How pregnancy and childbirth can affect your hair

Pregnancy has been kind to Love Island star Molly-Mae Hague who took to YouTube last week to show viewers just how long, thick and healthy her hair is at the moment.

She told viewers that her natural hair has ‘got a lot better’ and that she’s even had her extensions removed. 

However, she added that the fruits of her soon-to-be labour may not last.

In fact, a hairdresser recently told Molly-Mae that she might suffer worse postpartum hair loss than if she hadn’t seen any improvements during pregnancy.

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Like Molly-Mae, Brittany Jones – a 26-year-old from Staffordshire – found that her hair improved massively during her two pregnancies in 2019 and 2021. 

‘My hair was really thin and sat at my shoulders before but then it grew lovely and thick,’ she tells Metro.co.uk. 

‘It ended up growing down to my lower back.

‘It seemed to go from brittle to healthy in a matter of weeks.’

She noticed the change just after the first trimester and, despite dealing with complications during her pregnancies, she felt healthier overall.

‘I think I felt more confident and nourished because I looked healthier,’ she says.

But it didn’t last.

Eight months postpartum, Brittany’s hair changed drastically.

‘Almost half of my hair fell out and now it breaks really easily,’ she says. ‘It’s back to how it was before pregnancy.’

The hair loss caused her to feel extremely self-conscious

Brittany adds: ‘I was used to being able to do a range of hairstyles and now I have to be wary of a thin ponytail or noticeable breakage close to my roots.’

What causes postpartum hair loss?

‘Telogen effluvium’ is the medical term for postpartum hair loss, and it affects between 40-50% percent of women – but it’s rarely spoken about.

So, what causes it?

In short, it’s all to do with hormones. 

‘Women are more likely to experience increased hair growth during pregnancy,’ explains Dr Abdulaziz, Balwi, a hair surgeon and medical director at hair loss clinic Elithair. 

‘This is because of an increase in the oestrogen hormone, which causes the hair to stay in the anagen (growth) phase for longer.’

Hair shedding comes when the hormones balance out following childbirth. It could begin days, weeks or months postpartum. 

Basically, your hair, which has skipped multiple shedding phases, is playing catch-up.

Postpartum hair loss may also be triggered by the stress of giving birth and looking after a newborn. 

Can you treat postpartum hair loss? 

The good news is, it isn’t forever.

Your hair should begin to grow back after a few months (if it hasn’t grown back after a year, speak to your doctor about possible causes and solutions). 

Dr Balwi suggests focusing on diet primarily.

‘As the hormones are unbalanced following childbirth, it’s important to pay attention to your diet,’ he says.

‘Ensuring you’re getting the right amounts of vitamins and minerals will aid in hair regrowth.’

He says that dark leafy greens, sweet potatoes and carrots, eggs and fish are particularly helpful.

‘A course of vitamins that are rich in biotin or keratin can help to strengthen hair growth,’ he adds.

If all else fails, there are also mesotherapy treatments you can get to help stimulate blood flow on your scalp.

If you’re dealing with postpartum hair loss, try not to worry. It’s completely normal.

Just remember help is always available and you’re definitely not alone in your experience.

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