Did you have luscious locks during pregnancy and then wake one day to find your hair falling out in clumps? Welcome to postpartum hair loss which can be distressing for many new mums.
Postpartum hair loss while a ‘normal’ part of having a baby (90% of all women suffer) can be stressful for many women. Hair is a big part of female identity, which undergoes a massive change in the face of new motherhood and hair loss can compound feelings of identity loss.
During pregnancy your oestrogen and progesterone levels rise during pregnancy which causes more of your hair to remain in a ‘growth state’, rather than the ‘resting phase’ where we shed hair, resulting in a full head of luxurious hair. Following child birth your hormone levels drop and this causes your hair to enter the ‘resting phase’ and start falling out again, usually 3-6 months after birth until your hormone levels adjust but can last up to a year.
In Chinese Medicine, during pregnancy you have more ‘Qi’ and Blood in the body to nourish and grow your tiny human. This increased blood also nourishes your hair follicles to promote hair growth and a thick head of hair. Having a baby while amazing, is exhausting and taxing on the body. Postpartum blood loss means there is less blood to nourish the follicles and your hair fall outs. This is one of the reasons ‘nourishing blood’ is so important post partum to nourish the body, restore Iost nutrients and help support postpartum hair loss.
So how much hair loss is normal? We lose on average 80 hairs a day but as a new mum you lose up to 400 strands a day! This explains all the hair in the shower, on your pillow, on your clothes, on your baby……it seems endless. Most of us will lose hair around our hairline and get ‘baby hair’ regrowth while some new mums will end up with bald spots which can be distressing. The good news is, it is temporary and for most new mums shedding will stop around the 6 month mark.
If you hair loss does not slow down there may be an underlying health issue that is worth getting checked out. During pregnancy your levels of ferritin can change and ferritin helps to store Iron in your body. Your Thyroid can also stop working properly and these can both lead to increased hair loss.
So what can you do to help postpartum hair loss? Having a baby is exhausting so try to rest as much as possible, minimise stress and nourish your body. While you can't prevent hair loss you can help to promote hair growth. So eat a healthy diet full of protein and rich in nutrients - foods to ‘nourish blood’ and high in key nutrients will help support new hair growth.
Key Nutrients and foods to support hair growth.
Eating protein is essential for hair growth as hair follicles are mostly made up of protein. Good food sources include organic red meat, fish, eggs, beans, lentils.
Essential for collagen formation which is an important part of your hair structure. Good food sources include broccoli, kale, peppers, strawberries, acerola and amla fruit.
B vitamins and in particular Biotin are associated with hair growth. Good food sources include Dark Leafy greens, Almonds, Good quality red meat
Low levels are associated with alopecia. Research also shows that vitamin D may help create new hair follicles. Good food sources include Oily fish, egg yolks, mushrooms.
Iron is important as it help carries oxygen to your cells. This makes it important for hair growth. Good food sources include good quality red meat, eggs, spinach, lentils.
Silica is a trace mineral that can help to improve blood circulation and strengthen blood vessels which can stimulate blood flow to your hair follicles to stimulate growth. Good food sources include: Oats, Bananas, Spinach, Leeks, Cucumber, Celery
Blood nourishing food.
An important part of Chinese Medicine Diet therapy to nourish mums postpartum these foods contain many of the key nutrients listed above.
🌱Good quality protein - organic red meat, fish, eggs, beans, lentils
🌱Dark green leafy vegetables
🌱Seeds and Nuts
Here at HQ we know it can be hard to get the nutrients you need. Find out how our Post Birth Vitality and Re-Energise products could help you.