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How to cope with postpartum hair loss

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Coming to terms with hair loss after giving birth can be incredibly difficult for new mothers. The postpartum stage is a testing time already, but changes to your appearance can make it all the more challenging.

It’s important to understand that this is a common process, so you’re not alone. In this guide, we’ll delve into why new mothers often lose hair after birth, how you can deal with the emotional consequences and how you can manage it.

Understanding postpartum hair loss

Your body experiences many changes in hormone levels during and after pregnancy. This is usually the cause of postpartum hair loss, and it’s quite a common occurrence. It’s estimated that 50% of women suffer from hair loss after they give birth.

During pregnancy, oestrogen levels rise to support the baby’s development. This also tends to support natural hair growth, hence why a lot of mums-to-be experience fuller, shinier hair during pregnancy.

Once the baby is born, hormone levels return to a lower level leading to a higher rate of hair loss. This stage is known as the telogen stage, but it’s totally normal in the hair growth cycle. The increased growth over pregnancy is just met with an increased rate of shedding after.

Combined with the stress of having a new baby, breastfeeding and disrupted sleep patterns, hair loss is very much a common occurrence.

Coping with the emotional impacts

The emotional and psychological consequences of hair loss can be significant. Just as you’re dealing with the realities of being a new mother, changes to your appearance can undermine your self-esteem and take away some of your sense of control.

It’s important to open up about your experience to face and overcome the emotional turmoil of hair loss. Keeping your worries to yourself is likely to worsen your mental health and add to any sense of helplessness.

Don’t be afraid to talk to family, friends and other parents about postpartum hair loss – you’re likely to realise just how common it is. That might not be enough, so there are ways you can look after your hair and scalp to manage the process.

How to manage postpartum hair loss

Postpartum hair loss is likely to solve itself over time as your hormone levels begin to settle down again. But there are things you can do to speed up that process:

  • Focus on nutrition and hydration – Giving your body and scalp the right nutrients is so important to promote healthy hair growth. Eat plenty of fruit, vegetables, fibre and protein, and drink enough water. Supplements could also help to fill any gaps in your diet.
  • Find the right style – Just because you’re losing hair doesn’t mean you can’t find the right style for you. Avoid anything too straining or tight (such as buns) because this can pull out more hair. You can make thinner patches look fuller with hair-building fibres to give you more freedom with your styling. It’s usually best to avoid excessive heat for a while until your hair growth returns to normal.
  • Use nourishing products – Choosing the right shampoos, conditioners and hair products can make a big difference. Cheap options tend to have more harsh chemicals which can deplete hair even more, so it may be worth investing a bit more to benefit from premium alternatives.

Postpartum hair loss can be difficult to come to terms with. Remember that it’s more common than you may think, and it’s likely to resolve itself over time. In the interim, you can give yourself and your hair the best chance to thrive with the simple steps above.

Melissa Jane Lee

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