Hair loss after pregnancy: why you shouldn’t panic

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If you’ve nurtured lustrous, swishy locks all through pregnancy, it’s a shock when your hair starts to fall out – this is normal! Follow our expert advice to make the most of it.

In those bleary, but happy, first weeks of motherhood, you’ll be lucky to get dressed, let alone worry about what your hair looks like.

Until it decides to remind you – by coming out in clumps and blocking the plughole (no, it’s not just you).

But it’s not another nail in the coffin of your pre-baby appearance – with our help, it can be the latest stage in your mum metamorphosis.

Why is this happening?

‘Not every woman experiences postpartum hair loss but, if it does happen, remember it’s a very normal and natural process,’ says trichologist Philip Kingsley.

Most of us experience hair loss around the third month after birth, or a little later if you’re breastfeeding.

Like almost everything else right now, you can thank your hormones. Oestrogen levels increase during pregnancy, which can prolong the growth phase of the hair.

This means less hair falls out, making what you have gorgeously thick, healthy and shiny. The kicker is that, after you’ve given birth, your hormones revert to normal and the hair that was supposed to fall out but didn’t, comes out all at once.

‘There’s not much you can do to stop this but, with good haircare and dietary habits, you can encourage regrowth,’ says Philip.

How much hair loss is normal?

The NHS says hair loss, known medically as alopecia, is common.

"It's estimated, for instance, that around 70% of women over the age of 70 experience female-pattern baldness – the most common type of hair loss, which is thought to be inherited."

New mothers are said to shed about 400 hairs a day.

The vitamin fix

When your barnet is creeping further and further away from your hairline, you’re bound to get stressed about the situation, but this will only exacerbate things.

The loss usually continues for 10-12 weeks but, after this, new hair should start to appear.

If it’s still falling out, there may be an underlying cause, such as diet, stress or hormonal balance, which needs addressing with a trichologist.

Ricardo Vila Nova, who offers in-depth trichology services and treatments at Harrods’ Urban Retreat, stresses the importance of not only a diet rich in hair-loving protein, but also checking you’re not depleted in vitamins and minerals.

‘By looking at it under the microscope, I can see what your hair, your scalp – and, ultimately, your body – are lacking, and whether or not your pregnancy hormones have calmed down,’ says Ricardo.

He will then prescribe from supplements and hair treatments, plus laser and Dermaroller solutions for problematic scalps.

‘People often forget their scalp, but this is where your hair is “living”. Think of it like the skin on your face. If the pH levels are out of balance, or it’s too dry or oily, your hair won’t be healthy.’

Care for your scalp

At home, massage is key. To boost blood flow and feed the roots, use a kneading motion on your scalp for two to three minutes every morning.

And introduce a nourishing treatment, such as Touché By Flavien Scalp Tonic or Kérastase Initialiste Advanced Hair And Scalp Concentrate, into your daily routine.

If your scalp is tight, a switch to a more hydrating shampoo should help, too.

To boost blood flow and feed the roots, use a kneading motion on your scalp for two to three minutes every morning.

‘Once you’ve finished breastfeeding, hyaluronic acid and spirulina supplements will help to promote hydration and mineralisation, leading to thicker, healthier hair,’ says Ricardo.

Try Solgar Hyaluronic Acid 120mg (£30.43) and Spirulina 750mg.

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Embrace change

Once your hair starts to grow back, many women note that the colour, texture or condition is different.

‘Hair grows in seven-year cycles, so it can slowly and naturally change over time,’ says Ricardo.

‘Pregnancy speeds up this whole process, so those changes seem to happen overnight, which can be a bit of a shock.’ If your ‘new’ hair is radically different, you may need to rethink your old style, start colouring your hair if more greys are appearing, or adjust to an unfamiliar lustre or thickness.

But pregnancy can bring really positive, lasting things to your appearance, too.

‘I’ve known women with previously very weak tresses who, after having a baby, have enjoyed the best hair of their life. And, even better, it stayed that way,’ says Ricardo.

Meet the expert: Ricardo Vila Nova who offers in-depth trichology services and treatments at Harrods’ Urban Retreat.

Now read:

The best hair products for kids with curly hair

Hair loss after pregnancy: how to strengthen your hair again

No more 'mum hair'! 6 hairstyles to try now

Hair loss during pregnancy: causes and how to prevent it

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