Congratulations, you have just achieved the greatest feat known to humankind: you made a person. You have born the weight of a bulging body, you have bravely faced the challenge of birthing and triumphed, you are working around the clock – forgoing sleep, sanity, possibly even wine – to nurture and protect the precious new life with which you have been blessed. And now, when all you ask of life is perhaps a moment’s reprieve, to catch a small break for your efforts, your hair starts falling out.
No, it’s not fair. And yes, it is the last thing a new mum needs. Thankfully though, postpartum hair loss (or ‘telogen effluvium’ if science is your first language) can be minimised, and in some cases even prevented, with a few simple solutions. But before we get to those, we should probably look at why postpartum hair loss occurs in the first place.
Hormones: the culprit for most of our womanly woes has also left its fingerprints at this crime scene. During pregnancy a woman’s body experiences soaring estrogen and progesterone levels which keeps hair in a perpetual state of growth. That’s why the famed ‘pregnancy glow’ also extends to the luscious, shimmering manes we see on expecting women. But in the months following childbirth these hormones begin to level out and that’s when things can get a little hairy, pardon the pun. Within the first six months after giving birth most women will experience some degree of shedding. David Salinger, the Australia-based director of the International Association of Trichologists, says it’s fairly common for new mums generally to shed about 400 hairs a day, whereas a woman who hasn’t recently given birth sheds only about 40. But having said that, if you see your hair coming out in large clumps or notice that the shedding isn’t slowing down after the six-month mark, there could be a bigger issue at play affecting hormone regulation.
The first things to look at would be thyroid function, nutritional deficiencies and of course, stress. Pregnancy and motherhood gives a lot but it also takes a lot. After giving birth a mother can be left nutritionally and emotionally depleted from the monumental task of growing and nurturing her baby. Managing stress with things like mediation, mindfulness practices and regular gentle exercise – even for a few minutes a day – can greatly help to mitigate many of the symptoms women experience in early motherhood including hair loss. A well-balanced diet full of good quality protein and healthy fats is also crucial for establishing hormonal balance, which in turn affects hair growth. Sometimes though, it’s difficult to obtain everything we need from food even if we’re eating perfectly, which, let’s face it, is hard to do at the best of times let alone with a newborn baby. This is where a high quality, specifically formulated supplement can work wonders to plump up those nutritional stores for optimal hair health. Aéde Power Activist contains beneficial doses of key nutrients to assist with rebalancing hormone levels and increasing hair growth. Some of these key ingredients include:
Biota Orientalis - traditionally used in Chinese medicine to improve and increase hair growth and assist with reducing hair fall.
Iodine (Potassium Iodide) - aids in the production of healthy thyroid hormones which help control hair growth, repair damaged cells and support a healthy metabolism.
Selenium - a trace element that has been scientifically proven to assist in healthy hormone production
Saw Palmetto - helps to reduce certain types of hereditary hair loss by slowing down enzymes that convert testosterone into the potent androgen hormone, DHT.
There are also a few simple things you can do externally to minimise loss and maintain the integrity of your hair. What to Expect pregnancy resource recommends:
• Be extra gentle during your shedding season to prevent excess hair loss after pregnancy. Shampoo only when necessary (as if you have time to shampoo at all!), and use a good conditioner and a wide-toothed comb to minimize tangling.
• Use scrunchies or barrettes to put your hair up instead of rubber bands, and don't pull the hair into tight ponytails.
• Skip blow dryers and curling and flat irons if you can – heat can damage the hair and cause breakage.
• Try to put off any chemically based treatments like highlights, perms and straightening until the shedding stops.
Keep in mind, if your hair loss is excessive and ongoing despite these measures it’s best to see your healthcare practitioner. When combined with other symptoms, hair loss after pregnancy can be a sign of postpartum thyroiditis.
*Always consult with your doctor before introducing a new supplement while pregnant or breastfeeding.