Oh man. Is that MY hair coming out like that??
It’s such a sinking feeling. Maybe you didn’t know about postpartum hair loss, or maybe you just weren’t prepared for the reality of it. But when you discover that your hair is coming out by the brush-full or handful, it can real shake you. A beautiful head of hair is very closely tied to a woman’s self-image, and seeing it fall out in clumps is especially disheartening. To top everything off, it’s hard to hide. It’s not like dark undereye circles, where you can just apply makeup and more or less conceal the beauty blemish. A bald spot is just there, naked, for everyone to see. You can try powders and creative hair styles, but you know that everyone else knows what’s up. It’s more than a bummer for you, and you try to be positive, to tell yourself that it’s all worth it, and you wouldn’t trade that darling, gorgeous baby for all the lush, flowing locks in the world – and it’s true! You adore being a new mom and love the baby who’s caused these crazy hormonal responses – but no one wants to look in the mirror and see themselves falling apart.
But isn’t it all hormones? Is there anything I can actually do to prevent this, or do I just have to suck it up and wait for things to gt better?
No! You don’t have to just accept that you are doomed to lose clumps of hair after your baby is born. There are things you can do!
We all know that “hormones” are to blame for postpartum hair loss, but how, exactly, do they play into hair loss, and what can you do about it?
Why it happens
Most of us have googled the internet enough to know that during pregnancy, high estrogen levels lock hair follicles into the “growing” phase, and once you deliver your baby, estrogen levels dramatically plummet, and all that hair that was frozen in an abnormally long growing phase are “released,” resulting in clusters and clumps of lose hair strands.
If you’re going to give birth you’re going to experience hormonal changes. That’s straight-forward and unavoidable. However, the way in which your body handles those changes can be greatly influenced!!
What you can do
It comes down to proper care and nutrition. Every woman will go through that dramatic drop of estrogen after she delivers her baby, but not every woman experiences it the same. For starters, let’s be frank. Some women are born with great, resilient, lovely genetics that allow them to sail through life’s seasons with hardly a blemish. Most of us, however, must take extra care if we do not want to hit a very hard wall after the age of 22. We have the potential to minimize the more negative effects of rough life changes with much more grace than we realize. All you have to do is give your body the tools it needs to do it’s own damage control, and that comes down to what you put into your body and mind.
I’m not promising that proper nutrition will totally erase all postpartum hair loss, but it can greatly lessen and minimize it, so much so that you will find huge relief and may barely notice the loss.
Make sure you get these things in your diet, and I promise, you will notice a difference! (It takes time – at least 3 months, but that’s simply the amount of time it takes to build up nutrient stores and allow for new hair growth.)
- Zinc. Found in oysters, red meat, lamb, poultry, and nuts and beans, and spinach.
- Biotin. Egg yolks (the whites can actually inhibit absorption of biotin), organ meats like liver and kidneys, nuts, sunflower seeds, milk, and seafood.
- Collagen I & II. Found in animal proteins, such a fish, beef, lamb, eggs, and some plant sources like peanuts.
- Selenium. Brazil nuts are especially high in selenium, as well as tuna, sardines, beef liver, turkey, chicken, eggs, and spinach.
- Chromium. Best sources include broccoli, grapes, potatoes, garlic, grass-fed beef, bananas and apples.
- B5 (Pantothenic Acid). Found in chicken liver, salmon, sunflower seeds, avocados, broccoli, sun-dried tomatoes, mushrooms, cauliflower, and yogurt.
- Folic Adic. Get your folic acid (folate is the natural form) from liver, chickpeas, spinach, asparagus, beets, avocado, and broccoli.
- Iron. Meats such as beef, chicken, organ meats, dark greens (spinach, chard, collards greens), dried fruit (dried figs, apricots, raisins), sardines, and black beans and pistachios have the highest content of iron.
- Copper. Beef liver again takes the crown for food with the greatest content of the nutrient, followed by sunflower seeds, lentils, dried apricots, blackstrap molasses, collard greens, spinach, turnip greens, kale, and mustard greens.
These are all essential for good hair growth. If you are lacking in any of these, any other circumstances that may aggravate hair conditions (like postpartum hormone changes) will be just that much worse. And on top of this, stress plays a HUGE role in hair health (when is stress not a part of the postpartum period?). If you are overworked, or sick, or experiencing a very big life change, your body takes that as a sign that you need more nutrients for vital organs, and hair is just not that essential to survival. So. . . check your stress levels. And ok. You just had a newborn, so there’s bound to be a lot of stress that’s out of your control. So what do you do about that? Because the reality is that stress does some terrible things to you, which can only make recovery harder and much less attractive, and the postpartum period is one of extreme vulnerability for a new mom where she does NOT need stress. So what do you do about that??
You’re going to have to figure out healthy ways to cope with stress, and give your body the tools to be more resilient. Consider adaptogens. They have made a very big difference for me, and boosting your body’s ability to handle stress will make a big difference on your hair.
The best time to deal with postpartum hair loss is long before you deliver. Watch your nutrient intake carefully, and supplement if you think you can’t meet all the nutritional needs through your food.
Take heart! There is hope!