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You really look like a monster!” what has happened to your full, shiny, long, beautiful hair? These are words you don’t want to hear from friends and relatives. Do you? Unfortunately, they are the kind of things people will say the moment you begin to lose your hair and its sheen.
As if all the other changes in the body women pass through during pregnancy aren’t enough (aching legs, stretch marks, swollen feet, and urinary incontinence), hair loss during pregnancy can seem like the last straw.
However, if your mirror has confirmed that indeed you are losing hair during pregnancy, you should have no fear. Chances are, it’s only a temporary situation, like most changes which occur during pregnancy. This may be unusual, but largely due to a lack of vitamins or minerals in the diet.
Pregnancy is well known to change the entire body composition of a woman, and her hair is no exception. Though not serious enough to cause bald spots or permanent hair loss, it should not be waved as nothing, if it becomes excessive.
Causes of Hair Loss During Pregnancy
According to the American Academy of Dermatology:
However, rising estrogen levels slow down the normal cycle of hair follicle shedding during pregnancy. Because of this, some women are expected to lose fewer hairs while pregnant – but that’s not always the case. Below are some of the things that could lead to hair loss during pregnancy:
1. Nutrition Deficiency
2. Hormonal Imbalance
Some women may also suffer from hair thinning and shedding because of shock or stress. This condition is known as telogen effluvium, and a small number of women experiences it during pregnancy.
Furthermore, the first trimester may lead to a considerable amount of stress to the body as the balance of hormones significantly shifts to support the growing baby.
Stress may push 30% or more of the hairs on your head into the resting phase of the hair life cycle. Therefore, instead of losing the normal 100 hairs per day, you may end up losing up to 300 hairs per day.
Hair loss due to hormonal imbalance may not happen instantly. Instead, it may take a period of 2 to 4-months before you notice thinning. Generally, this condition does not last longer than 6-months and does not lead to permanent hair loss.
3. Reproductive Causes
Eradicating the usage of birth control medications or any other method of birth control can also lead to hair loss. You may equally suffer from hair loss as a result of abortion, miscarriage, and stillbirth.
Although, hair loss is not a medical disaster – the fundamental cause, such as illness or nutritional deficiency can be destructive. Endeavor to consult an obstetrician if you notice unnecessary hair shedding during pregnancy. But if it is not upsetting, try making slight changes to your routine and see what happens.
4. Thyroid Problems
Thyroid disorders, like hypothyroidism (insufficient thyroid hormone), or hyperthyroidism (excessive thyroid hormone) may be hard to notice during pregnancy.
Among the two conditions, hypothyroidism is the most common, and according to The National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, it affects about 2 to 3 out of every 100 pregnant women. Hair loss is one symptom, alongside constipation, exhaustion, and muscle cramps.
Another research by Cleveland Clinic shows that:
In all the cases, thyroid problems are usually diagnosed with a blood test.
Treatment For Hair Loss During Pregnancy
1. Talk to your health care provider: This is to ensure that your hormones are balanced. Let your doctor know if your hair loss is excessive, as it may be a sign of some ailments which may need investigating as early as possible.
2. Eat lots of salads, green vegetables, and fruits in order to get the desired nutrients for healthy hair.
If you can, supplement your diet with these nutrients, Vitamins C, E and B complex, not forgetting Biotin. Most doctors will also recommend food prenatal vitamins during pregnancy.
3. Be gentle on your hair: Avoid fine tooth combs on your hair when wet. Don’t comb or brush too often or with force because of its fragile nature during pregnancy.
Pigtails, cornrows, hair weaves, and braids will pull and stress your hair, so stay away from them and other forms of excessive styling.
4. Cease from taking harmful medicine: You need to stop taking harmful medication, especially during pregnancy if you love popping pills, as this can trigger hair loss. There are certain tablets and antidepressants you might take for high blood pressure or heart problems that can lead to hair loss.
5. Avoid chemicals: During pregnancy, take a break from relaxing, dying and perming your hair.
The effect of dyes and other hair chemicals in pregnant women, few studies have examined, have a chance of absorbing through the scalp during treatments using these harsh chemicals, and passed along to your baby. Apart from this, these chemicals can lead to excessive hair loss.
6. Learn some scalp exercises and massage your scalp regularly to improve blood circulation. (Use lavender and essential oils mixed together, apply to your scalp, and let it sink in.)
7. Avoid heated hair instruments such as hair and blow dryers. If you must use it, set it to cool or low temperature.
Finally, your doctor will always be your resource to help you weigh the advantages and disadvantages of different treatment options.
What About Hair Loss After Giving Birth?
Some medications are safe to use while nursing a baby while others are not. For example, Rogaine is not considered safe when you’re breastfeeding. You might consider using it once you’re done nursing.