For many mothers, it isn’t so. There’s ample research available on hair loss that can occur after childbirth. But female hair loss is as much a reality during pregnancy. You might’ve heard of all those women who had thick, shiny, and luscious hair while they were pregnant. They are also quite vulnerable to experiencing hair loss once the pregnancy is over. But in order to understand how this works, you need to know the stages of the life cycle of your hair.
Stages of Hair Growth Cycle
Each hair follicle goes through three stages in their lifetime: anagen phase, catagen phase, and telogen phase. The first phase is associated with active hair growth and lasts for around 2-6 years. Following closely, catagen phase halts the activities of the first one. The hair follicle stops getting blood supply and soon converts to a club hair. This phase is marked by cellular death, also known as apoptosis. It doesn’t last longer than 2-3 weeks. The telogen phase is that of rest. And if you’re experiencing excessive hair loss, it means that most of your hair is in this phase. In periods of stress, our hair deems it right to enter this stage. It can last for around 3 months.
Normally, at a time, only 10% of your hair is in the telogen phase. Once it is over, your hair will shed, and new ones will begin to develop in their place.
What Happens During Pregnancy?
During pregnancy, hormones, progesterone and estrogen, are certainly not at the normal levels. The latter plays an important role in helping the hair to not fall. The hair stays in the anagen phase of the life cycle. But it comes to end within a few months after the delivery as hair enters the telogen phase. It is here that many women begin to experience hair loss in relation to their pregnancy. However, there is no need to be alarmed as it is a temporary phase. Your hair will grow back so, you don’t need to be anxious. It can most definitely be very stressful, but things will get better with time.
How Can Women Lose Hair During Pregnancy?
The experience certainly isn’t the same for every woman. Many end up losing hair than gaining any. As mentioned above, most of our hair can enter the telogen phase during periods of stress. Pregnancy is one such stress. Our body is preparing in multiple ways to sustain the growth of a baby. Thus, this can be one reason why women may experience hair loss during pregnancy. Hormonal changes can be cited as its reason.
Another reason could be thyroid disorders. Hyper or hypothyroidism can cause over or under-production of thyroid hormone. Either case can lead to a cluster of symptoms, one of which is hair loss. So, it is better to get these checked while you’re pregnant.
Mineral deficiency is another reason why people experience hair loss. It could be of vitamins or iron. Pregnant women, though, are at greater risks of suffering from iron deficiencies. Some situations can further aggravate the condition such as closely-spaced pregnancies.
Alopecia areata or traction alopecia can also be the cause of this so you shouldn’t completely rule them out. Androgenetic alopecia, which is pattern baldness, affects both men and women. It is hereditary and has no permanent solution other than hair transplant surgery.
Hair fall has many reasons. In any case, you should first consult your doctor about it. Once the right cause is determined, you can choose the most appropriate treatment for it.