Hair loss after giving birth is quite common. The high levels of estrogen that kept your hair thick and luxurious throughout pregnancy suddenly take a nosedive, which triggers your body’s normal process of hair shedding.
What’s normal? An average woman sheds about 100 hairs per day. During pregnancy, your body holds onto all that hair, so it seems like you’re losing a lot when they begin to fall out after the baby is born. Relax. It’s the extra hair falling out—in addition to your daily shedding—as the body returns to its pre-pregnancy hair growth and shedding rates. The hair loss tapers off to its normal rate between 6-12 months after giving birth.
While this process is normal, it can seem scary. Here are a few natural remedies to lessen the blow.
Treat your hair gently
Let it flow loosely (no ponytails or tight hairdos). Excessive heat causes hair loss, so allow your locks to air dry after showers and limit your use of curling irons. Don’t color your hair until after the shedding stops.
Eat a well-balanced diet
After giving birth—and especially if you’re nursing—your body needs a good mix of nutrients to stay healthy. The antioxidants and flavonoids found in fruits and veggies promote hair growth. Nuts, seeds, eggs and fish (all good sources of omega-3 fatty acids) can help maintain a healthy scalp. Iron and protein-rich foods have been shown to counteract hair loss. Postpartum is not the time to try a fad diet in order to lose those pregnancy pounds. Instead regular, balanced meals of fruits, vegetables, whole grains and lean proteins will go a long way toward healthy hair.
Adopt stress-reduction techniques
Stress (especially from life-changing events such as childbirth) can play a major role in hair loss. Engage in stress reduction techniques such as meditation, exercise, nature walks, laughter yoga, pet therapy, a personal hobby or anything else that puts you in a Zen state of mind. Make it as much a priority to take care of yourself as well as your baby in those first few months after birth.
Give your hair products a makeover
Most commercial shampoos strip your hair of essential oils and include harsh, irritating sulfates. You might want to try the no-poo method (baking soda and vinegar) or switch to an Organic Shampoo Bar Soap followed by a diluted vinegar rinse (1/4 cup vinegar to 16 oz. water).
At night, try gently rubbing an essential oil mix into your scalp. Rosemary oil can help stimulate hair follicles and combines well in a carrier oil (particularly coconut oil or resehip seed) with lavender, clary sage and thyme.
Experiment with supplements
While there isn’t enough medical evidence to support it, some people have found certain supplements to be helpful in counteracting hair loss. These include prenatal vitamins omega-3 supplements (if you’re not getting enough in your diet), zinc, Biotin (a B vitamin associated with healthy hair) and Saw Palmetto. Always read warning labels and consult your physician before taking any supplements.
If your hair loss seems excessive and is accompanied by other symptoms, talk to your doctor about the possibility of a postpartum thyroid disorder.
Remember that postpartum hair loss is normal and temporary and nothing to be ashamed of.
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