Postpartum hair loss can cause a lot of stress and anxiety for new moms, however, is a completely normal process. In fact, 40-50% of women are affected by postpartum hair loss. Though it’s normal, there are many things new mothers can do when it comes to their diet and lifestyle to prevent drastic hair loss and improve hair growth. Keep reading to learn all about this!
What is Postpartum Hair Loss?
Postpartum hair loss is described as sudden shedding of hair following giving birth. This can look different for everyone. Some mother experience mild hair loss or thinning, while others notice their hair falling in clumps. Both are common and considered normal.
What causes this?
To understand hair loss post pregnancy, we must begin by understanding what happens during pregnancy. While pregnant, the female body produces high levels of both estrogen and progesterone, which result in hair growth. A study looking at hair loss during pregnancy followed 8 women during, and post pregnancy and reported that during the second and third trimester, 85-95% of women’s hair follicles were in the “growth phase”. Naturally, women have luscious hair during pregnancy due to these hormonal changes. The study also reported that three months post pregnancy, we see this number decrease drastically. This normal shedding usually lasts around 6 months or so before new mothers begin to see improvement.
According to a study looking at iron and its correlation to hair loss, pregnancy was one of the number one risks associated with iron deficiency. This is due to the nature of blood loss that happens during pregnancy, especially if a cesarian section is performed. Low iron can cause brittle hair, thinning hair, and hair loss. It is important to get iron levels tested post pregnancy, and if needed, find a good quality iron supplement. Pranin Organic Pure Food Iron is a favourite of mine. The whole food nature makes it highly absorbable and prevents constipation, a common side effect with iron supplementation.
Stress post pregnancy is not uncommon. Let’s be real, being a new mom comes with many emotions, ups and downs, and stressful moments are to be expected. Studies have shown that major stress puts our hair follicles into an extended “resting phase” which causes brittle hair, thinning hair, and hair loss. It is important to work to manage stress post pregnancy, especially while your body is already going through the stressful, natural, hormonal changes. There are many great supplements to help manage stress. One of my favourite supplements is called Rescue Remedy from Bach. It comes in both a spray or drop formula.
Supplements for Postpartum Hair Loss:
Many women can benefit from taking a multivitamin post pregnancy. A lot of women continue their pre-natal for up to a year after giving birth, especially if they’re breastfeeding. This will ensure they are avoiding any nutrient deficiencies which can lead to hair loss. My favourite multivitamin the Women’s Once Daily from Garden of Life. It is made with organic whole foods, making it a highly absorbable and high-quality choice.
Maca can work to gently balance your hormone levels and has done wonders for those experiencing mild to moderate hormonal imbalance. This is common post pregnancy, and is a major cause of hair loss. Organic Traditions has a fabulous maca tailored specifically to women. Maca can be taken with water, or added to smoothies, yogurts, and other dishes. 1 teaspoon a day is usually a good place to start. Be sure to consult a health practitioner if you are looking to add maca to your daily supplement routine.
Collagen is another supplement that is a MUST when dealing with brittle or thinning hair. Collagen is needed to build hair proteins and strengthen the skin around the hair root. Taking a supplement daily will increase these hair building proteins and promote optimal skin around the hair follicle. This can promote hair growth and result in longer, thicker, healthier hair. Naturally, collagen declines as we age, so it is important to supplement if needed. My favourite is Vital Proteins Marine Collagen.
Biotin has been used for centuries to promote healthy hair! Biotin has been shown to stimulate keratin, a fibrous protein known to promote hair growth. A study observing bitoin supplementation in women 21-75 years of age found that this vitamin worked after 90 days of consistent supplementation. Many that suffer from hair loss are deficient in this crucial b vitamin and benefit from ensuring they are getting adequate amounts. Many vitamins tailored to hair health will include biotin, or you may consider taking the supplement on it’s own.
These vitamins are a game changer! These are most definitely on my list of top supplements for overall hair health, especially for those suffering with hair loss or thinning. This supplement contains biotin, collagen, and silica, three key ingredients for strong and healthy hair. They also contain folate, which tends to be low in those that have just given birth. Many notice a difference within 1-3 months of taking this supplement daily.
Sisu Hair, skin & nails is a great supplement for those looking to repair and promote strong hair. This supplement contains zinc, biotin, and horsetail, all of which have been shown to strengthen the hair and promote hair growth. Sisu supplements are all high quality, highly absorbable supplements that can be trusted! This is definitely a supplement to consider if you are looking to prevent hair loss, breakage, or thinning.
Written by Allison Sherkin, RHN, CHNC
Allison is the in-house nutritionist at House of Wellness. She is a registered holistic nutritionist with experience in weight loss, mental health, hormonal balance, and digestion. She is passionate about helping others elevate their health and truly discover their highest potential! Allison believes in products made with integrity and focuses on effective solutions to help her customers and clients.
E;, T. L. B. B. W. F. C. (n.d.). The diagnosis and treatment of iron deficiency and its potential relationship to hair loss. Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/16635664/.
Lau, J. (2021, March 31). Researchers discover how chronic stress leads to hair loss. Harvard Gazette. https://news.harvard.edu/gazette/story/2021/03/researchers-discover-how-chronic-stress-leads-to-hair-loss/.
Glynis, A. (2012, November). A Double-blind, Placebo-controlled Study Evaluating the Efficacy of an Oral Supplement in Women with Self-perceived Thinning Hair. The Journal of clinical and aesthetic dermatology. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3509882/.