My Experience of Postpartum Hair Loss

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Today's post is a bit of a throwback to 2016 because I want to talk about my experience of postpartum hair loss. It was a post I meant to write ages ago (I mean, Arthur's now three so the postpartum days are LONG gone) but I never really got round to it. Everyone always talks about body confidence after having a baby (learning to embrace the stretch marks and changes) and more and more people are now raising awareness of serious issues like postnatal depression, which is so important but something I don't hear a lot of mums talk about is postpartum hair loss, despite it being pretty common.

Now, by no means was my hair loss severe. When you think about people who have conditions like alopecia or have to go through intense chemotherapy treatment, my own hair loss was nothing to complain about. But it was noticeable and even though I didn't make a big deal about it, I remember it contributed to me not feeling so great about the way I looked and felt after having my son.

Hair changes in pregnancy

I think part of the reason postpartum hair loss can be a bit of a shock for new mums is that pregnancy hair is amazing for some. I don't think my hair had ever looked so good! I've always had quite fine hair (but a lot of it) and noticed that during pregnancy it felt a lot thicker. This is apparently due to the increased levels of oestrogen and androgen in the body when you're pregnant. They promote healthier-looking hair and prolong the growing stage, so there's less time for the hair to rest and shed.

Hair loss after you've given birth

Of course, after you've given birth and your hormones start to settle down in the months following, the oestrogen levels drop and the hair goes into its resting and shedding stages. I remember noticing that I was losing a fair bit of hair, more than I ever had before and it was particularly noticeable around my hairline, as you can see in the pictures. I think the fact I have quite fine hair anyway made it even more noticeable and although I can't say it made me feel overly self-conscious (after all, as a new mum all your focus is on your baby anyway), I think it was something that just added to the negative feelings I had about the way I looked. I think it's fair to say that as a new single mum, I had written myself off. Which is quite sad really and maybe a little bit dramatic, looking back but the good news is, everything got better!

Re-growth after Postpartum hair loss

As the months went on, I found that new hair was appearing around my hairline but it was different to the rest of the hair on my head. It was very wispy and would stick out at funny angles, which was annoying but at least it was growing back! I think by the time Arthur was 14-15 months it was hardly noticeable and the wispy bits were a little longer and therefore easier to manage!

Three years on and I think my hair looks pretty great. I don't think it grows as fast as it used to (and don't know if that has anything to do with the changes your body goes through after having a child) but there's no sign I ever experienced postpartum hair loss.

So if you're experiencing postpartum hair loss too or you're pregnant and worried about it happening, please know that it doesn't last forever and that it is perfectly normal. And although it feels rubbish at the time, you probably won't even think about it a few years on - unless like me, you look back at some old photos and think hey, I could write a blog post about that!

Postpartum Hair Loss Tips

There are some great tips for coping with hair loss here. I've also listed a few things below you can do (or in some cases not do) to help postpartum hair loss...

Scalp massage and exfoliation: Not something I tried but apparently daily scalp massages using just your fingers can help to boost blood circulation and stimulate the scalp. Exfoliation also removes dead skin cells and any build-up from the hair products you use, to encourage better hair growth.

Eat a balanced diet: What you eat can have an impact on hair health and growth. Protein-rich and iron-rich foods are good for nourishing the hair.

Wear your hair in soft styles: I did probably the worst thing I could do and scraped my hair back into a ponytail all the time. I just wanted it off my face and out the way but this could have done more harm than good and actually made the postpartum hair loss more obvious. Wearing your hair in softer styles (i.e. just wearing it down) means less tension on the strands. You can always use clips to get it off your face if you need to!

Don't avoid haircuts: Although cutting your hair may be the last thing you want to do when it's already falling it out, trimming it regularly can help to keep it healthy and promote growth. I had quite a lot chopped off and I think it was probably the best thing, as even though the wispy bits were obvious, it made the rest of my hair appear thicker.

Use less heat on the hair: We all know heat isn't good for the hair so if you are looking for ways to keep it healthy and promote better growth, it's best to avoid it altogether where possible. I hardly use heat on my hair these days (apart from blowdrying) and have definitely noticed improvements to it's overall condition.

Did you experience postpartum hair loss? Do you have any tips for other mums worried about it?
Feel free to share them in the comments below!

Meg x
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