How to cope with postpartum hair loss after giving birth

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Ferne McCann has opened up about postpartum hair loss [Photo: Getty]
Ferne McCann has opened up about postpartum hair loss [Photo: Getty]

Ferne McCann has revealed she has been suffering from postpartum hair loss since giving birth.

Since welcoming her daughter, Sunday back in November the new mum has been opening up about navigating various post-pregnancy issues.

Earlier this month she shared images showing off her post-baby body after taking part in a 30-day weight loss challenge.

And last month she was forced to defend herself after footage emerged of her appearing to do a shot before breastfeeding her baby as she was getting ready for the National Television Awards.

Now, the reality TV star has taken to Instagram to discuss an issue that affects many mums after giving birth – postpartum hair loss.

Losing hair after childbirth is normal for many women but Ferne admits hers was accentuated after she decided to go from brunette to blonde.

Posting a snap of herself lying on her bed, Ferne said: “You gotta take curr of your hurr.”

“Since giving birth to Sunday I noticed my hair was shedding & thinning more than normal.

“On top of that I decided to go BLONDE…so it’s fair to say my hair wasn’t at it’s best.”

Ferne then went onto explain that she is now taking vitamin tablets and using a vitamin-enhanced shampoo and conditioner.

She added: “It feels stronger, softer & has improved the elasticity.”

So why does postpartum hair loss happen?

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

“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 of hair shedding called postpartum hair fall.”

Reassuringly it’s a pretty common occurrence. Anabel says that a study they conducted found that approximately 50% of women experience postpartum hair fall.

“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,” she explains.

Anabel says that due to the nature of the hair growth cycle, post-partum hair fall usually occurs 6-12 weeks after giving birth or stopping breastfeeding and unfortunately there’s not a lot you can do to prevent it.

“If postpartum hair fall is going to occur, it must be left to run its course,” she explains. “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.”

And there are certain things new mums can do to help boost hair growth after birth.

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

Anabel says that looking after your own wellbeing is vital in terms of hairgrowth. “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.”

She suggests 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 also suggests trying something known as the ‘4 hour nutrition rule’. “Energy to form hair cells drops 4 hours after eating, so snack on a complex carbohydrate if more than this amount of time is left between meals.”

Postpartum hair loss affects 50% of new mums [Photo: Getty]
Postpartum hair loss affects 50% of new mums [Photo: Getty]

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

When it comes to hair products Anabel suggests applying stimulating anti-androgenic scalp drops daily and use a stimulating scalp mask once a week. “Stimulating ingredients include menthol and methyl nicotinate,” she explains. “These will help to optimise the scalp environment and create a good foundation for healthy hair growth.”

Anabel says that 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.”

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