During pregnancy, your estrogen levels rise to support your growing baby. Most of the time, the flood of estrogen also slows your body’s natural hair shedding cycle. But this isn’t always the case. In fact many women experience hair loss during pregnancy so this week decided to look into this in more detail…
The abrupt hormone changes in early pregnancy are no joke. For some women, the transition triggers telogen effluvium (TE) otherwise known as stress-induced hair loss.
Essentially this means that in response to either shock, trauma or stress your body switches 30% + of your hair into the shedding phase; which for some people could result in your daily hair loss turning from 100 to 300 strands.
But the good news is that usually TE resolves itself within a few months.
UNDERLYING HEALTH CONDITIONS
A growing a baby is a lot of work for your body and it actually increases your risk of several health issues including:
1. Gestational Diabetes
2. High Blood Pressure
3. Hyperemesis gravidarum
4. Hormone Imbalances
5. Vitamin Deficiencies
Depending on the severity, all these health issues could cause TE.
Pregnancy hormone levels can sometimes fluctuate into the danger zone. Thyroid conditions like hypothyroidism (too little thyroid hormone) and hyperthyroidism (too much thyroid hormone) can cause hair loss.
There are several other signs of hypothyroidism, which affects about 2-3% of pregnant women:
NB: The risk of hypothyroidism rises once you’ve given birth. 5-10% of new mothers experience postpartum thyroid problems. Thyroid issues are treatable – your doctor can order a blood test for diagnosis and then discuss treatment options.
Pregnancy increases your risk of iron deficiency anemia. If you have severe morning sickness, got pregnant soon after giving birth or are having twins / triplets than your risk is even higher.
Low iron levels mean you don’t have enough blood cells to efficiently carry oxygen through your body. This can cause a number of symptoms including hair thinning.
shortness of breath
Since anaemia isn’t only condition related to pregnancy, your hair probably won’t get its volume and shine back until you address your iron levels.
If you’re pregnant and think you might have anaemia, talk to your doctor as a simple blood test can determine whether you need iron supplements.
POSTPARTUM HAIR LOSS
If during your pregnancy you experienced no hair issues then this would be down to your high estrogen levels. But once you give birth, your estrogen will go back to its pre-pregnancy level, resulting in….. hair shedding. While this is not great news for your hair, it’s also no reason to worry.
Excessive hair shedding usually peaks at 4 months postpartum. But having said that, losing hair while you’re recovering from birth is still traumatic — and it can be scary to see giant clumps in the shower or on the floor — but this type of telogen effluvium typically goes away in time.
OTHER POTENTIAL ISSUES
Telogen effluvium usually makes your hair thinner all over. Noticeable bald patches or clumps from one side or the top of your head could indicate a genetic or autoimmune condition. These conditions cause baldness or hair loss regardless of whether you have a baby on board or not.
Androgenetic Alopecia also known as female pattern baldness, shortens your hair’s growth phase and lengthens the shedding phase.
Alopecia Areata triggers patches of head hair and body hair. Some people experience a cycle of regrowth and hair loss, while for others the loss is unpredictable. There’s no cure for alopecia areata, but some treatments can help.
HARSH HAIR TREATMENTS
Sometimes beauty processes backfire. Excessive blow-drying, flat ironing, or chemical treatments can cause breakage and hair thinning and so too can super tight hairstyles.
These lead to traction alopecia, which can cause permanent hair loss or hairline damage if you don’t give your mane a break.
MAKING YOUR HAIR LOSS STOP
If your locks are thinning due to pregnancy, there’s no special treatment required. Your hair will bounce back over time.
If your hair loss is caused by thyroid issues or low iron, your doctor can suggest medications or supplements.
If you have androgenetic alopecia, you could try low-level laser therapy (LLLT), which uses red light to stimulate hair growth. This is safer than taking certain meds while pregnant.
POSTPARTUM HAIR SOLUTIONS
This really depends on whether you are breastfeeding or not. Breastfeeding mums have fewer options because some meds aren’t considered safe as they may transfer across in the breast milk.
If your hair doesn’t return to its pre-pregnancy state, talk to your doctor. They can discuss the pros and cons of different treatment options.
We've listed some safe options below but always talk to your doctor or a licensed Medical Professional before embarking on any dietary or lifestyle changes.
1. Scalp Massage
We all know head massages are super relaxing, but they also encourage circulation and hair growth. And while nourishing oils can help moisturize your scalp, a 2014 study on mice found that peppermint oil can stimulate hair growth.
Our Hair Growth Elixir contains 5% peppermint oil alongside Sea Algae which has proven efficacy for kickstarting your hairs growth cycle.
Our Purifying Scalp Scrub is perfect for massaging your scalp as well as rebalancing your natural pH and ensuring a healthy growing environment.
2. Feast on Nourishing Foods
Your diet plays a major role in your internal and external health. That includes your skin, nails, and hair.
Hair loving foods are those containing omega-3 fatty acids (walnuts, chia seeds, salmon, and tuna), biotin (eggs, fish, meat, and nuts), and vitamin D (orange juice, egg yolks, and yogurt).
3. Nourish the Locks Your Have
While focussing on new hair growth is important you also need to focus on strengthening and maintaining the hair you already have. Afterall, there’s no point growing new hair if your existing hair is fragile and broken.
Our Healthy Hair Mask contains oodles of Shea Butter as well as Vegan-Keratin designed to strengthen and restore your current locks ensuring you always have mermaid worthy hair.
THE FINAL CUT
Whilst losing handfuls of hair during pregnancy isn’t common, it doesn’t usually indicate a major problem. What’s more hair loss is normal if you have a hormone imbalance or certain pre-existing health conditions.
For some people, hair will regrow within a few months. For others, it’s necessary to treat the underlying issue.
Postpartum hair loss, on the other hand, is very common. It usually peaks 4 months after you give birth. Most mamas say their locks feel back to normal by their baby’s 9-month milestone or first birthday. But whilst you’re waiting for your hair to return to it’s beautiful state there are things you can do to actively support it and ensure your hair is healthy and loved.
OUR LIFE-CHANGING HAIR GROWTH PRODUCTS
If you have concerns about your hair loss or any health related issues please consult a Medical Professional.
Find Out More About Us at Ginger and Pearl