Welcoming a new baby into the world is an exciting and joyous occasion for any new mother. However, along with the joys of motherhood, many women experience unexpected body changes, including postpartum hair loss.
Hair loss after childbirth, also known as postpartum alopecia, can be distressing for many women as they notice their once luscious locks thinning and falling out. In this article, we will explain the causes of hair loss 7 months postpartum, its emotional impact on new mothers, and potential solutions to manage and address this common issue.
Understanding Postpartum Hair Loss
Postpartum hair loss is a temporary condition that affects many women after giving birth. It is estimated that up to 50% of women experience hair loss within the first few months after giving birth, and this can persist for several months before resolving on its own. Postpartum hair loss typically occurs around 2-4 months after childbirth, but it can also manifest later, around 7 months postpartum, and can continue for up to a year or more.
The exact cause of postpartum hair loss is not fully understood, but it is believed to be related to hormonal changes during pregnancy. During pregnancy, increased estrogen levels prolong hair growth, reducing hair shedding and thicker, fuller hair. However, after childbirth, estrogen levels rapidly decline, leading to a shedding of the excess hair that was retained during pregnancy. This shedding can be sudden and alarming for new mothers, resulting in noticeable hair loss and thinning.
Causes of Hair Loss 7 Months Postpartum
While hormonal changes are the primary cause of postpartum hair loss, other factors can contribute to hair loss 7 months postpartum. These may include:
Pregnancy and childbirth can deplete a woman’s body of essential nutrients, such as iron, zinc, biotin, and vitamin D, essential for maintaining healthy hair growth. If these nutrients are not adequately replenished through a balanced diet or supplementation, it can contribute to hair loss.
The period after childbirth can be physically and emotionally stressful for new mothers as they adjust to the demands of caring for a newborn. The stress associated with sleep deprivation, hormonal fluctuations, and changes in routine can contribute to hair loss.
Pregnancy and childbirth can also impact the functioning of the thyroid gland, which plays a crucial role in regulating metabolism and hair growth. An underactive or overactive thyroid gland can disrupt the normal hair growth cycle and result in hair loss.
New mothers may opt for tight hairstyles, such as ponytails or braids, convenience and ease of maintenance. However, constant tension on the hair shafts from tight hairstyles can lead to hair breakage and traction alopecia, a type of hair loss caused by repetitive pulling or tension on the hair.
The emotional toll of motherhood and hormonal changes can contribute to postpartum depression in some women. Postpartum depression can impact overall health and well-being, including hair health.
Emotional Impact of Postpartum Hair Loss
Hair loss can be emotionally distressing for many women, including those who experience it postpartum. After childbirth many women already deal with a wide range of physical and emotional changes, and hair loss can further exacerbate their self-consciousness and anxiety. The emotional impact of postpartum hair loss may include:
Hair loss can affect a woman’s self-esteem and body image, as it is often a visible change that can be difficult to hide or ignore. Losing hair after childbirth, a time when women are already adjusting to the challenges of motherhood can lead to feelings of inadequacy and lower self-esteem. Women may feel less confident about their appearance and self-conscious about their thinning hair or bald spots, impacting their overall self-worth.
Postpartum hair loss can also trigger anxiety in women. Many women invest significant time and effort in their appearance, and losing hair unexpectedly can be distressing. Anxiety may arise from concerns about how others perceive them or how their hair loss may affect their relationships, social interactions, or professional life. This anxiety may manifest as worry, fear, or uneasiness and can further contribute to emotional distress.
Postpartum hair loss can also contribute to depression in some women. The hormonal changes during and after pregnancy, combined with the emotional and physical demands of caring for a newborn, can already put women at risk for developing postpartum depression. Hair loss can be an additional burden, leading to loss, disappointment, or sadness. It can also disrupt women’s self-care routines and contribute to a decline in their mental well-being.
Impact on identity and femininity:
Many women’s hair is closely tied to their identity and femininity. Losing hair after childbirth may challenge their perception of themselves as women and mothers. It can disrupt their sense of femininity and may lead to feelings of loss or mourning for their pre-pregnancy appearance. This change in their physical appearance may also trigger insecurity, leading to questions about their attractiveness, desirability, and sense of self.
Impact on bonding with the newborn:
Postpartum hair loss can also impact the bonding experience between a mother and her newborn. Women may feel less confident or attractive, affecting their ability to fully engage in bonding activities such as skin-to-skin contact, breastfeeding, or taking photos with their newborn. This can further contribute to feelings of guilt or inadequacy, as mothers may worry about not being able to enjoy the early bonding moments with their babies fully.
Coping with the emotional impact of postpartum hair loss can be challenging for women. Women must seek support from their healthcare provider, loved ones, or a mental health professional if they struggle with hair loss’s emotional effects after childbirth.
Supportive measures such as self-care, talking about their feelings, seeking reassurance, and finding ways to boost their self-esteem can help manage the emotional impact of postpartum hair loss. Remember, postpartum hair loss is common for many women, and it often resolves independently with time. It’s important to prioritize self-care and self-compassion during this time of adjustment to motherhood.
Why am I losing so much hair postpartum?
Postpartum hair loss, also known as postpartum alopecia, is common among women after giving birth. It is estimated that approximately 50% to 90% of women experience some degree of hair loss in the first few months following childbirth. The exact cause of postpartum hair loss is not fully understood, but several factors may contribute to this phenomenon.
During pregnancy, a woman’s body undergoes significant hormonal changes, including increased estrogen levels, which help keep hair in the growth phase (anagen) for extended periods. This results in thicker, fuller hair during pregnancy. However, estrogen levels drop rapidly after childbirth, causing more hair to enter the resting phase (telogen) and eventually fall out. This is why many women notice increased hair shedding in the postpartum period.
Hair has a natural growth cycle that consists of a growing phase (anagen), a resting phase (telogen), and a shedding phase (exogen). However, during pregnancy, the resting phase is often prolonged, resulting in delayed shedding. So, when postpartum hormonal changes occur and estrogen levels drop, the accumulated hair that was supposed to be shed during pregnancy starts falling out all at once, leading to increased hair loss.
Pregnancy and breastfeeding can deplete a woman’s body with essential nutrients, such as iron, zinc, and vitamins, crucial for maintaining healthy hair growth. Inadequate intake of these nutrients postpartum can contribute to hair loss.
Stress and sleep deprivation:
Caring for a newborn can be physically and emotionally exhausting, increasing stress and sleep deprivation for new mothers. Stress and lack of sleep can disrupt the normal hair growth cycle and contribute to hair loss.
Postpartum women may also use certain hairstyling practices, such as tight hairstyles (e.g., ponytails, braids) or excessive heat styling, to save time or manage their hair while caring for a newborn. These practices can cause hair breakage or traction alopecia, a hair loss caused by tension on the hair shafts.
Some women may have a genetic predisposition to hair loss, and hormonal changes during pregnancy and postpartum may trigger or exacerbate this condition.
It’s important to note that postpartum hair loss is usually temporary and resolves independently within 6 to 12 months after childbirth as hormonal levels stabilize and the body adjusts to the post-pregnancy state.
However, if you are concerned about your hair loss or if it persists beyond 12 months, it’s recommended to consult a healthcare professional for a proper evaluation and management. They may recommend lifestyle changes, such as improving your nutrition and reducing stress, and appropriate hair care practices to help promote healthy hair growth.
In conclusion, hair loss 7 months postpartum can be very frustrating and upsetting for any woman. Even though you can’t do much about it, you can try to live with the situation and do your best to accept it. You could remove it by cutting it out or shaving it.
Various other factors, such as thyroid disorders, vitamin deficiencies, excessive sweating, hormonal changes during pregnancy, stress, etc., can also cause it. So, if you suffer from hair loss 7 months after giving birth, you must consult a doctor to rule out any medical causes.
How long is the average postpartum hair loss?
Postpartum hair loss usually begins around 2-4 months after giving birth and can last several months. The shedding may be most noticeable when washing or brushing the hair, which can be distressing for some women. However, it is essential to note that postpartum hair loss is typically temporary, and the hair usually regrows independently without any specific treatment.
How do you fix postpartum hair loss?
Postpartum hair loss usually resolves on its own without any intervention. However, there are some steps you can take to minimize the impact of postpartum hair loss and promote healthy hair growth:
Eat a balanced diet: Consuming a nutrient-rich diet with plenty of vitamins and minerals, particularly those that support hair health, such as biotin, zinc, and vitamin D, can help promote hair growth.
Avoid heat and chemical styling: Limit heat-styling tools and harsh chemical treatments on your hair as they can further damage weakened hair.
Be gentle with your hair: Avoid vigorous brushing or pulling on your hair, and use a wide-toothed comb or a brush with soft bristles to detangle your hair.
Keep stress levels in check: High-stress levels can contribute to hair loss, so finding ways to manage stress, such as through relaxation techniques or exercise, may help.
How long does hormonal hair loss last?
The duration of hormonal hair loss can vary depending on the underlying cause and individual factors. In the case of postpartum hair loss, it typically lasts for a few months and resolves on its own as the hormones in the body stabilize. However, other types of hormonal hair loss, such as androgenetic alopecia (pattern hair loss), may persist for more extended periods and require specific treatments for management.
Should I cut my hair during postpartum hair loss?
There is no specific requirement to cut your hair during postpartum hair loss. It is a personal preference. Some women choose to cut their hair shorter as it may help reduce the appearance of shedding and make it easier to manage.
However, cutting your hair does not affect the regrowth of new hair or prevent postpartum hair loss from occurring. Choosing a hairstyle that makes you feel comfortable and confident during this temporary hair-shedding phase is vital.