During the second trimester, pregnant women are often described as having a glow. The increased blood volume and oil secretion gives your skin a natural glow, which is often commented on by friends and strangers alike. It's not just your skin that improves, your hair will thicken up too. For the fine-haired amongst us, pregnancy gives us the hair we've always wished for. You may, if you're one of the unfortunate ones, forget what your hair used to be like, and trick yourself into believing that this healthy mane is yours for the keeping.
Then, at some point between 3 and 6 months post-natally, reality hits. By this point, you're probably in full swing of life with a new baby, and by that, I mean you're exhausted. You probably haven't slept more than a few hours at a time for months. You spend your days changing nappies, dodging projectile bodily fluids and forgetting things (the trait of all new mothers).
You finally, finally find the time for a soak in the bath, or a quick shower, only to have the experienced ruined by the realisation that this beautiful thick shampoo-ad worthy hair is coming to an end. As you wash your hair, whole clumps of hair come out in your hand. It can be very upsetting, especially when combined with the sleep deprivation and hormonal rollercoaster of a new Mum, and it might feel like all of your hair is going to come out, but it won't.
The average head loses 100 hair a day, it sounds like a lot but in reality it's hardly noticeable. When you're pregnant, the increased oestrogen supply prevents these 100 hairs a day from falling out, and so you end up with a much thicker head of hair. A few months after childbirth, your oestrogen levels will have shrunk back down, and this means your hair can start falling out again. There are so many hairs waiting to fall out, that it can feel quite extreme. But don't worry, it's totally normal.
Up to 50 percent of mums experience post-natal hair loss. It can take up to a year for your hair to be back to it's pre-pregnancy thickness.
If you are feeling self conscious about your hair looking limp and lifeless during the transition stage, there are some steps you can take for healthier hair:
- Eat a balanced diet and ensure you are getting all of your vitamins and minerals. It's important to do this anyway as a new Mum, but for extra motivation, hair loss can be made worse by certain vitamin deficiencies.
- There are lots of thickening products on the market, so why not try a shampoo or mousse to give your hair extra volume?
- Try to be gentle with your hair. Blow-drying, straightening and excessive brushing can all increase the amount of hair you lose. Luckily though, as a new mum, you probably won't have much time for these luxuries anyway!
- If you're still feeling unhappy with your hair, talk to your hairdresser. They should be able to recommend a style that will tide you over until your hair is back to normal. A fringe is a great way to hide the baby hairs growing through at your hairline.
- If you feel that you are experiencing extreme hair loss, or if you are developing bald patches, speak to your doctor.
Most importantly, don't let the hair loss stress you out. It's totally normal, and lots of women experience it. Enjoy life with your new baby, and your hair will be back to normal in no time.