Postpartum Hair Loss
Now that your baby has finally found a way into your arms, you may be gleefully rejoicing that you've finally touched home base and are well on the way to recovering your pre-pregnancy body. Think again! Your postpartum shampoos may reserve yet another surprise: hair loss in handfuls or dismaying clumps, raising an immediate panic about going bald.
Relax. This, too, is perfectly normal. After delivery, your sky-rocketing estrogen levels are trying to inch (or gallop!) their way back down into normal patterns. Postpartum hair loss is relatively common and is caused by hair staying in a resting, telogen phase thanks to your pregnancy estrogen levels. Once your baby is born, high estrogen subsides creating a seemingly alarming hair loss that you may experience over the next four months. The magic word here is temporary. According to the American Pregnancy Association, the lost hair will usually be replaced within six to twelve months.
Whether your hair has suddenly turned brittle, dry, or is quite literally falling out, what else can you do to stop it—and your world—from falling apart?
Check your diet and hormones. In her book, Pregnancy for Dummies, co-author Joanne Stone, MD and OB-GYN at Mount Sinai Medical Center in New York City, affirms that temporary hair loss is hormonal and doesn't mean that a pregnant woman is deficient in nutrition or vitamins.
That said, as with most pregnancy-related symptoms, you should check with your doctor to ensure you're getting a proper balance of hormones and a well-balanced diet rich in fruits, vegetables, and minerals. Certain vegetables and minerals contain flavonoids—antioxidants which may encourage hair growth while providing protection for your hair follicles. The American Academy of Dermatology lists low serum iron deficiency, or inadequate absorption of iron, and inadequate protein in the diet as only two of many potential causes for hair loss.
The American Pregnancy Association recommends several nutrients that your doctor can help you supplement and/or fit into your diet based on your specific needs and situation, such as vitamin B complex, biotin, inositol, vitamin C with bioflavonoids, coenzyme Q10, vitamin E, zing, horsetail, pygeum, and saw palmetto.