After you have a baby, there's hardly time for yourself. Showers are few and far between, meals are generally eaten while standing in the kitchen, and fixing your hair is out of the question. But while your hair is probably the last thing on your mind, it is part of an issue that not enough people talk about: postpartum hair loss. Dr. Heather Hawthorne, MD and board-certified family physician at Doctor On Demand, spoke to POPSUGAR about postpartum hair loss, which affects a lot more women than most people realize.
What Is Postpartum Hair Loss?
During pregnancy, a lot of women may start to feel like Rapunzel due to their hair growing so fast and strong that you feel it could hoist a handsome prince up a tower (wouldn't that be great?). "Many women notice longer, more voluminous hair during pregnancy thanks to pregnancy hormone spikes trapping hair in the growth (anagen) phase of the hair cycle," Dr. Hawthorne explained. "But drastic postpartum hormone shifts cause a lot of hairs to move into the resting (telogen) phase, which results in more shedding than usual, a condition known as postpartum telogen effluvium."
How Common Is It?
According to Dr. Hawthorne, 40 percent to 50 percent of new mothers suffer from it.
Is There Anything You Can Do to Remedy It?
Consuming wholesome foods and managing your stress levels can encourage hair regrowth, Dr. Hawthorne said. "Vitamin-rich fruits and vegetables, lean proteins, and good sources of fatty acids such as flax seeds, fish, and walnuts have been shown to improve hair growth."
How Long Does It Last?
While discovering clumps of hair on your pillow isn't permanent, it might last a little while. "It can last for a few months and in some cases more than a year," Dr. Hawthorne continued. "The duration depends on how long it takes for hormone levels to balance out and for the hair cycle to reset."
Can You Still Dye Your Hair?
Dr. Hawthorne urges women to use a little extra caution when it comes to hair dye in order to keep the remaining strands as healthy as possible, explaining, "Any treatments or products that irritate the scalp can cause more hair loss whether you've just had a child or not."