Are you shedding an unusually large amount of hair in the months following childbirth? Losing hair, sometimes in clumps, is common among mothers and is known as postpartum hair loss.
Your hair goes through two stages, a growing stage and a resting stage. Approximately 90% of the hairs on your head are growing at any given time. The other 10% or so are in the resting stage.
After the resting stage, the hair will fall out, most noticeably when you are brushing or shampooing your hair. It is then replaced by a new growth and the cycle repeats. An average woman sheds approximately 100 hairs a day.
Now 100 hairs a day does seem like a lot. Keep in mind that these are lost over the course of the day and not all at once. Unless you have longer hair you will hardly notice.
During pregnancy you will have a thicker, luxuriant head of hair, you may even have trouble running a brush through it. Increased levels of estrogen are the cause. Estrogen prolongs the growing and resting stage resting stage. Hair that would normally fall out stays put, resulting in thicker hair.
After giving birth your estrogen levels will drop back to normal resulting in an influx of hair follicles entering the resting stage. Soon after you will have more hair coming out in the shower or on your hairbrush resulting in thinner looking hair.
So this temporary hair loss does not mean you are nutrient deficient or lacking vitamins. It is simply hormonal.
Not all women notice dramatic changes in their hair during pregnancy or the postpartum period. Among those who do, it tends to be more obvious among women with longer hair.
The large amount of lost hair will gradually taper off the more time passes since childbirth. The majority of women report that their hair reverts to its pre-pregnancy state within six to 12 months.
Don't panic. I know the sight of huge wads of your hair falling out is unexpected and shocking. Just constantly remind yourself that postpartum hair loss is not permanent. The less you let it worry you, the easier life will be.
Unfortunately, if you experience postpartum hair loss you will have to wait it out. There are a couple of tricks you can try to maximize your comfort in the meantime.
There is the risk that you are misdiagnosing your condition as harmless postpartum hair loss. Hair loss can also accompany postpartum thyroiditis and other medical conditions. If your hair loss is excessive or you are unsure then you should consult your practitioner.
There is one other danger you need to be aware of. Strands of your dropped hair can end up tightly wrapped around your baby's appendages such as its fingers, toes, and wrists.
Hair wrapped around a baby's appendages is known as a hair tourniquet and is an actual medical condition. The most common cause is a stray hair inside your baby's sock. As your baby wiggles its toes the hair ties around the babies toe and continues to tighten.
The effect is the appendage the hair has wrapped around can no longer receive adequate blood supply and will be very painful to your baby. Due to the softness of babies skin, a hair tourniquet can easily slice through if it is overly tight.
Fortunately, the postpartum hair loss period is not permanent. Stay positive and have fun.
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