With Mother’s Day just around the corner, we wanted to address some of the common questions that we receive from new or expecting mothers regarding their postpartum hair loss.
Having a baby is certainly stressful on its own, but experiencing hair loss during that time just adds to the anxiety. While we get a lot of questions from women after the birth of their child, we also get a lot of questions from women that are either trying to get pregnant or currently pregnant. The reasons for treating hair loss during those times can certainly differ and the options that are safe and appropriate differ as well.
During pregnancy, many women will actually see improvement in their hair naturally due to the increased levels of estrogen that the body is producing, and estrogen is very good for hair health. That being said, some women still have hair loss concerns during pregnancy or may have already begun treating their hair loss. The only hair loss treatment that we would recommend during pregnancy would be low-level laser therapy. We would not want to do any treatments and we would not advise taking any supplements not recommended by your OBGYN.
According to the American Pregnancy Association, postpartum hair loss affects between 40-50% of new moms. The truth is that during pregnancy, the increased levels of estrogen can have a significant positive effect on your hair, which extends the growth phase of many of your hair follicles and end up losing less hair during pregnancy. As the hormone levels normalize after pregnancy, this causes more hairs to move out of the growth phase and into the resting phase or telogen phase, which can increase shedding. For some women, the shedding can be quite profound and will peak around 4 months after birth. Over the next few months, the hairs that shed will regrow on their own, but there are treatments available to increase the regrowth speed.
For women experiencing excessive post-partum shedding, the hair should regrow on its own over time, but as we said there are options to speed up this process and improve the new hairs coming in. However, the treatments available depending on whether the mother is breastfeeding or not. For new moms that are breastfeeding, the only treatment that we would recommend would be low-level laser therapy, like a laser cap. If you are not breastfeeding, the options increase. For actively shedding patients, we would want to stick to low-level laser therapy and appropriate supplements. If there is no active shedding and some underlying Androgenic Alopecia (Female Pattern Hair Loss) that is being treated, we would be able to pursue additional treatment options like Optimal Platelet Concentration™ Therapy and minoxidil.
It is always worth scheduling a consultation. The consultation is important because the medical staff will review your entire medical history to determine all possible causes of hair loss. Even if you are unable to start treatment at that time, you would be able to set up a plan for when you could start, and as most types of hair loss are progressive, it is important to be proactive with treatment.
Whether you are about to become a mom, are a new mom, or are an experienced mom, Happy Mother’s Day!