Understanding Pregnancy-Related Hair Loss and How to Cope

Understanding Pregnancy-Related Hair Loss and How to Cope

Pregnancy is a wonderful time for a woman. Her body goes through a lot of changes some of which are visible and some not. There is one change that most women complain of which is hair loss. Let us find out what leads to hair loss during or after pregnancy and how to prevent it.

Natural Hair Cycle

To understand hair loss, one has to understand the hair cycle which has four stages.

Anagen is the growing stage which lasts for 2-7 years. The Catagen is the transitional stage which lasts for around 10 days. The Telogen signifies resting stage. It continues for around three months and normally around 10-15% of our hair is in this stage. When the old hair rests, new hair starts to grow and finally in the Exogen stage, the old hair falls off and the new hair continues to grow.

So, at any given point of time, 90% of our hair is growing while 10% are in the resting phase. However, any deviation from this would lead to excessive hair loss.

During and after pregnancy, women experience a shift from the normal hair cycle which may result in thickening of their hair or losing it.

Hair Loss and Pregnancy

The female hormone estrogen controls hair growth and during pregnancy its level changes. Due to an increased level of estrogen in the initial stages of pregnancy, the hair remains longer in the growing stage thus appearing thicker and fuller. The women feel lucky to flaunt luscious hair.

However, some women experience their hair falling during pregnancy. This occurs due to a fall in estrogen. There are several reasons behind these, like, discontinuing oral contraceptive pill, imbalance in hormonal level, abortion, stillbirth, or miscarriage.

Hair Loss After Pregnancy

Most women encounter excessive hair loss after one to five months of pregnancy. This is known as Telogen Effluvium.

During pregnancy, due to a rise in hormones, hair doesn’t fall off. These hair strands enter the resting phase once the hormone levels are back to normal after the delivery. Thus, women experience increased hair loss as the hair cycle is restored to the previous level.

This is a temporary phase and there is no need to panic. In most cases, hair loss also comes back to the normal level within a year of delivery.

If you continue to lose hair after delivery and your hair look thin, you may consult your doctor. There can be other conditions for such increased hair loss like thyroid problems, iron deficiency, androgenic alopecia, alopecia areata, and trauma.

Treatment for Hair Loss Due to Pregnancy

In most cases, you don’t have to do anything. The problem resolves on its own. In case of abnormal hair loss during or after pregnancy, you may take advice from your doctor or a dermatologist. Conditions like iron deficiency or hypothyroidism can be tackled with supplements.

Androgenic alopecia or alopecia areata can be treated only with medications which are not safe for the baby. Think of alternative treatments like laser therapy to combat these issues.

Hair loss during pregnancy is common and there is no need to panic. If you feel the situation is getting out of control, seek medical intervention.