency due to diversion of iron to the fetus from the mother

•             Iodine or protein deficiency

Postpartum hair loss

Some amount of hair is lost every day in the normal cycle of hair growth. During pregnancy, there is an increase in the level of estrogen that prevents the hair from falling out until delivery.

Your hair will look thicker and fuller when you enter the second trimester of pregnancy. However, within 3 to 6 months after giving birth, when you stop breastfeeding, the hairs that were not shed during pregnancy begin to fall due to a drop in the estrogen levels.

How long does hair loss last after pregnancy?

In most cases, it takes around 6 to 12 months for the hair loss to cease with your hair gradually growing as thick and healthy as it was before pregnancy.

How to prevent hair from falling out after pregnancy?

Since it takes time for the hormones to return to the normal levels, stopping hair loss completely after pregnancy would be a bit difficult. Although there is no particular treatment for postpartum hair loss, you can take the following measures to avoid serious hair damage.

•             Follow a healthy, nutritious diet comprising of fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains, and seeds.

•             Continue taking prenatal vitamin supplements after consulting your physician.

•             Massage your scalp and hair with a half cup of warm olive or vegetable oil and soak under a shower cap for 30 minutes to reduce dryness. You can also add rose or lavender essential oil to this home remedy for better results.

•             Use a mild shampoo and conditioner while bathing.

•             Use a wide-toothed comb to detangle your hair.

•             Do not over-brush your hair as it might lead to more damage.

•             Avoid blow-drying, ironing, or curling your hair for few months.

•             Hold back your hair loosely using barrettes instead of rubber bands to avoid breaking.

•             Avoid the use of chemical dyes as they make the hair rough and dry.

•             Carry out some relaxation techniques to avoid unnecessary stress.

When to call the doctor?

Extreme loss of hair after pregnancy might indicate postpartum thyroiditis, a condition marked by a swollen thyroid gland. Affected women should consult a physician to undergo immediate treatment.


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