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Hair Loss During Pregnancy: Causes & Treatments 2023
Do you lose hair when pregnant? If yes, you need to know that pregnancy is a transformative experience that brings about numerous changes in a woman’s body. Among the most common changes that women experience during pregnancy is hair loss. While it is normal for women to lose hair every day, hormonal changes during pregnancy can cause significant hair loss for some women.
Hair loss during pregnancy’s second trimester can be a source of concern and anxiety for many women, who may worry that the condition is a sign of a more serious problem. In this article, we’ll explore the causes of pregnancy-related hair loss, the various treatment options, and what women can do to manage or prevent hair loss, among others. If you’re expectant and you’re losing hair, we hope this article helps.
Do You Lose Hair During Pregnancy?
Hair loss during pregnancy can occur in some women, but it is not common. The hormonal changes during pregnancy can affect the hair growth cycle, leading to hair texture and thickness changes. However, in most cases, this condition is temporary and should resolve after delivery. If you’re expectant and you’re experiencing significant hair loss, it’s important that you speak with your healthcare provider to rule out any underlying conditions and develop a safe and effective treatment plan.
Symptoms Of Hair Loss During Pregnancy
Here are some of the symptoms of hair loss you should look out for during pregnancy:
- Excessive shedding of hair during brushing or washing.
- Thinning hair or bald patches on the scalp.
- Hair becomes weaker and more brittle.
- Hair that is dull and lacks shine.
- Changes in hair texture, such as curly hair becoming straight or vice versa.
- Receding hairline or widening part in the hair.
- Experiencing an itchy or flaky scalp.
You’re probably wondering, “is losing hair a sign of pregnancy?” Well, it’s important to note that while during pregnancy, hair loss may occur, don’t hesitate to consult your healthcare provider if you experience sudden and severe hair loss during pregnancy.
What Causes Pregnancy-Related Hair Loss
Pregnancy-related hair loss can be caused by various factors, including hormonal changes, nutritional deficiencies, and physical stress. Here are some common causes of pregnancy-related hair loss.
Hormonal changes during pregnancy can lead to hair loss due to the shifts in the normal hair growth cycle. Normally, hair grows in a three-phase cycle: anagen (the growth phase), catagen (the transition phase), and telogen (the resting phase). During pregnancy, elevated levels of estrogen can prolong the anagen phase, leading to thicker and fuller hair.
However, after giving birth, estrogen levels drop, and the hair that was in the prolonged growth phase shifts into the telogen phase, leading to increased shedding and postpartum hair loss. Additionally, changes in other hormones, such as progesterone and prolactin, can also contribute to postpartum hair loss. These hormonal changes can also exacerbate underlying conditions, such as thyroid disorders, contributing to hair shedding.
Nutritional deficiencies, such as low iron levels, vitamin D, or biotin, can cause hair loss. During pregnancy, the body requires increased amounts of nutrients to support fetal development. One common deficiency during pregnancy is iron, resulting in iron-deficiency anemia, as the body produces more blood to support the developing baby.
Research has shown that low iron levels can increase the risk of losing hair in early pregnancy in women. It is important to regularly attend prenatal appointments where a midwife or doctor monitors your iron levels. If you have any concerns regarding your iron levels or potential hair loss, do not hesitate to speak with your healthcare provider and your registered dietitian.
If, during pregnancy, your diet is not balanced or if you’re not taking prenatal vitamins, this can easily lead to hair falling.
When we experience stress, our bodies produce higher levels of the hormone cortisol, which can negatively affect our skin cells and hair follicles. Cortisol can disrupt hair follicles’ normal function and growth cycle, leading to hair loss. This is why people say that stress can accelerate the aging process.
If you’re losing hair during pregnancy, boy or girl, stress may be a contributing factor resulting in a condition known as telogen effluvium. Whether it’s pregnancy-related stress or other personal or professional challenges, it’s important to manage physical stress during pregnancy through proper rest, nutrition, and medical care to minimize the risk of hair loss.
Diminished Thyroid Levels
Low thyroid levels, or hypothyroidism, can lead to hair loss in pregnant women because thyroid hormones are crucial in regulating hair growth. The thyroid gland produces hormones that help regulate metabolism, which includes the growth and maintenance of hair follicles.
When thyroid hormone levels are low, it becomes challenging to stimulate hair growth, and follicles can become weaker, leading to hair loss. Low thyroid hormone levels can also cause changes in the hair growth cycle, leading to hair thinning.
Thyroid disorders can cause a premature transition from the anagen to the telogen phase, resulting in telogen effluvium or temporary hair loss.
Poor Hair Care
Experiencing excessive hair shedding while pregnant may lead you to believe that it is related to your pregnancy, but other factors could be causing it. One such factor is traction alopecia, which occurs when tight hairstyles repeatedly pull on the hair follicles.
It’s worth considering your recent hair care practices to identify any potential habits that may be causing hair damage. Poor hair care during pregnancy can contribute to hair loss by causing damage to the hair follicles, making the hair more prone to breakage and falling out. This can include the use of harsh chemicals, excessive heat styling, tight hairstyles, and not properly caring for the scalp, which can lead to inflammation and damage to the hair follicles. By switching to a more gentle hair care routine, you may see improvements in your hair health after about six weeks.
Treatments For Hair Loss During Pregnancy
If you’re pregnant and experiencing hair loss, this can be due to stress or hormonal changes, and it’s common for women to experience hair loss during the postpartum phase. Generally, in such cases, time is the best remedy, and no specific action is required.
However, if you suspect an underlying medical condition, it’s important to seek professional advice to determine the safest and most effective hair loss treatment for you. Minoxidil, a common treatment for hair loss, is not considered safe during pregnancy, while medications like levothyroxine, used to treat hypothyroidism, are deemed safe by the Food and Drug Administration.
With the various treatment options available, you must consult with your doctor to develop a safe and effective plan to address your pregnancy-related hair loss.
Tips To Prevent Pregnancy-Related Hair Loss
While it may not always be possible to prevent hair loss during your pregnancy, certain behaviors may help minimize it. Two effective methods are adopting a healthy diet and lifestyle and being aware of any potential underlying health conditions.
Eating a diet rich in spinach, eggs, oily fish, avocados, nuts, and seeds can also provide the necessary nutrients for healthy hair growth and reduce the risk of hair loss symptoms. Spinach is a great source of iron that helps carry oxygen to the hair follicles, promoting healthy hair growth. Eggs are rich in biotin, a B vitamin that helps to strengthen hair and promote growth. Oily fish, such as salmon and mackerel, are high in omega-3 fatty acids, which can improve hair density and reduce scalp inflammation.
Avocados are a good vitamin E source, which helps improve blood circulation and promote hair growth. Nuts and seeds, such as almonds, walnuts, and pumpkin seeds, are rich in zinc, which helps to support healthy hair growth and prevent hair loss. Additionally, these foods are also rich in other essential vitamins and minerals, such as vitamin D, vitamin B12, and folate, which all play a crucial role in maintaining healthy hair. Incorporating these foods into your diet can provide the necessary nutrients to support healthy hair growth and reduce the risk of hair loss symptoms.
A whole foods diet rich in fresh fruits and vegetables, healthy meats, and eggs while limiting processed and sugary foods can be a great first step. This type of diet can provide you with more energy and help prevent anemia. Incorporating daily fun and relaxing activities into your lifestyle can also help manage stress, which can worsen autoimmune conditions and thyroid disorders.
Is it normal to lose hair during pregnancy? Well, experiencing hair fall during pregnancy can be concerning, but it is often a normal occurrence due to hormonal changes. However, in some cases, underlying health conditions or lifestyle habits can contribute to hair loss. Maintaining a healthy diet and lifestyle, like managing stress and seeking professional help, can help regrow hair and prevent prenatal and postpartum hair loss. Being proactive will alleviate any chance of experiencing permanent hair loss.
It is important to note that some hair loss treatments may not be safe for pregnant women, and speaking with a healthcare provider before using any medications or treatments is crucial. Women should also be aware that hair loss can continue postpartum, but it often resolves on its own.
Overall, pregnant women experiencing hair loss should focus on caring for themselves and their babies and trust that with time and patience, their hair will likely return to its pre-pregnancy state.
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