Help! I’ve had a baby and now I’m going bald!
You’re a woman with a newborn baby. You’re over the moon in love with your bundle of joy. Neither the sleepless nights nor the fact that every corner of your formerly elegant house is taken over by a different piece of baby gear can put a dent in your happiness.
But then you look in the mirror one morning and realize with alarm that your hairline is receding. You recall that for weeks you’ve pulled out wads of hair from your head every time the brush so much as touched it. What is happening?
The Reasons for Postpartum Hair Loss
What’s happening is a very common occurrence brought on by pregnancy and childbirth, and no reason for panic. You’re most likely suffering from postpartum hair loss.
At any given time, a portion of your hair stops growing and goes into a resting phase, after which it falls out and is replaced by new hair growth. During pregnancy, however, elevated levels of hormones, particularly estrogen, lead to more hair growth and less resting. As a result, hair that would normally be shed stays on your head longer. You might have noticed how beautiful your hair looked when pregnant, and this is the reason.
Unfortunately, all good things come to an end. As soon as your elevated estrogen levels go back to normal after you deliver your baby, your body begins to start shedding hair again, and because there is so much of it, the rate of hair loss can be much higher than normal. Typically, this phase lasts until about 6 months postpartum, but for some women it can last up to a year.
What is a Woman Undergoing Postpartum Hair Loss to do?
If you’ve recently had a baby and noticed that your hair is getting thinner, the most important thing you can do is take a deep breath and relax. You are not alone, and you are certainly not going bald.
There is also most likely no need to think about a hair transplant. Although there are women who are genetically predisposed to hair loss and for whom a hair transplant can do wonders, postpartum hair loss is a very different condition. It is only temporary, and the best cure is a little bit of patience while it runs its course.
However, there are certain things you can do to make your hair look better during your transition from postpartum hair loss back to normal. Here at the Nashville Hair Doctor, we’ve put together a few tips for you:
- Treat yourself to a new haircut. Especially if you have long hair, this might be a good time to try out a shorter style. Or you might add layers if you didn’t have them previously. If you’re bothered by a receding hairline surrounding your forehead, you could go for bangs. Any of these things will make your hair appear thicker, and shorter hair will also lead to slightly less shedding.
- Try a volumizing shampoo. Some conditioners weigh your hair down too much, making the thinner hair stand out even more. It may be time to try a few different brands of shampoo to find one that gives your hair more volume. Remember, however, that it’s generally better to put less product in your hair rather than more, so as not to weigh your hair down unnecessarily.
- Change the way you part your hair. If you normally part on the left, try right. If your part is in the middle, try shifting it to the side to disguise thinning hair at the temples.
- Try curls, or color. Thinning hair is easier to spot on people with straight hair, as well as people with dark hair. Going blond, adding highlights, or rolling some curls are all clever ways to camouflage a receding hairline.
- Treat yourself to an occasional blowout. Yes, they’re not cheap, but this is a time to pamper yourself a little. Plan a date night for that momentous first time you leave your baby with a sitter for a few hours, and have your hair professionally treated for the occasion. It’ll do wonders for your self-confidence.
- Go crazy with the headgear. While a blowout is great for special occasions, remember that it might otherwise be best to simply leave your hair alone. The less you heat it and brush it and yank at it, the less it will shed. For those days when you don’t have the time or energy to even wash your hair, get inventive with different head covers. A hat is not your only option. Try a jaunty bandanna instead, a headband, or even a scarf.
- Divert attention. We’re only human, and it’s in our nature to fret over the things that worry us. Often, the easiest way to feel better is to distract ourselves with something else. You are thin again! Go out and buy yourself some new skinny jeans. Or a pair of sexy high heels you’d otherwise never buy. If you’re on a tight budget, make a trip to the Goodwill store – you’ll be amazed at all you can find there.
We hope that these tips help you get through the worst months of postpartum hair loss and that soon your hair will be back to its normal growth pattern. If your child’s first birthday has come and gone and you are still losing an unnatural amount of hair, it may be time to speak to a professional.