pregnancy hair loss
By Tamim Hamid Posted on 11/09/2016

Pregnancy Hair Loss: Causes and What You Can Do

A new year is approaching our doorstep, and one of your resolutions might be to start a family. Have you noticed that pregnant women typically have thick, luxurious locks and seem to have the best hair days of their lives? Why do ladies experience hair growth during pregnancy, and do they have post-pregnancy hair loss after they give birth? Can you undergo laser hair growth therapy while pregnant? What about when you’re nursing?

Pregnancy Hair Growth with an Increase in Estrogen

Pregnancy is accompanied by a boost in estrogen production. Estrogen is a female hormone that causes your locks to linger in the anagen (growth) phase of your hair cycle. Usually, about 90% of your hair is in anagen, while 10% of your hair is either in the transitional or resting phases. Eventually, hair in the resting phase is shed while anagen hair forms in its place.

Daily shedding is perfectly normal, and it’s nothing to panic about. In fact, you’re already more than familiar with this phenomenon: for instance, you may wake up and notice some hair on your pillow. Cleaning your shower drain also reminds you that shedding occurs on an everyday basis. Sometimes you shed less, sometimes, you shed more, and the amount you shed depends on various factors. For instance, what season of the year it is, and what hormones are fluctuating in your body?

An increase of estrogen gives you extra hair in the anagen phase, and this increases hair growth during pregnancy and minimal daily hair shedding. Some expecting mothers even report thicker hair diameter and a boost in overall fullness and density. The question becomes: how do you keep this extra volume after giving birth?

What Causes Hair Loss During Pregnancy?

Hair loss is a relatively common concern among pregnant women, and it can be attributed to a combination of genetic and psychological factors. While many women, due to increased hormone levels, experience thicker and healthier hair during pregnancy, some may notice hair thinning or shedding. This condition is also known as "telogen effluvium." Here are some causes:

Hormonal Changes

Fluctuations in hormones are pretty normal during pregnancy since the body produces higher levels of estrogen and progesterone. In many cases, these hormones promote hair growth and lead to thicker, healthier hair. However, after childbirth, the hormone levels drop significantly, which can shift a larger number of hair follicles into the resting (telogen) phase. This can result in hair shedding several weeks to a few months postpartum.

Telogen Effluvium

It is a temporary form of hair loss that is triggered by significant physiological changes such as childbirth. It is a natural part of the hair growth cycle. During and after pregnancy, the shift in hormone levels can disrupt the normal hair growth cycle, causing more hair follicles to enter the shedding phase than usual. This kind of hair shedding typically occurs a few months after giving birth and can last for a few months.

Nutritional Factors

During pregnancy, both the mother and the developing fetus require increased nutritional intake. If there is a lack of essential nutrients in a mother’s diet, then it could impact hair health. E.g., insufficient intake of vitamins and minerals like iron, zinc, and biotin could contribute to hair thinning and hair loss.

Stress and Fatigue

Pregnancy and childbirth can be demanding both physically and mentally. It also leads to stress and fatigue, and because of high-stress levels, the hair growth cycle gets affected, potentially triggering hair loss.

Genetic Predispostion

Family history plays a role in determining hair health and potential hair loss. Hormonal changes related to pregnancy also can exacerbate the condition if a woman has a genetic predisposition to hair thinning or androgenetic alopecia.

Postpartum Thyroiditis

Some women also experience postpartum thyroiditis, a temporary thyroid gland inflammation that occurs within the first year after childbirth. Thyroid imbalances can contribute to postpartum hair loss.

Can Hair Loss be Related to Other Reproductive Health Issues?

Yes, hair loss can be related to other reproductive health issues as well. Hormonal imbalances and changes in the body can affect the hair growth cycle. Here are some reproductive health conditions that can contribute to hair loss:

Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS): It is a common hormonal disorder that affects women of reproductive age. It is characterized by irregular periods, ovarian cysts, and higher levels of androgens (male hormones) such as testosterone.

Menopause: Menopause is a natural stage in every woman’s life when menstrual periods cease. The changes in hormones that occur during menopause can impact hair health, leading to thinning and hair loss in some women.

Hormonal Birth Control: Certain hormonal contraceptives such as birth control pills, patches, or injections can influence hormone levels, potentially leading to hair changes as well as hair loss. However, it is not a common side effect for most women.

Anemia: During heavy menstrual periods or other factors, iron deficiency anemia can affect the health of the hair and lead to hair loss.

Treatment for pregnancy hair loss

Hair loss during pregnancy is often a temporary and natural phenomenon caused by hormonal changes. The hair growth cycle will usually return to normal after childbirth. But sometimes, significant hair loss can be experienced. Here are some steps you can take to treat it:

Maintain a Healthy Diet: Ensure that you are getting a balanced and nutritious diet that is rich in vitamins, proteins, and minerals. Also, ensure adequate intake of nutrients like iron, zinc, biotin, and vitamins A and D, which promote healthy hair growth.

Stay Hydrated: Drink plenty of water to hydrate your body as well as your hair.

Manage Your Stress: Try to manage your stress levels by practicing stress-reducing techniques such as deep breathing, meditation, yoga, or engaging in hobbies you enjoy. High stress levels exacerbate hair shedding.

Gentle Hair Care: Avoid additional stress on your hair follicles using a mild, sulfate-free shampoo. Also, avoid excessive heat styling, tight hairstyles, and harsh hair treatments.

Avoid Tight Hairstyles: Avoid wearing tight hairstyles like braids, ponytails, or buns that can stress hair follicles and contribute to hair loss.

Consider Supplements: Taking supplements that promote hair health, such as biotin, collagen, or prenatal vitamins, may benefit some women.

Time and Patience: Hair loss during pregnancy is temporary and resolves on its own. As the hormone level stabilizes postpartum, your hair growth cycle should return normal. So you should give it some time and have patience.

Prevention of Pregnancy Related Hair Loss

Pregnancy-related hair loss occurs due to hormonal changes and is typically temporary. It might not be entirely preventable, however, there are some steps you can take to minimize its effects and support healthy hair during and after pregnancy:

  • Consume a balanced diet rich in vitamins, minerals, and proteins. Nutrients like biotin, iron, zinc, and omega-3 fatty acids are essential for healthy hair growth. Also, stay hydrated by drinking enough water.
  • Take prenatal vitamins during pregnancy and postpartum, as they contain essential nutrients that support hair health.
  • Avoid excessive heat styling, chemical treatments, and tight hairstyles that can stress and damage the hair. Use a mild shampoo and conditioner that suits your hair type and scalp.
  • High-stress levels can exacerbate hair loss. Practice stress-reduction techniques like deep breathing, meditation, or yoga.
  • Massaging your scalp gently can improve blood circulation and promote hair growth.

Hair Growth After Pregnancy

The majority of women will experience excessive shedding anywhere between one to three months after giving birth. From a medical perspective, this is because more hair enters the resting phase due to a drop in estrogen levels. Since you experienced very little hair loss when you were pregnant, all of this delayed shedding can occur at once. But don’t worry – it probably sounds more extreme than it really is. Hair loss during pregnancy is usually temporary, and once your body stabilizes itself, your hair growth cycle should resume normally. This usually happens within 6 to 12 months following the birth of your new baby.

Steps You Can Take

Popular hair growth treatments for women today include laser hair growth therapy. However, there are no laser hair therapy clinical studies performed on women who are pregnant or breastfeeding. For this reason, you should not undergo laser hair growth therapy if you fall under one of the above two categories.

If you feel that your hair strands are still shedding away during pregnancy, you may have a vitamin or mineral deficiency. Consult your gynecologist and ask him or her about taking prenatal vitamins. It can also help if you make sure your hormones are properly balanced with a blood test.

Once your gestation and breastfeeding periods are over, you can start undergoing laser hair growth therapy to get your lustrous locks back even more quickly. Wearing a laser helmet, such as the Theradome, has clinically proven hair benefits that are actually similar to an increase in estrogen. First, laser hair growth therapy is 100% natural and has no side effects. Therefore you can skip chemical formulas, such as minoxidil, and its associated scalp stinging and dryness. On a clinical scale, proven benefits of wearing a laser helmet include:

A shift of your hair cycle into the anagen growth phase can create:

  • Thicker hair shaft
  • Minimized postpartum hair loss
  • Increased hair count and density
  • New post-pregnancy hair growth
  • Hair that’s more manageable

On top of wearing the Theradome Laser Helmet twice a week, you can also minimize hair loss by caring for your hair the right way. Avoid using harsh chemicals, wear tight hairstyles and heating accessories, and eat foods that are high in flavonoids and antioxidants to protect your hair follicles. Under the guidance of a physician, you can also supplement your diet with biotin, zinc, and selenium, along with vitamins C, E, and complex B.

So if you’re planning to start a new family, remember that the Theradome hair helmet can restore your hair and give you thicker, luxurious locks much more quickly after you give birth. And don’t forget that you can strengthen your gorgeous mane and prevent excess shedding by wearing your Theradome Laser Helmet before you get pregnant!

FAQs

When does your hair stop falling out during pregnancy?

Pregnancy hair loss is a common occurrence due to hormonal changes. Most women experience such kind of hair shedding during the postpartum period, typically around 3-6 months after giving birth. This shedding is also due to an abrupt decrease in estrogen levels after childbirth, which can cause hair to move from the growing phase (anagen) to the resting phase (telogen) more quickly than usual.

However, these kinds of hair loss are usually temporary, and typical growth patterns should return within 6 to 12 months postpartum.

Is hair loss a sign of pregnancy?

No, hair loss is not a typical sign of pregnancy. Hormonal changes during pregnancy can actually lead to thicker hair. However, some women experience temporary hair shedding after giving birth, known as postpartum hair loss.

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Tamim Hamid

Tamim Hamid

Inventor and CEO of Theradome

Sayyid Tamim Hamid, Ph.D, is the inventor of the world’s first FDA-cleared, wearable phototherapy device to prevent hair loss and thicken and regrow hair. Tamim, a former biomedical engineer at NASA and the inventor of Theradome, brings with him more than 38 years of expertise in product development, laser technology, and biomedical science. Tamim used his laser knowledge, fine-tuned at NASA, and combined it with his driving passion for helping others pursue a lifelong mission in hair loss and restoration. He is now one of the world’s leading experts.