Hair Loss During Pregnancy – Causes & Prevention

Hair Loss During Pregnancy - Causes & Prevention

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Daily hair loss is a normal occurrence. We all lose hair at a steady and continual rate, more so when we wash and comb it. In the growth cycle, at any given time, about 90% of our hair is growing, while the remaining 10% is in resting mode. During pregnancy, most women have thick, lustrous hair and experience hair-fall after delivery. However, in some cases, women find themselves losing hair during pregnancy. Let’s find out about hair loss in pregnancy.





Hair Fall and Pregnancy

It’s natural to worry if you find that your lustrous hair is thinning. But do not worry because this is probably just a phase and will pass. During pregnancy, an increased percentage of hair has a prolonged stay in the retentive stage. This is because the large amounts of oestrogen hormone freeze the hair in the resting phase. Thus, the hair that would have otherwise fallen out stays put and looks thicker. However, post-delivery, as the oestrogen level returns to normal, the resting hair falls out, resulting in increased hair loss.

Is Hair Fall During Pregnancy Abnormal?

Hair fall in early pregnancy is not abnormal, but less common as compared to the loss after delivery. Pregnant women usually enjoy thicker, more luscious hair, as the growth cycle of the hair pauses in the resting period. This delays the hair fall cycle until after delivery. But in certain cases, hair fall may occur during pregnancy, depending on one’s health. Sometimes, hormonal fluctuations also result in hair loss. Hair may fall off from any part of the head, or it may fall in clumps when you shower or brush it. You should keep a check on your hair growth between 6 to 12 months after delivery. If the intensity persists, it may be a hair loss pregnancy symptom and is occurring probably because you have some vitamin deficiency. Consult your doctor in case. Reading further down this article, you can find and relate to the possible causes for hair fall in pregnancy.




Why Does One Lose Hair During Pregnancy?

Generally, pregnant women have thick luscious hair because of the hormone oestrogen. This hormone prevents the hair follicle from falling. However, one cannot expect that the same condition will prevail for all pregnant women, as some lose their hair in pregnancy due to different reasons related to health or hormonal imbalances.

Often, the hormone progesterone, which is released in great amounts during pregnancy, causes dryness. This can result in breaking and cracking of hair strands near the roots. Alternatively, hair loss may be because of vitamin or mineral deficiency in your body. Some of the other causes include discontinuation of birth control pills, or other situations such as abortion or miscarriage.





What Are the Causes of Hair Loss in Pregnancy?

‘Telogen effluvium’ is the term used to describe excessive shedding of hair and it usually occurs one to five months post pregnancy. It is a temporary condition that affects between 40 to 50% of women. The hair loss cycle generally returns to normal within six to 12 months post-delivery. Hormonal instability and certain physical changes can cause such hair loss during pregnancy. Some of the possible causes are listed below:

1. Poor Nutrition

When you are pregnant, your body requires more nutrition. Besides, if you experience nausea in the first trimester, most nutrients are lost. Insufficient intake of nutritious food often results in hair loss. Lack of iron, proteins, minerals and vitamins also contributes to the condition. Do remember that excess intake of vitamins may also be a cause of hair fall.




2. Illness

In some cases, pregnant women have illnesse such as gestational diabetes or some rare occurrence of ringworm (fungal infection), which can lead to hair loss. Some medications used to treat high blood pressure or depression increase the chances of hair fall too. If this happens, do consult your doctor.

3. Hormonal Changes

Changes in hormones are one of the major reasons for the changes in hair, as they interfere with the usual hair growth cycle. This results in excessive hair fall, also known as “telogen effluvium”. This is a temporary condition and is reversed after a few months of delivery.





4. Genetics

Hair loss is associated with the genetic background in many cases. You are very likely to be affected by this problem if your mother had a similar condition during her pregnancy.

5. Thyroid Deficiency

Hypothyroidism is a condition where the thyroid levels are low in the body. This hormone is responsible for regulating metabolism, mental health, digestive processes and even the hair and nails. As a result, deficiency of thyroid may be a cause for your hair fall.




6. Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome

PCOS is caused by hormonal imbalances, which trigger an excess release of male hormones in women. This results in excessive hair growth in women, and the loss of hair on the scalp.

7. Reproductive Causes

It has been observed that discontinuation of birth control pills or other birth control methods often results in excessive hair loss. Abortions, stillbirths and miscarriages can cause major hair fall too.





8. Skin Disease in the Scalp

Many women may face skin allergies and conditions that affect their scalp. This, in turn, contributes to the thinning of hair and even hair loss.

How to Control Hair Fall During Pregnancy?

Hair fall is during or after pregnancy is not a major concern, as the condition is short-lived and returns to normal soon after delivery. But there may be underlying conditions like illness or nutritional deficiency, which cause hair fall and need to be monitored, as they may harm the mother and the baby. Here are some useful hair loss treatment pointers that can help you to reduce hair fall and have healthier hair.




1. Oil Your Scalp

Regularly oiling your scalp can prove very beneficial for the health of your hair. Applying oil twice a week before going to sleep can help nourish your hair. You may even massage your hair once in a while with lukewarm oil. Some of the best nourishing oils are coconut oil, almond oil, mustard oil and olive oil.

2. Avoid Heat Styling

Try to maintain your natural hair type, rather than going for straightening, blow drying and other hair styles. Be gentle with your hair when it is wet and use a wide-toothed comb to untangle wet hair.





3. Maintain a Healthy Diet

It is important that the expecting mother consumes food packed with essential nutrients required for the well-being of herself and her baby. It is recommended that you pick a diet high in vegetables and fruits, containing antioxidants and flavonoids. It will encourage hair growth and protect the hair follicles. Also, supplement your diet with Vitamins C, E, B complex, and zinc in moderate amounts.

4. Try Meditation

Stress is one of the prime reasons for hair fall during pregnancy. It is natural for a pregnant woman to be tensed about her delivery and any possible negative situations, but you should try and be stress-free during pregnancy. Try and focus only on the good things and do whatever makes you happy. Breathe, relax and try meditation to free yourself from worries or tensions.




5. Avoid Chemical Products

You may find a variety of hair care products in the market that claim to solve all hair fall related problems, but it is best to avoid them when you are pregnant. These cosmetics are not safe for pregnant women, as they may contain harmful chemicals. You should only use shampoos and conditioners that contain biotin and silica.

6. No Wet Comb

Some women have the habit of combing their wet hair to untangle it, soon after a shower. This should be avoided. It is because, when hair is wet, the hair follicle is very soft and easy to pluck. If you comb your wet hair, a lot of hair tends to fall out. It is best to wait for the hair to dry out naturally. You can even use a towel to pat it dry.


Home Remedies to Treat Hair Fall in Pregnant Women

Home Remedies to Treat Hair Fall in Pregnant Women

There are many cases where women go through hair loss when pregnant. Besides preventive care for hair fall, you can even try some home-remedies. Here are some effective remedies for treating hair fall:

1. Warm Oil Massage

One well-known natural therapy is head massage. You can massage your scalp with lukewarm oil as it will help to control hair fall. Coconut, almond, jojoba, olive and mustard oils are some of the best options for nourishing the scalp.

2. Aloe Vera Gel

Aloe-vera extracts are widely used for treatment of skin disorders. You may apply the gel on your scalp to cure dryness and infection thus reducing hair fall.

3. Go Organic

Hair fall can occur because of skin infections or allergic reactions of the scalp. Natural products are safe for all skin types and even for sensitive skin. To avoid such allergies and infections, it is best to use natural and organic products for the hair.


4. Antibacterial Neem

Neem is a medicinal herb that proves effective in tackling hair fall caused by skin infections. It has antibacterial properties that prevent the growth of bacteria. You may apply a paste of fresh neem leaves on to your scalp.

5. Amla to the Rescue

The Indian Gooseberry, familiar as amla, is considered to be the best natural remedy for hair fall. You may consume Amla powder orally or massage its oil onto your scalp. It helps strengthen hair and prevents hair fall.

6. Fresh Coconut Milk

Prepare half a cup of fresh coconut milk and massage it into the scalp with your fingertips. Let it sit for 20 to 30 minutes to get absorbed and then rinse it using a herbal shampoo. This helps by nourishing the scalp.

7. Lemon Juice

Prepare a mixture by adding one tablespoon of lemon juice to one beaten egg. Apply this mix to your scalp, let it rest for about 30 minutes, and rinse. It helps prevent hair fall and makes your hair look silky and thick.


8. Soaked Fenugreek Seeds

Form a fine paste of fenugreek seeds that have been soaked overnight. Massage your hair with this paste and wash it off after a gap of 3 to 4 hours. It gives lustre to your hair and stimulates hair growth.

9. Egg, Yogurt and Olive Oil

A mixture of egg, yogurt, and olive oil can deeply condition your hair as well. You may prepare a paste of equal quantities of these three ingredients and apply on your scalp once a week.

Tips To Take Care of Your Hair During Pregnancy and After Delivery

You should know that you are not the only person experiencing hair loss during your pregnancy. Instead of worrying, look for preventive measures and possible cures. There are a number of ways in which you can look after your hair during and after pregnancy. Here are some tips to help you take care of your hair.

  • Protect your scalp from direct sunlight and heat.
  • Increase intake of vegetables and fruits, especially those that have high water content.
  • Have your blood tests done to check if thyroid levels are normal.
  • Avoid brushing or combing your hair repeatedly, especially when wet.
  • Avoid using a fine-tooth comb to brush your hair, instead use a wide-toothed one.
  • Trim your hair at regular intervals to avoid split ends, as it worsens hair fall.

Hair fall is a natural occurrence, and experiencing increased hair fall during and after pregnancy is normal. Taking some extra care of your hair during this delicate period is sure to help you overcome the issue.


References & Resources: Healthline