Hair Loss in Pregnancy: Why It Happens and How To Prevent It
While some women experience thicker more lustrous hair during pregnancy, some women notice no change at all and some others experience hair thinning or hair loss in pregnancy. All of these are considered to be normal, as the hormonal changes and other biological shifts can affect various systems of the body. However, if you are pregnant and noticing that your hair is falling out, you’re probably concerned, and understandably so. Sometimes, hair loss can signal that things are out of balance, and shouldn’t be ignored.
Like most pregnancy-related conditions, hair loss during this time and the several months following isn’t typically alarming on its own. Pregnancy hair thinning is almost always temporary, and hair will grow back. However, depending on your unique circumstances, it may be something to talk with your doctor about, or at least explore some of the ways you can support healthy hair growth on your own.
Your hair goes through a normal, natural growth cycle, with about 90% of your hair in an active growth phase and 10% in a resting phase at any given moment. The percentages of active follicles to resting follicles may change based on internal factors like hormones and nutritional status as well as external factors like pollution, chemical exposure, and the like.
Whether you are pregnant and trying to avoid losing your hair or are already experiencing excessive hair shedding, it’s a great idea to better understand what’s going on inside your body and the various factors that may be affecting your hair growth cycle.
Telogen effluvium is the medical term for any temporary shedding or loss of hair following a shock or traumatic event, and this includes pregnancy. The rapid changing of hormones and other lifestyle/behavioral factors can lead to your body shedding hair. Again, this is almost always temporary.
There are a few main potential causes for this phenomenon, telogen effluvium, and general hair loss during pregnancy, including:
What’s the biggest change in a person’s body when they become pregnant? That’s right- hormones! Both estrogen and progesterone increase significantly (and other hormones too, to a lesser degree), and can cause a whole host of physical changes. While estrogen is known to nourish and stimulate the hair follicles, it’s not always apparent. Pregnancy hormones can be enough of a stress on the body for it to start shedding hair.
For many people, getting pregnant involves stopping hormonal birth control, and this alone can cause changes leading to hair loss. Postpartum hair loss is also quite common, as hormones come back to baseline.
Redistribution of resources
Growing a baby requires an incredible amount of energy and resources, and this can place the body under a lot of biological strain. This is especially true if you were already struggling with burnout or other health conditions before you became pregnant.
Creating a new human being will divert many of your resources from “nonessential” things like hair to “essential” things like building the baby’s organs. It’s normal to experience less-than-ideal hair or skin while your body is hard at work!
Underlying health conditions
Sometimes, pregnancy can either mask or reveal certain health conditions that were already there, or starting to take hold in the body. One common one is thyroid imbalance, which affects millions of people, primarily women, every year. Thyroid issues, particularly low thyroid, can cause hair loss, and this can be exacerbated by pregnancy.
Many people also find that they have autoimmune conditions while they’re pregnant or shortly thereafter. It’s never a bad idea to get checked for these types of things before getting pregnant or during the process, to rule out a true medical condition causing your hair loss.
Because so much of the body’s blood supply is diverted to the growing baby, it can cause issues with low iron. A pregnant person needs double the amount of iron as a non-pregnant person, in order for the red blood cells to hold and transport oxygen efficiently. This temporary anemia is relatively common, and can lead to pregnancy hair thinning.
Much of the time, low iron can be corrected by increasing the amount of iron-rich foods in the diet and a quality iron supplement.
While it’s much easier to pull the hair back into a ponytail or braids than take the time to fix the hair down, these types of styles can place a lot of strain on the hair follicles. During pregnancy, the stress of body changes and potential side effects like morning sickness make these quick hairstyles very appealing. However, when we do this to our hair day after day, it can cause hair loss due to what’s called “traction trauma” or “traction alopecia.”
The pull of the hairstyle on the scalp and hair follicles can weaken the shafts and cause damage to the follicle itself. Routine use of tight updos, braids, or buns (like many tired pregnant people can relate to!) can increase the odds of hair thinning. If you just don’t have the time or energy to style your hair down, at least keep your buns and ponytails as loose as possible.
Every person’s experience with hair changes during pregnancy is different, but if you are noticing excessive shedding or want to prevent hair loss, there are a few things that you can do. You can not only stop or slow hair loss, but you can even boost your hair growth while pregnant, with the right steps.
Here are some ways to prevent hair loss in pregnancy:
- Make sure your hormones are healthy. Have regular checkups with your healthcare provider before, during, and after your pregnancy to ensure healthy levels of estrogen, progesterone, and testosterone, along with thyroid and adrenal hormones.
- Use hair products that contain natural DHT-blockers, and boost hair health with things like biotin, caffeine, and peptides. Start with this Intensive Biotin Serum.
- Maintain a healthy, varied diet with plenty of antioxidants from fruits and vegetables, and plenty of fats from whole food sources.
- Move your body in ways that are gentle and feel good. The increase in blood circulation can help keep your scalp and hair follicles strong.
- Get the extra nutrients that you need during pregnancy, even in supplement form. Ensure that you’re taking in the right vitamins, minerals, and protein to grow your baby without sapping all your own resources.
- Reduce your stress as much as possible. Stress can not only cause hair loss, but it can also place unnecessary strain on the baby.
One of the easiest ways you can support your hair health during pregnancy is with the right products. A quality shampoo and conditioner can go a long way to keeping your hair thick and strong. Amplixin’s hair growth shampoo, conditioner and serum are made with natural ingredients and can be a wonderful part of your daily routine.