Generally, women have fuller hair than men do – this is down to the hormone oestrogen, the ‘primary female hormone’. Oestrogen can make hair grow faster and reduce levels of hair loss, which is why in pregnancy around the fifth month most women will notice their hair getting thicker and a rapid reduction in hair loss when oestrogen levels are climbing.
Unfortunately as oestrogen levels take a dip again after birth, hair shedding will begin a few weeks postpartum.
The shed should only last one or two months, however in theory breastfeeding mothers will experience further hair loss as oestrogen levels remain low for a longer period of time. Hair loss is not permanent so mothers shouldn’t let this deter them from nursing, and according to numerous online forums with real mothers putting up their personal experiences, hair loss amongst both breastfeeding and non-breastfeeding women is almost equal as everyone’s postpartum experiences can vary widely.
Prolonged breastfeeding and postpartum hair loss
It is worth noting that prolonged breastfeeding – over three years, can lead to hormonal and even nutritional issues in mothers which is why it is strongly suggested these women take vitamin and iron supplements to keep both their bodies and their hair in healthy and strong shape. Every woman naturally has some level of hair fall after pregnancy, however this is always temporary and down to fluctuating levels in hormones. Pregnancy cannot permanently affect a woman’s hormone levels, if you feel your hair loss is excessive then it is recommended that you see a doctor who can diagnose the root cause of the problem before looking into treatments.
Other reasons for postpartum hair loss
There can be other reasons why your hair is shedding after having a baby which are not directly related to postpartum hormones and breastfeeding. The first and main factor can be stress, having to adjust to a huge new change in your personal life such as a baby can sometimes create stress on new hormonal mothers, as well as their partners. Breastfeeding around the clock, disrupted sleep and the trauma of childbirth coupled with your body’s physical recovery can create emotional and physical stress leading to hair loss. Secondly, changes in grooming routines and new mothers regularly pulling their hair back into tight ponytails and buns can place stress on the already weakened hair roots and cause hair fall.
If you are worried about increased hair shedding, call 0845 359 2915 to make an appointment with our female hair loss expert.