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Can Pregnancy Lead to Hair Loss?

Hair loss affects a significant percentage—between 40% and 50%—of women either during pregnancy or after giving birth. This experience is not uncommon and shouldn’t cause undue concern.

During this transformative phase, your body undergoes various changes, and your hair might respond accordingly. It could become stronger and thicker, change texture (such as becoming curlier or straighter), or, in some cases, thin out.

What is Postpartum Hair Loss?

For most women, postpartum hair loss occurs after childbirth and is commonly referred to as “postpartum hair loss.” However, a small subset of women might notice hair loss during pregnancy, typically around the third trimester.

Regardless of when it occurs, hair loss related to pregnancy is typically temporary. By the time your baby celebrates their first birthday, your hair should naturally revert to its usual state.

However, if this isn’t the case, it might be prudent to consult your doctor to explore potential underlying causes, such as androgenetic alopecia.
Let’s delve into why hair loss might occur during or after pregnancy and what steps you can take to aid recovery.

Understanding Hair Loss During Pregnancy

If you’re pregnant or recently gave birth and notice more hair shedding than usual, it could be due to a condition called telogen effluvium. This type of hair loss is often triggered by a stressful event, and pregnancy, despite its joys, can be a stressful period.

Hormonal fluctuations are a significant contributor to pregnancy-related hair loss. While most women experience an increase in estrogen during pregnancy (stimulating hair follicles and promoting hair growth), some might experience a decrease in estrogen due to factors like discontinuing oral contraceptives, hormonal imbalances during pregnancy, or experiencing certain reproductive events.

This hormonal imbalance can trigger telogen effluvium, causing about 30% (or more) of your hair to enter a resting phase prematurely, leading to subsequent shedding. This shedding may become noticeable about 2-4 months after the triggering event, often in the first trimester.
Generally, this hair loss is temporary and resolves within 6 months, aligning with the resolution of the underlying stress.

Potential Factors Contributing to Hair Loss During or After Pregnancy

Apart from hormonal changes, other factors may contribute to hair loss during pregnancy, such as thyroid imbalances or iron deficiency.
Thyroid issues, either hyperthyroidism or hypothyroidism, can manifest during pregnancy and might lead to hair loss among other symptoms. Similarly, iron deficiency, common in pregnancy due to increased demands on the body, can result in hair loss along with symptoms like fatigue and shortness of breath.

Addressing hair loss related to these issues often involves medical evaluation and, if diagnosed, appropriate hair loss treatment, such as supplements or thyroid management.

Consultation with a healthcare professional is advisable if you suspect these or other underlying health conditions might be causing your hair loss during or after pregnancy.

Post-Pregnancy Hair Shedding: Understanding the Process

Hair loss following pregnancy, commonly mistaken for “hair loss,” is usually excessive hair shedding. This shedding tends to peak around 4 months after childbirth before new hair growth begins, eventually restoring your hair to its pre-pregnancy state.

The hormonal fluctuations post-pregnancy trigger a shift in your hair growth cycle, leading to increased shedding. However, this shedding isn’t permanent; your body readjusts, and your hair growth cycle returns to normal over time.

Managing Hair Loss After Pregnancy

For most women, post-pregnancy hair loss corrects itself without intervention. However, if after a year, hair loss persists, seeking guidance from a doctor for diagnosis and potential hair loss treatments is advisable.

Options such as medication, biotin injections or platelet rich plasma might be suggested, but their appropriateness depends on various factors, including your health status and stage of breastfeeding, if applicable. For personalised guidance, seek advice from a Hair Restoration Specialist.
Ready to address your hair concerns? Take the first step toward regaining confidence—schedule a consultation with New Hair Clinic today!

FAQ

Is it normal to experience hair loss during or after pregnancy?

Yes, it is quite common for women, about 40% to 50%, to experience hair loss either during pregnancy or after giving birth. This phenomenon is usually temporary and resolves on its own.

What is postpartum hair loss?

Postpartum hair loss refers to the shedding of hair that occurs after childbirth. While it is more commonly experienced post-delivery, some women may notice hair loss during pregnancy, particularly in the third trimester.

When does postpartum hair loss typically occur?

Postpartum hair loss often peaks around 4 months after childbirth. It is a result of hormonal fluctuations triggered by pregnancy and usually resolves within six months.

Why does hair loss happen during pregnancy?

Hair loss during pregnancy may be attributed to a condition called telogen effluvium. Hormonal changes, including fluctuations in estrogen levels, can contribute to this type of hair loss. Telogen effluvium causes a premature resting phase in hair follicles, leading to increased shedding.

When should I seek professional advice for hair loss during or after pregnancy?

If you suspect underlying health conditions like thyroid issues or iron deficiency, or if hair loss persists beyond a year post-pregnancy, it’s advisable to consult a healthcare professional for a thorough evaluation and personalised guidance.

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