Having a baby can be a difficult time for women for a multitude of reasons and not least for the affect it has on your body. But what many women don’t expect is the affect it can have on their hair, too.
During pregnancy, everything tends to be great hair wise, with a lot of women enjoying thicker, more lustrous locks. It’s after giving birth that things can then begin to decline. Hair coming out in clumps, noticing considerable thinning, maybe even bald spots. This is what’s known as postpartum hair loss. The question is, why does this happen?
As with most of the things you’re likely experiencing, your hormones are once again to blame. Your hair goes through different stages during its lifetime. Whilst you’re pregnant, the increase in your oestrogen levels prolongs the growth stage of your hair cycle. This stimulates hair growth, giving you fuller hair. After giving birth, your hormones return back to normal and your hair then goes into the resting stage. It’s at this point that you then begin to lose all of the hair you should have naturally lost during your pregnancy. This hair loss could be subtle and happen over time, but for many it can happen quickly and all at once. For most, this happens three to six months after childbirth, but it could happen at any point in the twelve months after you’ve welcomed your baby. Whether you’re expecting it or not, it’s a scary thing to deal with but don’t panic! It’s normal for these changes to happen, and perhaps most importantly, it’s temporary.
We spoke with four influencers who are mothers, to hear their hair stories and learn about the changes they each experienced. Yasmin is mother to Tallulah and is expecting baby number two this December. Christina is first time mum to nine-month old Olivia. Chloe has three year old Lola to keep up with, and Samantha is mother to thirteen year old Lily. All four experienced different things with their hair both during and after their pregnancies.
Did your hair change whilst pregnant? If so, how?
Yasmin: My hair got a lot thicker during pregnancy. I noticed the difference about 5 months in.
Christina: Yes, my hair did change during and after my pregnancy. My hair got extremely thick and was growing very fast whilst I was pregnant.
Chloe: My hair seemed to get a lot thicker during pregnancy but also needed washing an awful lot more. It appeared more oily and greasy.
Samantha: I remember being told that during pregnancy our hair thickens, has increased lustre, and we lose less. Once I’d survived sixteen weeks of daily nausea and come out the other side, I did indeed notice a real improvement to my hair generally.
How did those changes make you feel?
Yasmin: It made me feel wonderful. I had never had thick hair before, so naturally I was over the moon with joy. I kept wearing my hair down instead of always putting it in a ponytail.
Chloe: I actually felt fine. I think hair loss would upset me the most as I've always had thick hair, whereas just having to wash it a little more often wasn't too much of a problem. I was pregnant, so I didn't really care.
Samantha: Pregnancy has a global effect on our body. Changes in our appearance, such as gaining weight and other bodily changes can really affect self-esteem. Having great hair, skin and nails (for a few months, at least) brings a little balance to any negative thoughts.
What happened to your hair after giving birth?
Yasmin: Three months after giving birth I noticed my hair falling out. Huge chunks would just be in my hand after playing with it, or on my back after brushing. It also went back to being super thin once the regrowth started.
Christina: After I gave birth, my hair thinned out and started to fall out from the temples of my head and around my forehead.
Chloe: It went back to normal, and back to needing to be washed just twice a week or so. My hair definitely didn't look as good as it did whilst I was pregnant, though, because of the extra thickness I experienced.
Samantha: I can’t say changes to my hair were immediate, but certainly in the months after giving birth, I started to see more and more hair gathering in the plughole. This caused me such concern that I visited my doctor and was reassured that it’s a perfectly normal process following pregnancy.
How did the post childbirth changes to your hair make you feel?
Yasmin: I was in bits! I thought at one point I was going to go bald! I was back to putting my hair up constantly.
Christina: It definitely made me feel insecure about putting my hair up in a bun or ponytail because it was so obvious that my hair had fallen out. So I started to use volumizing and thickening products, which completely dried out my hair and made things worse.
Chloe: I kind of wanted to keep my pregnancy hair, but I didn't feel too bad about things as nothing too drastic changed for me personally.
Samantha: I didn’t gain excessive weight during my pregnancy and only had a neat little bump. As soon as I’d given birth though, I felt the need to get back to being me. This included paying special attention to my appearance which, of course, included my hair.
How long after giving birth did you start to notice the difference in your hair?
Yasmin: Three months after giving birth.
Christina: I noticed a change in texture about four months after giving birth but then noticed it was falling out at around month six.
Chloe: Probably not until quite a few months in. My personal appearance didn't even bother me in the slightest at first. I think after my first night, out when I had all my hair and makeup done, I could see it wasn't as full as in pictures of when I was pregnant.
Samantha: I’d say it was during the first two to three months post-birth that I noticed the first signs of hair loss.
If you lost hair, when did regrowth begin for you?
Yasmin: My regrowth started about six months after giving birth.
Christina: Regrowth started at month seven. I still have lots of baby hairs around my temples and forehead area.
Samantha: For me, I noticed my hair returning to normal around sixteen to eighteen months post-birth.
What would your advice be to other women who may be going through what you went through?
Yasmin: My advice would be try not to stress; your hair will return to normal in the long run. I wish I would have used hair extensions as a confidence boost because I didn’t realise you could get ones that are so easy to use.
Christina: My advice to women who might be experiencing the same issues I did with hair loss would be to remember that what you are going through is completely normal and extremely common. I think that so many women are going through a big number of changes both physically and mentally that hair loss isn’t talked about as much as it should. Also, know that you feeling insecure about it is 100% OK. Your body has gone through trauma and slowly things will go back to what they were. However, if you experience some changes that are a bit more permanent (like I do with having a web of stretch marks on my belly), remember that the new you is strong and beautiful.
Chloe: Try not to worry too much. Hormonal changes and all sorts that are going on in your body will cause so much to change and we never really know how or why until it happens. Everything will soon return back to normal.
Samantha: Embrace every moment of your pregnancy and be reassured that your body, mind and hair will return to normal. You just need to be patient. It really is a small price to pay.
Suffering any form of hair loss is a horrible thing to have to deal with, made worse when it comes at such a hard and stressful time with a new-born baby to look after and your body’s fluctuating hormones. With postpartum hair loss, in whichever way you may experience it, it’s important to remember that it is temporary. As with so many other things you’re probably experiencing, it’s a natural thing being caused by your hormones as they settle back down to normal. Things will improve and your hair will eventually begin to regrow.
Sometimes just understanding why something is happening is a reassurance, and you can find some comfort in knowing that so many others have experienced the same thing.
We have a lot of customers who first began using our hair extensions and pieces after suffering hair loss. Our goal is always to help women feel their most confident, and we understand hair can play a big part in that for many. Hair loss is a difficult thing to deal with, and it’s bound to have an effect on how you feel.
If you’re suffering from postpartum hair loss, remember that most women face the same thing in the months after giving birth. It’s also important to note that not everyone experiences this, for some their changes aren’t very noticeable at all. Postpartum hair loss is something that needs to be discussed more. If you are struggling with it, just know that it will eventually get better and that you’re most definitely not alone.
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