While sitting with a friend that had recently given birth, we started talking about the ways her body had changed. Weight gain was clearly one of the more obvious outcomes, and though she feels dedicated, her daily jogs aren’t making a difference just yet. She also mentioned that she has a lot more acne. Though this is probably partly a result of the fading pregnancy hormones, she admitted that she hasn’t paid much attention to face wash and proper makeup removal since she had her little bundle of joy. She also covered common topics such as larger feet and bigger breasts. When she brought up her hair loss, it made me wonder whether it might be a result of stress. As it turns out, many studies show that hair loss is a common side effect of the post-pregnancy come down.

When you’re pregnant, it’s common to have thicker hair. Each hair is not actually thicker, but instead you lose less hair because the hair goes into a sort of hibernation. Before pregnancy, you were probably loosing up to one hundred and fifty hairs every day. Once you became pregnant, your body started producing an enormous amount of hormones and the hairs on your head stopped falling out. Then, after delivery, the hormones began fading and now your hairs are making up for lost time. In fact, you might start losing more than five hundred hairs each day.

It’s normal to be embarrassed or worried about your hair loss, but it’s irrational to think you’ll go bald. Like I said, your hair is just making up for lost time, so you would have lost it eventually. To save yourself from public embarrassment, make sure you wash it and brush it thoroughly before you go out. It will be painful to see all the hair on the brush or in the tub, but it will be much better than seeing it on a friend’s couch or on a plate of food.

You hair will return to its normal cycle six months after delivery. If it doesn’t, talk to your doctor or dermatologist, because it might be a sign of a more serious problem not associated with your pregnancy at all. Until then, all you can do is be patient and try to avoid shedding your hair in public areas. It is simply one of the less pleasant post-pregnancy symptoms you will have.

Source: Elizabeth A Howell et al: Lack of Preparation, Physical Health After Childbirth and Early Postpartum Depressive Symptoms. Journal of Women’s Health Volume 19 Issue 4 pp. 703-708 April 2010

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