In my fourth month after giving birth, I started losing my hair – strands were falling out every day and in handfuls. I’d anticipated this but the actual thing was no less disturbing even though I’d known it was coming. Couple that with follicle dryness caused by hormonal changes and I had my hands full (ha!).
Losing hair is quite traumatic for a new mum, so I thought I’d share my experience.
1. Post-partum hairloss is normal.
Some time between the third and fourth month post-birth (after the fourth trimester, so to speak), my hair seemed to have a life of its own, with a host of hair strands losing their grip on the scalp. Mind you, there was no resistance to speak of; these strands were happily free-falling. :P
I’d expected this because it happened with my other babies and I was aware of the post-partum fallout (haha). The actual timing of this unseemly event will vary from mummy to mummy and some might not even notice it (lucky you!).
Why does this happen? Simply put, pregnancy hormones discourage hair loss and when these hormones wane in the post-birth months, the hair that falls is, in actual fact, the hair that had been retained/was meant to fall during the time you were pregnant. Hair follicles have a falling and resting period and pregnancy merely prolongs the resting time. Different batches usually fall at different times but post-partum changes mean that all of a sudden, you’re shedding like nobody’s business.
Now that you’ve gotten used to caring for your little one, Mother Nature hits you with this whammy. No wonder most mothers are steely; see what we have to go through? ;)
2. The longer my hair, the more severe my hair loss seemed.
I had varying lengths of hair with all three children but my hair is at its longest with this recent birth. When my hair started dropping, I was appalled by the sheer volume; the amount I found on the bathroom drainer and on my floors was frightful!
However, it stands to reason that longer hair creates more volume. If I had shorter hair, say, half the current length, the volume would’ve been halved. So if you have fairly long hair and are seeing follicular masses or worse, hair balls, don’t panic too much.
3. I was careful with hair products and hair tools.
The hormonal changes led to my hair feeling drier – I no longer had a luxuriant shine and an easy glide when combing my hair. What a conundrum: I had to make sure my hair was not entangled but couldn’t load it with oils and conditioning serums because I’ve found that when such products were heavy on the hair, the hair loss seemed more pronounced. They could also migrate to the scalp and cause product build-up and oiliness.
Perhaps the increased emollience encouraged the loose strands to glide down the other hair shafts more easily but it’s also a fact that an oily scalp is not a healthy one (yes, it encourages hair loss), so I made sure not to use conditioning products near the top of my head and was careful to apply them on the bottom half of my hair.
I also steered clear of snaggy combs and seldom used my beloved boar-bristle brushes. While the latter are awesome for adding shine and make tresses look silky (they distribute hair oils evenly), I didn’t need too sleek a look for my flat and limp hair. They feel great on the scalp and promote blood circulation but I did wonder if they were a touch too stimulating in terms of oil production.
I didn’t comb much except to get my parting and either used a wide-toothed comb or ran my fingers through my tresses to untangle them.
4. It will pass.
So wherein lies the hope for the hairfall to stabilise or better yet, decrease? I don’t know the answer to this question but I do know that for most mummies, this is merely a phase. There was only one thing I did – wait. No strange tonics, hair loss serums or head massages. The last is quite a treat for a frazzled mummy, though! ;)
Sure enough, my hair is on its way to normality and the hair loss is markedly reduced. I do get strands that pull away but the amount isn’t as alarming as before. My hair still looks a little limp but I attribute this to the need for a haircut (oh-so-hard with a nursing babe!) rather than the hairfall. I’m also back to using my boar-bristle brushes.
It is my belief that since my body has the ability to grow a baby, I should trust that it knows what to do where post-birth is concerned. :)
This is by no means a prescription, of course; every mother’s body varies and I’m not a medical professional. If you are extremely alarmed by your hair loss, do speak to your doctor about it.
Good luck and here’s to happy hair health!