After 9 months of lusciously thick hair, most women experience some degree of hair loss after birth. The timing and extent of hair loss varies from woman to woman. Hair loss can peak anytime within the first year after birth.
Why does it happen?
In the medical world, postpartum hair loss is not regarded as official “hair loss” but rather “hair shedding”. Every woman loses several strands of hair each day but during pregnancy, high levels of the hormones estrogen and progesterone prevent your hair from falling out at its usual rate.
After birth, every woman experiences a drop in the hormones estrogen and progesterone. This hormonal shift signals to your body to shed more hair. If you exclusively breastfeed, your prolactin levels remain high and it might delay hair loss until you wean your baby. Or until you supplement with formula or solids.
Postpartum hair loss peaks around 4 months after birth for most women, but it can occur at any time within the first year.
What can you do?
Whether you breast, bottle feed or do a mixture of both – you can still prevent severe hair loss by ensuring you receive nutrients you need most after birth. B vitamins, iron and iodine are particularly important for hormonal balance and thyroid health which in turn affects many areas of our health including our energy levels and hair health.
Consider supplements such as desiccated liver and spirulina in your postpartum period. These nutrient-dense foods have a lot of the nutrients women need most after birth. Ensuring you’re getting what you need helps hormonal balance and in turn, prevents extreme hair loss. JS Health Hair + Energy is a reputable supplement a lot of women swear by. Superfood blends such as HQ Health Post Birth Vitality and Re-energize are also wonderful to help restore hormonal balance.
At the very least, continue to take a high-quality prenatal multivitamin for at least 6 months after birth. Or until you stop breastfeeding.
Some brands like Naturelo and Ritual have created postnatal multivitamins. They have adjusted formulations specific to the needs of a woman after pregnancy, such as less folate, more iron and more iodine.
Please consult your health practitioner before taking any supplements.
Still experiencing hair loss one year after baby?
If you’re still experiencing an abnormal amount of hair loss one year after your baby was born, it could be a sign of postpartum thyroiditis.
The symptoms of postpartum thyroiditis are often mistaken for the stress of having a newborn and postpartum recovery. Fatigue, insomnia, inability to lose weight, anxiety and/or depression are some of the symptoms. No-one knows the exact cause of thyroiditis but it is thought to be an underlying thyroid condition that surfaces after pregnancy and childbirth. The good news is, postpartum thyroiditis can go away. 4 out of 5 women will have normal thyroid function again, usually 18-24 months after diagnosis.
What can you do?
See your health practitioner and ask for a blood test to check your thyroid function levels. Taking care of yourself in the postpartum period can also help prevent postpartum thyroiditis. Focus on nutrient-dense whole foods instead of processed foods; sleep and rest as much as possible; and consider supplements that help restore hormonal balance.