Pregnancy - Female Hair Loss Guide

Your body undergoes a whole range of changes during pregnancy which also includes hair loss. The main reason for this is hormonal changes in the body which includes increased oestrogen production but this can affect the normal hair growth/loss cycle.

The hair growth cycle is comprised of 3 stages:

  • Growth (anagen)
  • Shedding (catagen)
  • Resting (telogen)

Increased levels of oestrogen disrupt this cycle although not in a negative manner. It causes an extra number of follicles to become active during the growth (anagen) stage which results in an increase in hair growth. At the same it blocks some follicles in the shedding (catagen) stage so that less hair is loss during this time.

What does this mean for you? You will notice that your hair is longer, thicker, shinier and overall, healthier than normal. This is a positive aspect of pregnancy but unfortunately, is a short term benefit only. The problems arise after childbirth when the opposite occurs.

Hair growth after childbirth

Once you have given birth then your oestrogen levels drop as previously high levels are no longer required. Oestrogen levels rise just before birth but fall soon afterwards.

As a result of this, some hair follicles enter the shedding stage of the hair growth/loss cycle whereas others enter a resting stage. Existing hairs are shed as per normal but this loss isn’t matched by the growth of new hair which then leads to a thinning of the hair.

This is a common problem following childbirth and many women find that they lose a significant amount of hair during this time.

But this is not something to become unduly alarmed at as it resolves itself over time. Once your body returns to its normal, pre-pregnancy state then you will find that your hair growth cycle also returns to normal.

It does take time though so you need to be patient but you should find that new hair growth starts to happen about 6 months or so after childbirth.

Does it always resolve itself?

Your hair growth/loss cycle usually settles down and returns to normal after a period of time but there are a few cases where medical help is needed.

It can be the case that your hormone levels are taking longer than usual to settle down. If this is the case then your GP will arrange a blood test and prescribe a treatment that will speed up this hormonal balancing.

This problem usually corrects itself either on its own or via medical intervention.

Permanent hair loss is very rare and is usually a result of an underlying medical condition or a severe hormonal imbalance. Either way, treatment can be prescribed which will prevent further hair loss.

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