A Hairy Situation

Pregnancy is a time of physiologic and hormonal changes that keep many women off balance. But it’s precisely this change in hormone (oestrogen) levels that causes your hair to stay in its growing phase longer; which explains why your mane appears to be thicker and seems to lose less hair on a daily basis.

The scary part, however, comes after you’ve given birth. Since your hormones would have settled down at about 12 weeks after delivery, more of your hair will move into the shedding stage and start falling out. But before you freak out and go into panic overdrive, this is your body trying to go back to normal. The good news is that all will resume normalcy at about 6 to 12 months after you’ve given birth.

In the meantime, here are some tips to help encourage a healthier head of lustrous tresses:

• Make sure your diet is a nutritionally balanced one, which means it should include minerals and vitamins like Iron, Vitamin C, as well as B Vitamins like Biotin and Niacin. Consult a dietician if you’re not sure.

• Avoid combing your hair while it’s wet or straight out of the shower because the hair strands are weaker at this point. Allow your hair to air dry for 5 to 10 minutes or use an absorbent towel to absorb as much moisture as possible so your hair strands have time to re-establish their weakened bonds. Ideally, your hair should be about 80-90% dry before you untangle the strands with a wide-toothed comb.

• Postpone any chemical treatments (perms, rebonding, highlights etc) until the shedding has ceased.

• Go for looser hairstyles that do not involve braids, weaves, or tight ponytails that will pull or stretch your already fragile hair.

• Cut down on heat-based styling as this may dry your hair out and increase its dropping rate.

• Trim your split ends from time to time or go for a shorter (but trendier!) haircut to reduce the pressure on your scalp. You might even want to ask your hairstylist to introduce some layers to give your hair more volume. Moms with long hair do take note though: strands of your hair may wrap around your baby’s fingers, wrists, ankles etc in a tight bind so do be careful.

• Invest in a good set of shampoo and conditioner to give your hair the pampering it needs. When shampooing, focus the action on the scalp to make sure it’s thoroughly cleaned. The conditioner, on the other hand, should only be used on the tips of your hair to prevent it from looking limp (especially if you have fine hair).

• Relax! You’ve worked hard to bring baby dearest to the world, so you definitely deserve some time to pamper yourself or just to relax in one corner doing your thing.

Some women, however, may experience an excessive loss of hair even after all their efforts. In such cases, then do take your concerns to a doctor/specialist because sometimes factors like postpartum thyroiditis could contribute to the shedding.

Postpartum thyroiditis is a condition where the thyroid becomes inflamed and it usually occurs in the first year after an episode of childbirth, miscarriage, or induced abortion. While fairly common, it’s a temporary condition that will resolve itself as the thyroid regains normality. Be that as it may, sometimes the condition may be difficult to recognise because its symptoms could mislead people into thinking that they are the result of postpartum disorders and stress.

For example, mothers who suffer from it may feel extremely fatigued or bouts of moodiness. But whatever the case, as long as you are feeling out of sorts and experiencing an excessive amount of hair loss that stress you out even more, then do seek timely advice from your doctor.