As a woman with already thick hair I don’t look forward to those luscious locks bestowed on women during pregnancy. My already thick hair does not look pretty when it gets thicker, it just isn’t a good look for me. Not to mention the crazy growth spurt pregnant hair often goes through. By the end of nine months I has more than my fair share of hair, way more than my fair share. Then the postpartum hair loss started, yikes what a mess.
For women with thin hair, looking to add a little body, the changes that take place with your hair during pregnancy can be a blessing. Those longer, fuller locks can be beautiful. For those with already thick hair, not so much.
So what exactly causes those longer, fuller locks during pregnancy? A normal cycle for hair when you are not pregnant is to grow approximately 1/2 inch a month for 2-6 years at which point it enters the “resting” phase where it doesn’t grow for 2-3 months and then finally it falls out. Everyone loses hair continuously. During pregnancy the rate of hair growth often increases and hair remains in the resting phase longer than normal. The rate at which a pregnant woman loses hair slows causing her hair to become thicker and since it is growing faster it also gets longer.
But, all good things must come to an end. Once the pregnancy is over the hair begins to return to a more normal cycle. The rate of growth slows and all that hair that was in the resting phase begins to fall out. Hence the large quantities of hair that fall out after you deliver the baby. Most women will experience this increased hair loss immediately after giving birth. You will continue to lose hair in large quantities for several months. Most women experience the most significant hair loss during the 3rd month postpartum. Some women do experience some thinning of the hair before their hair returns to it’s normal growth/fall out cycle.
My hair, as I mentioned is extremely thick at the best of times, and grows fairly quickly. However, during pregnancy it goes to a whole new level. My hair grew over 6 inches in 5 months and got so thick I could barely wrap a hair elastic around my ponytail twice! The quantity of hair that gathers in the bathtub when I have a shower is scary. It literally looks like I’ve killed a small animal, gross! I’ll be glad when the hair loss slows, although it can keep falling out all it wants since I still have way too much hair for my liking.
If you are at all concerned about how much hair your are losing or you are getting bald patches be sure to discuss your symptoms with your doctor. Hair loss is normal during postpartum, but if you are losing to much hair it could be sign that something else is going on.