During pregnancy, a person notices an increase in the thickness of hair and additional growth. After pregnancy, there is hair loss due to changes in hormone levels. However, the hair returns to its normal state in some time.
Changes in Hair During Pregnancy
People experience changes in hair growth and texture during pregnancy. According to the American College of Obstetrician and Gynecologist, it is the changes in the hormone that affects hair growth.
Hair growth may be experienced by some in the area where previously there were no hair including the areas in the face, chest, arm, and abdomen. The hair may get thicker approximately by the 15th week of pregnancy.(1) The strands do not get thick, but, the increase in estrogen hormone make the hair stay in the growing phase for a longer period of time. The hair should return to its normal state 6 months post-delivery.
Sometimes the hair becomes thinner and falls out, which may be due to a decrease in estrogen. The decrease is due to:
- Stopping contraceptives
- Hormonal imbalance
- Pregnancy loss or still
Hair Changes After Pregnancy
Women experience hair loss for approximately 3 months post-pregnancy. It is termed telogen effluvium which occurs due to changes in the level of estrogen and progesterone in the body. It is also known as postpartum hair loss or excessive hair shedding.
After a female gives birth, the hormone level drops quickly to the pre-pregnancy levels. This decrease in hormone causes the hair to come back to its former hair growth cycle.
The hair cycle differs from person to person but in most females, the hair grows back to its normal state in 3-6 months.
Is Hair Loss Normal After Pregnancy
According to the American Academy of Dermatology post-partum hair loss is temporary.(2) It is not a true hair loss and stops within 6 months post-birth and most people can see their hair returning to its usual thickness within 1 year. It could even happen and end sooner.
If someone is not able to gain hair even after a year, consultation with a doctor is recommended. Other than pregnancy, hair loss can also be due to hypothyroidism and thyroiditis.
Treatment for Hair Loss Due to Pregnancy
Hair loss due to pregnancy is temporary and no treatment is needed. Still, the following steps can help cope with it.
- Switching to shampoo or a conditioner that is volumizing
- Avoiding conditioning shampoo and intensive conditioners
- Applying conditioner to the length of hair instead of roots
- Using conditioners that help with hair thinning
- Doing a new hairstyle that gives a look of a new hairstyle
Maintaining a Healthy Diet For Hair Care During Pregnancy
Nutrition is an important part of postpartum recovery. Including healthy proteins in the diet ensures the body gets the required nutrients to function better.
Following are the foods recommended by the Trichological society for hair growth:
- Fish including macreal and salmon
- Leafy greens
- Kidney beans, lentils, and other legumes
- Nuts such as brazil nuts, walnuts, pecans, and cashew
Nutritional Supplements For Hair Care During Pregnancy
There are no specific supplements that ensure no hair fall. However, it is recommended by National Health Service that consumption of vitamin D supplements can be helpful to pregnant and even nursing females.(2) This vitamin can also help with hairfall.
Stress affects an individual negatively and can also lead to hair loss.(2) Stress can be reduced by the following techniques:
- Exercising regularly
- Considering counseling
- Practicing deep breathing and relaxation techniques
Can Hair Loss Be Considered a Sign of Pregnancy?
Hair loss cannot be a sign of pregnancy. It can occur during pregnancy and is due to a decrease in estrogen level. The hair fall can also be due to the below-mentioned reasons:
- Stopping contraceptive pills
- Hormonal imbalance
- Pregnancy loss or abortion
Signs of pregnancy include missed periods, slight bleeding, fatigue, headache, vomiting, nausea, mood swings, food cravings and missing periods.
During pregnancy, some people experience thicker hair and hair loss post-delivery. All of it is due to changes in hormone levels. This can settle down a few months post delivering the baby. If the condition does not return to normal consider consulting a doctor for the same.