Hair loss after pregnancy: what to do?

The key stages in a woman's life often depend on the role played by hormones: puberty, the menstrual cycle, the menopause and, of course, pregnancy..

Pregnancy is a period of intense and sudden physiological upheaval, directly linked to the major hormonal fluctuations that accompany it. From the moment of conception, the level of female hormones rises sharply, remains at a very high level throughout the pregnancy and then falls just as sharply just after childbirth. The body is put to a severe test! It's hardly surprising that hair, which is also hormone-dependent, be affected.

To help you understand what's going on and to help you cope with the different cycles your hair will go through during pregnancy, after giving birth and, if necessary, at the end of breastfeeding, the Clauderer Specialists explain how to stabilise prolonged post-partum hair loss and give you their expert advice on how to regain the hair volume you had before you gave birth.

Post-partum alopecia: what you need to know

 The hair can change with maternity.
 During pregnancy, hair is at the top of their gamee. After giving birth, they fall too much.
Hair loss after childbirth is a common occurrence and concerns more than half of them women.
Normally, this fall is reversible and everything returns to normal after a few months. Normally, but not always...

Hair and pregnancy: what happens?

During pregnancy, women who tend to lose their hair do not lose it gegenerally moreOthers, whose hair is naturally too greasy or who suffer from chronic dandruff, often see these little hair woes diminish or even disappear. Others, whose hair is naturally too greasy or who suffer from chronic dandruff, often see these little hair woes diminish or even disappear. For most, the hair has more vigour, volume and shine. She looks doped.

In short, your hair will experience a "state of grace" throughout your pregnancy. Not only will hair hardly fall out, it will also be stronger, shinier and healthier. The vast majority of women admit that they have never had such beautiful hair as during pregnancy. 

2 reasons to explain improved hair density during pregnancy: firstly, the increase in the number of oestrogen and then the blood volume which increases exponentially until the end of the pregnancy. To meet the needs of the growing foetus, the heart needs extra energy, so it will "pump" more and faster, resulting in an increase in total blood volume of almost 50 % by the end of the 9th month of pregnancy. Improved blood flow means better and more efficient oxygen transport throughout the body. While the foetus, the heart and the brain are naturally the main beneficiaries, the other organs will also benefit. For example, blood flow will carry the nutrients essential for hair vitality to the hair follicle. Well nourished and oxygenated, the hair follicles will produce "super-hair" for 9 months.

What happens next? Female hormone levels will fall immediately after childbirth, but blood volume will decrease more gradually, returning to its previous level within a few weeks.

These physiological disturbances explain, as we shall now see, why many women will experience a Enormous hair loss after pregnancy.

Some women suffering from androgenetic alopecia even abandon their anti-hair loss treatment for a while. Not necessarily a good idea!

Why does hair fall out after giving birth?

Unfortunately, the magic only lasts for a short time and the problems appear two to three months after giving birth or after weaning (if breast-feeding)

In fact, it would be fairer to ask why hair falls out a lot more after giving birth?

This can be explained by 2 times :

  1. From the very early pregnancy, a woman's body undergoes an intense hormonal upheaval.  Female hormones the levels of oestrogen, progesterone and chorionic gonadotropin (or HCG: it is the measurement of the level of this hormone in the urine or blood that will tell you from the very first days whether or not you are pregnant) are all increasing considerably throughout pregnancy. Since the life of our hair is hormone-dependent and androgens (male hormones) play a potentially harmful role in hair health, it's easy to understand why hair stops falling out in excess during pregnancy. In fact, most of the hair that was supposed to fall out remains in the telogen phase (resting phase) during this period. In other words, a massive increase in oestrogen hormones stimulates hair vitality and artificially extends its lifespan. This explains the impression of capillary density , the majority of women find that their hair looks much better during pregnancy.
  2. In the 24 hours after giving birth, the body undergoes a new hormonal shock, with the sudden drop in oestrogen levels. As a result, the male hormones regain their level of activity - and their possible damaging power on the hair. The result is a sudden and very rapid fall in hormones, leading to a major loss of capillary mass in the first few months after giving birth. This enormous post-pregnancy hair loss is known as "post-partum hair loss", "post-partum alopecia" or "acute telogen effluvium". It's a well-known phenomenon that shouldn't cause undue concern. The hair that has been resting for around 9 months will finally start to fall out. You then have the impression of losing your hair suddenly and en masse. Young mothers tell hair loss This type of hair loss is characterised by the loss of hair in "handfuls", which can cause a feeling of panic and incomprehension, especially if no-one (family, midwife) has said anything to them beforehand to calm their anxiety. This type of hair loss is characterised by diffuse hair loss (telogen effluvium) rather than affecting specific areas of the scalp, as is often the case with female androgenetic alopecia. The post-partum fall is therefore due to the upheaval in a pregnant woman's body. After childbirth, on the other hand, the sudden disappearance of this hormonal overdose leads to the simultaneous loss of all the hair that should have fallen out over 9 months. In the most severe forms, you can lose up to 20 or 30 % of your hair in just a few weeks.

Normally, post-pregnancy hair loss begins in the first few weeks after giving birth and peaks around 4 months later (see how the hair follicle works). It takes several months after giving birth - 6 months on average, but it can take up to 1 year - for this post-partum hair loss to subside and eventually stop on its own. 

Add to this the post-partum phenomenon, 

  • the effects of physical fatigue linked to the birth itself and the return home: whether it's the 1st baby or not in our household, there's so much to do and sleep deprivation is never far away!
  • the stress of being a young parent and the professional obligations that sometimes come back (too) quickly,  
  • the possibility of iron deficiency (anaemia), which is common after childbirth. To check this, you can have a blood test prescribed to check your iron reserves. Many women have an iron reserve below the normal level after giving birth. An iron deficiency can be an aggravating factor in hair loss.

it's easy to understand why hair doesn't look its best. It's all part of the baby blues!

Please note: if you are breast-feeding, the hormone responsible for lactation, prolactin, will continue to work after childbirth and protect against post-partum hair loss. Post-partum hair loss can therefore be delayed and occur after the breast-feeding period.

Please note: the same phenomenon of telogen effluvium-type hair loss is sometimes observed, although to a lesser degree, after an abortion or miscarriage or after stopping a contraceptive pill containing high levels of oestrogen. It may also not appear with the first pregnancy, but with the second or third.

Does hair grow back after childbirth?

As we have seen, pregnancy is a violent hormonal upheaval, and while female hormones protect women during this period, this protective role disappears virtually overnight once the baby is born. 

There is no normal or standard duration for post-partum hair loss, as many factors come into play, but it can be said that - normally - post-partum hair loss begins a few weeks after giving birth, peaks 3 to 4 months later and lasts around 6 months. If you are breast-feeding, hair loss may be delayed by the same amount.

Fortunately, there's no need to worry too much about severe hair loss after childbirth, as nature will gradually take its course and, after a few months, your hair will return to its pre-pregnancy density and life cycle. You don't need to do anything special; your hair will grow back normally once your body has regained its equilibrium. If the hair loss only lasts a few weeks, your hair loss will probably be of no consequence. It will gradually regress spontaneously and new hair growth will be visible within 4 or 5 months. After 6 to 8 monthseverything will be back to normal.

Finally, let's not forget that hair loss after childbirth is not systematic either: some women are spared and experience no significant hair loss at this point in their lives.

Stress and hair loss : Ironically, for some, the fall comes at the height of the baby blues, at a time when the change in life brought about by childbirth is experienced as stressful by most mothers. What's more, for those returning to work, this is often the time when they have to separate from their baby during the day and get back to their busy lives. If you're feeling stressed, you can add a course of magnesium (a natural regulator of nervous excitability, an excellent anti-stress agent).

Motherhood as a trigger: Motherhood can also act as a trigger for alopecia. Some women notice that their hair has changed since having children. Previously, these same women had never noticed any problems with their hair renewal. But it was when they had children that the problems began. Their hair became progressively poorer, thinner and harder to style. Consequence: if you don't treat your hair every time you have a baby, it's likely to deteriorate from pregnancy to pregnancy and lose a lot of density compared to its initial volume.


What hair treatment is right for you after pregnancy?

You can't avoid post-partum alopecia, but to help your hair grow back faster after giving birth, you can stimulate their regrowth by making a food supplement cure Just the right amount of vitamins, trace elements and amino acids. The right combination: iron, zinc, brewer's yeast and B vitamins. Particularly beneficial if your delivery coincides with a period of seasonal decline in spring or autumn.

To combat excessive post-partum hair loss if you are already a "risk subject" (fatigue, anaemia, androgenism...) before pregnancy, a vitamin supplement may prove useful. 

At the same time, it's common sense to eat a varied, balanced diet in order to fill up on vitamins in minerals and trace elements. It is also in the diet that we find a sulphur amino acid that is essential to the formation of cells and keratin in particular: a powerful antioxidant, methionine is naturally present in animal products (meat, eggs, cheese) but also in nuts, soya, etc. and is synthesised thanks to a group B vitamin, vitamin B12.

In all cases, don't hesitate to ask your doctor or gynaecologist for advice to find out what is best for you and avoid contraindications or overdoses, especially if you are breast-feeding.

ATTENTION

  • If your hair already had a tendency to fall out abnormally before pregnancy, 
  • If you notice a more and more pronounced refinement and loss of hair density,
  • If you continue to lose a lot of hair several months (7, 8 or even 12 months) after giving birth,
  • If you notice that certain areas of your scalp seem thinner than others (mainly the middle part and/or the sides)

then you have to realise that hair loss after childbirth is not as harmless as it seems. It's time to look for the causes by carrying out an in-depth hair diagnosis. In fact, the Centre Clauderer Hair Specialists often observe that a androgenetic alopecia is triggered by the hormonal upheaval of pregnancy.

It's not uncommon for the powerful hormonal yo-yo that accompanies pregnancy and childbirth to cause lasting disruption to the life of our hair. Visit Centre Clauderer, We receive a lot of complaints from young mums who are worried that they won't get their 'old hair' back. They describe thinning hair, hair that is more difficult to style or hair that seems to grow more slowly.

In fact, the hormonal "yo-yo" will have developed the sensitivity of our hair to the harmful activity of male hormones and the appearance of androgenetic alopecia that didn't exist before pregnancy. Well protected before and during pregnancy by female hormones, it's as if our hair has lost some of this natural protection.

As we have seen, diffuse hair loss (telogen effluvium) is common after childbirth. It can be worrying because it is sudden and massive, but it is nevertheless normal. However, there is cause for concern when this diffuse hair loss turns into hair loss or thinning of the hair on specific areas: the sides and/or crown of the head.

This mutation from diffuse hair loss affecting all areas of our skull to localised thinning of our hair is the sign we need to watch out for. It indicates that from a natural and normal post-partum hair loss, our hair is now subject to androgenetic-type alopecia. If the fall persists After a few weeks, or if the density of your hair already tended to decrease before pregnancy, post-partum hair loss should not be taken lightly. The symptom of persistent hair loss seems to indicate that your scalp is particularly receptive to androgenic hormones. During your pregnancy, the influx of your female hormones may have neutralised the negative influence of these male hormones for a time. But after giving birth, or after weaning if you're breast-feeding your baby, the quality of your hair may suffer: in all likelihood, some of it will grow back even thinner and more fragile. It's time to take action! 

Think about it: if contraception is resumed, you should speak to your gynaecologist so that he or she can prescribe a "pro-hair" contraceptive.

Jean-François Cabos

Jean-François Cabos is the creator of a unique hair care method based on the research he coordinated, which led to the publication of the book "Cheveux, Racines de Vie" with Hélène Clauderer by Robert Laffont (Collection "Réponses/ Santé").

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