Abbey Clancy's pregnancy hair loss struggle: What to do if you're suffering too

Abbey Clancy at the British Academy Television Awards in May [Photo: Getty]
Abbey Clancy at the British Academy Television Awards in May [Photo: Getty]

Abbey Clancy has revealed she’s been suffering from hair loss during and after her third pregnancy.

The model, and wife of footballer Peter Crouch, gave birth to son Johnny six months ago but is still suffering from the fairly common hair loss side effect of pregnancy.

Unsurprisingly, her confidence has been knocked.

“Every day I’m like, ‘My hair’s thinner and thinner’ – so that’s hard and it does knock your confidence,” the 32-year-old told Closer Magazine.

“My hair was falling out throughout my whole pregnancy with baby Johnny – and still is now, so it’s fallen out loads.

“I didn’t dye my hair during pregnancy and it went quite dark but, as soon as I had the baby, I wanted to go blonder and feel more like me and get back my confidence.”

So why does postpartum hair loss happen? Yahoo Style UK spoke to Anabel Kingsley, Trichologist at Philip Kingsley to find out why so many women suffer after giving birth and what you can do about it.

Why do women experience hair fall after pregnancy?

“During pregnancy, raised oestrogen levels keep hairs in their anagen (growth) phase for longer than usual,” explains Anabel.

“After giving birth, or stopping breastfeeding, these levels drop, returning to normal. This can cause hairs retained during pregnancy to shed in a short period of time, resulting in a type hair shedding called post-partum hair fall.

“Due to the nature of the hair growth cycle, post-partum hair fall usually occurs 6-12 weeks after giving birth or stopping breastfeeding,” she adds.

How common is it?

Pretty common. “In a study we conducted, we found that approximately 50% of women experience partum hair fall,” Anabel says.

“We do not know why some women experience it and others do not. It is impossible to predict and it can also occur after one pregnancy, but not another.”

Can it be prevented?

Sadly not. “If post-partum hair fall is going to occur, it must be left to run its course,” Anabel says. “But try not to worry, the loss is only temporary and all hairs lost should grow back as usual.

“However, it can be made worse by certain factors or continue for longer than it should – and these can often be avoided.”

Up to 50% of women suffer from hair loss post pregnancy [Photo: Getty]
Up to 50% of women suffer from hair loss post pregnancy [Photo: Getty]

So what can we do about it?

“Hair carries great psychological importance, but physiologically it is non-essential. This means it is very sensitive to metabolic imbalances,” Anabel explains.

“Post pregnancy, you can undergo both mental and physical stress. You may find it hard to eat a balanced diet, or be able to sleep as much as you should – and these can impact the hair adversely. Your nutrient levels, especially iron and ferritin (stored iron), may also have been affected by blood loss during birth.”

Here’s what Anabel recommends:

1. Diet and supplements

It may be difficult to take care of your own wellbeing when you are looking after a newborn, but it’s very important in terms of hair growth. “As your system re-balances, your hair is going to be last on your body’s list of priorities to nourish and it often needs some extra internal support,” Anabel says.

She recommends trying to eat nutrient rich meals that contain plenty of protein and iron. “A palm-sized portion of a ‘perfect protein’ (i.e. one that contains all essential amino acids) at breakfast and lunch is a good starting point. Examples are eggs, fish, lean meat, poultry and low-fat cottage cheese.”

“Foods highest in iron are red meats,” Anabel continues. “Energy to form hair cells drops 4 hours after eating, so follow the ‘4 hour nutrition rule’ and snack on a complex carbohydrate if more than this amount of time is left between meals.”

Taking a daily protein supplement and a multi-vitamin containing iron, Vitamin C, Biotin, Vitamin B12 and Vitamin D can also be of great help in boosting growth.

2. Useful products

Anabel recommends applying stimulating anti-androgenic scalp drops daily and using a stimulating scalp mask once a week. “Stimulating ingredients include menthol and methyl nicotinate. These will help to optimize the scalp environment and create a good foundation for healthy hair growth such as Philip Kingsley Tricho 7 and Philip Kingsley Stimulating Scalp Mask.”

“Breakage can also thin the appearance of the hair. To strengthen and add elasticity to strands, use a pre-shampoo conditioning treatment once a week. This can be applied to your hair at the same time your scalp mask is applied to your scalp,” Anabel adds.

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Read more from Yahoo Style UK:

We’re totally here for this empowering Instagram account celebrating women’s post-baby bodies

Hair loss: Why it happens and what you can do about it

Why bump-shaming is a real problem that pregnant women are experiencing