How to stop postpartum hair loss

Here’s what to do if your once-luxuriant locks start falling out after you give birth.


In those bleary but happy first weeks of motherhood, you'll be lucky to get dressed, never mind worrying about what your hair looks like. Until it decides to remind you — by coming out in clumps and blocking the shower stall floor trap.

It’s all down to your hormones. During pregnancy, rising oestrogen levels means your hair remains in the growth phase for a prolonged period — think gorgeously thick, healthy and shiny hair. But your oestrogen levels drop once your little one arrives. This means that the hair that was supposed to fall out during pregnancy but didn't, will start to fall out now.

The good news is that this shedding will taper off within a few months and revert to its pre-pregnancy levels, so be patient.

What causes hair loss

As your hair is getting thinner, it is only natural to feel upset or stressed about it. But this is only temporary. Dr Chih Chien May, a physician and hair loss expert at the DRx Clinic, assures, "Postnatal hair loss usually resolves on its own in a month or two without any special treatment."

However, if the problem continues more than six months after childbirth, then other factors might be affecting your scalp. An expert can pinpoint the exact problem through a microscopic examination of your scalp, along with studying your family history, notes Dr Chih. Sebum plugs, poor nutrition, dirt, stress and hormonal imbalances are just several causes of hair loss.

Try Blackmores Nail, Hair and Skin supplements as well as Neurogain Omega-3 supplements (Tel 6355-3000). Or spring for a nourishing scalp treatment — DRx laser hair and scalp therapy — at DRx Medispa (Tel 6733-2983).

Get a head massage

At home, massage is key in boosting your blood flow. The kneading motion on your scalp for two to three minutes every morning also strengthens your roots. Switch to a shampoo and conditioner that contains biotin (a B-complex vitamin) and silica as it promotes hair growth and ensures a healthy scalp, Dr Chih says. Try Organix Thick & Full Biotin and Collagen Shampoo (Watsons).

Still, a good shampoo and conditioner just aren't enough to ensure thick tresses. Scalp care continues long after your shower. Trade in your brush/comb for a wide-toothed comb as it prevents tugging that may cause further hair fall. If you want to blow-dry, straighten or curl your hair, remember to apply a heat-protecting serum first. Caviar CC cream (Sephora,) promises moisture and shine, plus anti-breakage, heat and UV protection for your hair.

Change your hairstyle

Shedding hair is no picnic, but rest assured that your hair will be back to its pre-pregnancy thickness in about "six to 12 months after childbirth", says Dr Chih. Include plenty of fruits and vegetables in your daily diet as these contain flavonoids — antioxidants that protect hair follicles and boost hair development. Embrace this change and rock a new hairdo. Get a trim or a haircut — this can help your hair look fuller. Also, your short, sassy hairstyle will also be easier to manage when you are busy with a newborn.

Photo: INGimages

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