Why Hair Loss During Pregnancy?

Hair loss can develop at the different periods of our lives. Increased age, major stress, menopause are common periods at which hair loss and the alterations of the body occurs. Hair loss problem can also be seen at pregnancy or after birth most of the time. There are both the natural process of physiological changes at the body and other inputs that constitute the reasons for hair loss due to pregnancy.

Why hair loss during pregnancy? This problem occurs after pregnancy because this period brings about physiological changes and these changes contribute to the various processes of the body in terms of increasing, decreasing, activating and inhibiting them.  According to specialists, it is a typical shift for women to experience lesser hair loss and more hair loss after giving birth. Physiological equilibrium seems to be the main cause of this problem. In addition to that, if the hair loss is at an extreme level, there could be vitamin deficiencies at the body which could be important. A healthy diet and regular exercise under the supervision of your doctor help to reduce the risk of possible deficiencies during pregnancy. I tried to summarize the other possible relationship between hair loss and pregnancy.

The growth process of hair starts from its roots. Hair root takes the necessary ingredients and the anagen phase initiates the growth. The anagen phase takes a long time and it is the major determinant of the length of the hair. The growing phase of the hair does not continue forever and other stages follow it afterward.

There is an interval for hair to weaken. After this, the next step for the hair is passing through an inactive period called the telogen phase in which old and weaker hairs stay inactive while the new ones become active. This process lasts for several months. At the last phase, exogen phase is the stage at which the old hair will be lost while new ones becoming stronger and longer.

All hairs could differentiate in terms of the existing phases. There are approximate normal amounts for each of the phase in terms of their duration and their distribution. A hundred hairs shed is counted as perfectively normal on a daily basis.

When the different kinds of stages of hairs exceed the normal level, the distressing amount of hair loss will occur. If the duration of the anagen phase is lower than usual, the amount of hair that is gone increases. Intervention to the hair loss problems generally involves the purpose of activating the anagen phase which hair growth happens.

Hair Loss During Pregnancy

According to a variety of research and specialists, there seem to be no pregnancy factors for hair loss if any. On the contrary, many pregnant women report development at the volume and shine of the hair during pregnancy. I explained the reasons for this situation in the below parts.

If there is a hair loss problem during this period, there could be other reasons beyond the pregnancy-related conditions. Seeing a doctor for any possible vitamin deficiency, major stress or physiological imbalances could be the best steps for these kinds of cases.

Hair Loss After Pregnancy

Hair loss related to pregnancy is a common issue and there is various research to detect the underlying mechanism for this situation. In a healthy cycle, the active stage of the hair lasts several years whereas resting stages maintains several months. Intense examinations conducted by scientist revealed several results at the different points of pregnancy.

Pregnant women’s hair roots are distributed to a higher amount of anagen phases comparing to their amount of hairs at the anagen phase before pregnancy. This favor of pregnancy results in healthier, stronger, nicer and much more hair compared to their non-pregnant times. This alteration lasts for the first week after delivery but after six weeks there is a dramatic decrease at the number of hairs at the anagen phase.

At the normative levels, increased hair loss after the four months of birth that lasts for two months is perfectly normal. As I stated, there is a rise of anagen hairs during pregnancy because of the high levels of estrogen which enacts these responses. After giving birth, there is a compensation for hairs which are supposed to have gone already and did not do it during pregnancy. That is why the hair loss becomes salient at the two months after birth.

Although it may seem distressing to most of the women, approximately eight months after delivery, the hair cycle, amount and distribution of the phases back to the normal.  Sometimes there are unusual cases about this equilibrium process. For example, there are women who did not experience any hair cycle changes during or after 2 or more pregnancy.

Some specialists say that their hair roots become desensitized to the alterations because of pregnancy. Also, there may be extreme hair loss problems after pregnancy and there is no single main cause for that so seeing a dermatologist is necessary in those cases.

Contraceptive Use and Hair Loss

Using contraceptive as birth control sometimes cause hair loss problems. Specialists report that women who use contraceptive pills develop hair loss. Unfortunately, both the use and quitting the contraceptive pills result in hair loss problems. This issue raised a concern and lead to a variety of research examination. 

There is an interaction between genetic predisposition and hormonal alterations related to contraceptive pills in accordance with female hormone increase. Generally, contraceptive pills result in a good outcome for hair growth because of its impact on the activating phase of the hair cycle. Studies demonstrate that there are two pathways for the relationship between hair loss and the contraceptive pill use among women:

  1. Discontinuing birth control pills: The first one results from discontinuing contraceptive pills. This birth control pill has a positive impact on female hormone levels. Thus, stopping the use of this pill results in a reverse effect for it. Specialists suggest that the reason behind the hair loss may result from this link. 
  2. Side effects of birth control pills: The second pathway constitutes the side effect of contraceptive pills in accordance with the female hormones. The possible outcome of the contraceptive pill is an increase in the level of progesterone hormone which may cause hair loss. It is very important to observe the hair cycle during the use of contraceptive pills especially there are other health problems occurring as well.

Other Factors Related to Hair Loss

There are other possible factors that are related to hair loss problem. I mentioned that there is not a considerable fact related to a hair loss problem during pregnancy. In the case of a considerable hair loss problem at pregnancy, the following factors may account for the current issue. 

1)Physiological Changes and Hair Loss

Stress means change for our body. Physiological stress results from changes in our body in accordance with birth, sickness, surgery, fever etc. may cause hair loss because of the lasting effects of activities related to these conditions. Both chronic and sudden stress may play as a contributory factor for hair loss. 

2) Psychological Distress and Hair Loss

There are a number of cases of hair loss resulted from chronic and sudden intense psychological distress. The exact relationship between stress and hair loss is still immature in terms of scientific investigations. Currently, research asserts some important findings, but these results do not involve everyday hassles. Still, the association between the two seem to require attention. 

3) Nutritional Factors and Hair Loss

Two most accepted nutritional deficiencies as one of the causes of hair loss are zinc and iron deficiency. They play a significant role in the hair growth process so one of the precautions could be considering to watch the intake of them.

Diet generate a risk factor hair loss. If you have a very poor diet, you can suffer from protein, calorie, and fat deficiencies. These factors are vital for your physiological operations. They also lead to hair loss. For instance, fatty acid deficiency causes hair loss if it exceeds  4 months.

In addition to that, there are some cases in which hair loss is thought to be associated with vitamin D and biotin deficiency. Since these are important elements in the process of cell growth, it is useful to have a mind on this relationship.

Related Questions

How can I stop my hair from falling out during pregnancy?

As I stated that, in normal conditions hair loss significantly decreases during pregnancy. If you are experiencing hair loss during your pregnancy, there could be other reasons which you can see under other factors related to hair loss section. Nutritional imbalances, psychological distress, physiological changes might play a role in the hair loss problem. However, seeing a doctor would be the best idea because there could be other problems as well. 

What happens to your hair during pregnancy? 

During pregnancy, a great number of hairs that are at the anagen phase which directly influence the appearance and volume of your hair. During pregnancy your hair looks healthier and as I explained this is due to the increased amount of estrogen in the body which protects your hair from falling. Thus, in a typical pregnancy period, there are a fewer number of hairs which are at the period of the telogen (resting) stage which leads to more beautiful hair appearance. 

Can a pregnant woman use castor oil for hair?

Castor oil use is a common method that is used for a number of reasons. There are hair tonics that involves hydrogenated castor oil that is applied to the scalp by means of massage. Castor oil is assigned as a promoting factor for hair growth. There are also other oils like mustard and coconut that has a link with the hair growth cycle. However, there must be an approved amount and density in the treatment for them to lead a good outcome.

In ancient Egypt, castor oil is used to start the birth process. There are studies investigated the relationship between castor oil and its effect on the birth process. Specialists explain that there is a positive relationship between the two. Castor oil increases the likelihood of the start of the birth process. Thus, you should definitely consult your doctor before using castor oil for your hair loss problem during pregnancy.

There are also other benefits of castor oil if you are interested in:

  • It may help you to develop muscles.
  • It can relieve constipation if it is taken orally. 
  • It is a very good and healthy moisturizer with the addition of other natural oils like coconut oil. 
  • Castor oil is also recommended as a fighter against acne. Bacteria-related acne could be prevented by castor oil. 
  • Castor oil is a natural hair conditioner and it can be used for promoting scalp health. 

How can I increase my hair growth during pregnancy?

Actually, it is not necessary to try to increase hair growth. During pregnancy, there is a remarkable increase in hair growth already. Lots of women report that their hair looks brilliant during their pregnancy but if you have any problem there could be other reasons as I said before. 

The more distressing problem occurs after pregnancy. All the shiny and increased volume starts to back to the normal. Since this process occurs fast compared to the increasing state, there could be a misunderstanding about hair loss after birth. It is typical to have an increased amount of hair during pregnancy, and it is typical to lose them after giving birth. Thus, it does not require to do extra precautions after delivery.

However, there are natural and safe ways that could be applied both for your health and empowering the regrowth process. You can avoid intense hair loss operations like hair straightening or curling that make the hair is exposed to an excessive degree of heat.

You can also avoid tight ponytails to prevent tearing of hair. If you are worried about your hair, taking into account your physical state of health is the best option to consider. There are lots of reasons behind the hair loss and if you do not have a disease that is already related to hair loss, you can control other variables. 

Savaş Ateş

I'm a hair loss expert. The picture was taken 10 years ago :) I have been losing my hair. So I started to learn everything about hair loss and hair transplants. I contacted a lot of hair transplant doctors. We shared our experiences. I'm writing blog posts for people who have the potential of losing their hair. I give some tips about hair transplants and medical issues too.

Recent Posts