Pregnancy occurs when a sperm fertilizes an egg after it’s released from the ovary during ovulation. The fertilized egg then travels down into the uterus, where implantation occurs. A successful implantation results in pregnancy. On average, a full-term pregnancy lasts 40 weeks. There are many factors that can affect a pregnancy. Women who receive an early pregnancy diagnosis and prenatal care are more likely to experience a healthy pregnancy and give birth to a healthy baby. Knowing what to expect during the full pregnancy term is important for monitoring both your health and the health of the baby. Additionally, it’s essential to understand how to treat post partum shedding, a common concern for many new mothers experiencing hair loss after giving birth.
Symptoms of pregnancy
● A missed period is one of the earliest symptoms of pregnancy (and maybe the most classic one). However, a missed period doesn’t necessarily mean you’re pregnant, especially if your cycle tends to be irregular. There are many health conditions other than pregnancy that can cause a late or missed period.
●While pregnancy is usually a happy time, it can also be a source of stress. A new baby means big changes to your body, your personal relationships, and even your finances. Don’t hesitate to ask your doctor for help if you begin to feel overwhelmed.
●Insomnia is another common symptom of early pregnancy. Stress, physical discomfort, and hormonal changes can be contributing causes. A balanced diet, good sleep habits, and yoga stretches can all help you get a good night’s sleep.
●Vomiting is a component of “morning sickness,” a common symptom that usually appears within the first four months. Morning sickness is often the first sign that you’re pregnant. Increased hormones during early pregnancy are the main cause.
Effect Of Pregnancy On Hair
During pregnancy, your estrogen and progesterone levels soar, particularly from the second trimester. Estrogen, in particular, has a powerful effect on multiple systems in the body including the skin and sebaceous glands, and also on the underlying growth pattern of hair. Many women notice improvements in skin and hair quality during pregnancy and fast-growing, hydrated hair. The changes in hair can be attributed to the way estrogen impacts the specific pattern of growth unique to hair.
What Causes Post Partum Shedding
Following labor and birth, estrogen and other hormone levels fall rapidly to pre-pregnancy levels. In addition, cortisol levels remain high, and in some women thyroid hormones can get out of balance. This creates a rapid synchronous transition of follicles out of their growth phase and into the resting phase. Couple this with the lack of sleep, potential nutritional stress and the demands of caring for a newborn and a perfect storm for hair loss is in place.
What is important to note is that when the follicles enter the resting phase, they begin to shed after 3-4 months. Scientifically, this process is known as telogen effluvium. The good news is that the fall is actually precipitated in most cases by the emergence of a new hair that has regenerated from stem cells in the scalp. And, it is important to remember that the hair fall does not happen until 3-4 months after birth, so implementing strategies early can help reduce the severity of the issue.
How to prevent postpartum hair loss
Take care of your hair
When your follicles are in the telogen phase (the resting phase of the hair follicle) they are in their most fragile state and can be dislodged easily. To avoid premature shedding, be gentle with your hair when brushing, washing and drying, and avoid tight hair styles that place too much traction on the follicles. A silk pillowcase can also help to make sure your hair isn’t pulled out in your sleep. Being kind to your hair will ensure your telogen hairs stay in the scalp as long as possible.
Maintain a healthy diet
While the hormonal changes that contribute to postpartum hair loss can be unavoidable, nutritional changes and added demands on the body’s energy after birth can also mess with the hair cycle. When the body is in nutrient imbalance, it shuttles energy to essential organ systems such as the brain, lungs, heart and liver, and away from unnecessary functions such as growing hair. Such changes can exacerbate or extend the period of postnatal hair loss. To avoid this, make sure you eat a well-balanced diet with plenty of protein, leafy greens, fruits and vegetables.
Change your style
Many new moms opt for a shorter, easy-to-manage hairstyle. Not only can shorter hair be styled to hide thinner hair, but shorter hair will also help when the new hair starts to grow in. All or most of the hair that sheds will grow back, but the process takes time. New hairs will appear as fly-aways, so this hairstyle will help the newer hairs blend with the remaining hair and they can grow out together.
How To Treat Post Partum Shedding
● Go natural
During postpartum hair loss, try letting your tresses simply be instead of coloring your hair or using harsh gels and sprays for styling.
You may want to opt for natural oils, which are said to help strengthen hair growth and reduce or stop hair loss:
You can try to add a few drops of peppermint oil to your shampoo it can help moisturize the hair and improve its shine.Consume fish or flaxseed oils. This may help restore optimal levels of essential fatty acids like omega-3, omega-6 and omega-9, which promote healthy hair.You can try to gently massage almond oil or castor oil into the scalp as this can stimulate hair growth.
● Modify your hair care routine
You may find that modifying your hair care routine can help stop further hair loss. Try using a postpartum hair loss shampoo that is fortified with biotin and silica and a deep-moisture conditioner.
Hair is more fragile when wet so brush gently after you wash your hair or wait for it to dry. Set your hairdryer to a cool setting and avoid using hot rollers or straightening irons to prevent further damage that can be caused by excessive heat.
Your hair may also benefit from other specialty products that a dermatologist can recommend, like scalp sprays and hair masks.
● Be patient
Hair loss can be a startling and distressing postpartum symptom for many women but as the old adage goes: this too shall pass!
Try not to stress about temporary hair loss and accept that it is simply a normal part of recovering from childbirth.
In our next post, I would be taking you through hair care routine for babies.
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