One of the little known side effects of pregnancy and childbirth might take you by surprise if you're not prepared. Postpartum alopecia, or hair loss after pregnanc, is a common condition that affects almost a third of all women who give birth. Women going through pregnancy often marvel at the thick, luscious locks that they enjoy during their nine month odyssey into motherhood. However, they are dismayed when those strands start to fall out at an alarming rate shortly after the birth of the child.
The changes in your hair follicle that eventually lead to postpartum alopecia start well before the birth of the baby. When hormones from the pregnancy build up in your body, they create interruptions in the normal cycle of hair growth and loss. Most women lose between 100-150 hairs every day. However, during pregnancy, the excessive estrogen hormones stall the hair cycle at the growing phase. This results in thicker and longer hair follicles
At about three months postpartum (later if you're breastfeeding) the levels of estrogen in the body even out to normal levels. This results in the hair returning to the shedding phase of the hair cycle. The scalp sheds the usual amount of hair, including the built up hair that was not shed during the pregnancy.
This results in the appearance of thinning hair. If you're not prepared for this, it can be shocking and dramatic. Rest assured, however, that your hair will return to normal eventually. For most women, they find their hair pattern has returned to normal within nine months to a year after the end of the pregnancy. This process takes significantly longer for nursing mothers, however, as the hormones stay in their system longer after the birth.
The problem will usually correct itself over time. However, if you're concerned about patches of thinning or balding hair, consider using a hair closure piece, full lace wig or clip on bang to cover problem spots.
Fret not, your luscious locks are on their way back. Besides, you have bigger issues to worry about, like diapers...