Pregnancy affects the entire body, including hair, skin and nails. Often, there are undesirable changes that can leave a pregnant woman worried or frightened. However, hair loss in particular is very common and during pregnancy and should not cause undue concern. The most common period of hair loss related to pregnancy occurs approximately three months after delivery.
Hair loss during and after pregnancy can be due to hormonal problems. An overactive or underactive thyroid can cause hair to fall out. If this is the case, your physician can treat the hair loss by treating the thyroid disease.
Telogen effluvium is the excess shedding of hair that usually occurs one to five months following pregnancy. During pregnancy, an increased percentage of scalp hairs go into the resting phase that is part of the normal growth-loss cycle of scalp hair. After pregnancy, these hairs begin to fall out and thin. However, this condition does not cause permanent hair loss or obvious bald patches. Telogen effluvium resolves slowly beginning six to 12 weeks postpartum. There is no medical treatment available.
There are a number of things that you can do to have a healthier head of hair and/or reduce the extent of some of the hair loss during pregnancy or after delivery:
– Consult with your physician to ensure a proper balance of hormones.
– Avoid pigtails, cornrows, hair weaves, braids and tight hair rollers which can pull and stress your hair.
– Eat a diet high in fruits and vegetables, which contain flavonoids, many of which are antioxidants that may provide protection for the hair follicles and encourage hair growth.
– Use shampoos and conditioners that contain biotin and silica.
– If you need to use blow dryers and other heated hair instruments, try to use the cooler, lower settings.