As if it’s not enough for us women to bear a child for 9 months and deal with all the stress, difficulties, weight gain and other daily life Stress, specially when having other kids and a job. After finally giving birth, we have to deal with postpartum and hair loss? This is not what I had in mind about having children. But what to do? No Pain, No Gain!
I had no idea about postpartum and the hair loss it causes after birth. Hair is a woman’s first spoiled child. Losing it suddenly after giving birth is an other–hard to deal with–trauma. Not to mention breastfeeding, sleepless nights and not being able to even take a shower. Only a women, can understand what an other woman is going through. But, Our Angels are such a blessing and are totally worth it. Watching them grow up day after day before our eyes, is worth more than just a small amount of hair. However, it doesn’t mean there is nothing we can do to regain our locks.
Going through after birth changes made me do so many reading and researching in medical articles and personal experiences shared by other moms. In this article, I’m gonna try to talk about postpartum, its symptoms, cures and how it causes us to lose hair like crazy, after giving birth.
What Is Postpartum?
Postpartum or postnatal period is the time that begins immediately after giving birth to our child and extends for about six to eight weeks. It’s the most critical and yet the most neglected phase in the lives of mothers and babies. This period can be a tremendously stressful time for the whole family.
During the days and weeks after the delivery of our babies, our bodies will change as they return to the non-pregnant condition. This period is often characterized by despondency, emotional instability, anger, guilt, tearfulness, worrying, anxious, feelings of inadequacy and the inability to cope.
The Many Faces Of Postpartum
After finely giving birth to your child and getting ready to return to being the regular “you” your body says “stop right there”. I mean, being on a certain state for 9 months is not easy to get rid of. Women go through many physical and emotional changes after childbirth due to Postpartum. However, these changes are different for every woman.
Depression during and after pregnancy occur more often than most people realize. Depression during pregnancy is also called antepartum or prenatal depression, and depression after pregnancy is called postpartum depression.
Approximately 15% of women experience significant depression following childbirth. The percentages are even higher for women who are also dealing with life issues like poverty. The number can be twice higher for teen parents. Ten percent of women experience depression in pregnancy. In fact, perinatal depression is the most common complication of childbirth.
Symptoms Of Depression
- Feeling angry or irritable.
- Lack of interest in the baby.
- Losing appetite.
- Having sleeping disorders or insomnia.
- Crying and feeling sad all the time.
- Feelings guilty, ashamed or hopeless.
- Loss of interest, joy or pleasure in things you used to enjoy.
- Possible thoughts of harming the baby or yourself.
The new mom will need extreme care and support from other family members while going through all of this. However, these symptoms can be developed into risk factors. If you have any of the following factors, you should discuss them with your medical provider.
- A family history of depression, anxiety, or postpartum depression.
- Financial stress.
- Marital stress.
- Complications in pregnancy, birth or breastfeeding.
- A major recent life event: loss, house move, job loss.
- Mothers of multiples.
- Moms whose infants are in Neonatal Intensive Care.
- Mothers who’ve gone through infertility treatments.
- Women with a thyroid imbalance.
- Women with any form of diabetes (type 1, type 2 or gestational).
Moms who are suffering from one of these illnesses, should know that it is not their fault and that they are not to blame. Postpartum and antepartum depression are temporary and treatable. Family support and professional help can make a mom over come depression and return to her regular life after a short period.
Postpartum Anxiety & OCD
After birth, many women struggle with some form of anxiety, whether that be generalized anxiety, panic or obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD). Meaning that women not only feel depressed, but feel hugely, unbelievably, and often devastatingly anxious. One of the postpartum anxiety disorders that women might struggle with is Postpartum Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (POCD).
Studies suggest that 3-5% new moms will experience symptoms of OCD, but the numbers seem much greater than that. There is a ton of shame and guilt that comes along with the very common OCD symptoms. And so many women are afraid to let people know that they are struggling.
Symptoms And Signs
If you have had a baby within the last 12 months you may experience some of these symptoms:
- Racing thoughts.
- Inability to sit still & relax.
- Feeling the urge of keeping yourself busy all the time, like cleaning, checking on the baby or doing work.
- Constant worry.
- Feeling that something bad is going to happen.
- Being afraid to be alone with your baby because of the thoughts. You are also afraid of things in your house that could potentially cause harm to the baby, like knives & stairs.
- Checking on things constantly because you aren’t sure about doing them in the 1st place.
- Physical symptoms like dizziness, hot flashes, and nausea.
- Having panic attacks.
- No appetite.
- Disturbances of sleep.
- You are afraid that this is your new reality and that you’ve lost the “old you” forever.
- You are afraid that if you reach out for help people will judge you. Or that your baby will be taken away.
What you should know is that you aren’t alone in this. These are common disorders that 15 to 20% of new mothers have, and they are completely treatable. Just reach out for help. Having those symptoms while still pregnant isn’t unusual either.
Other important And Probable Symptoms
Other very important symptoms you might experience are the following:
- See or hear things no one else does.
- Feeling paranoid as if others are out to get you.
- Feeling that you or your baby are somehow related to the devil or God in some way.
- Having thoughts of harming yourself or others.
If you’re experiencing one or all of those symptoms, it’s important to reach out for help right now. Your condition requires immediate attention as these could be signs of postpartum psychosis or severe postpartum depression. Unlike OCD, women who suffer from postpartum psychosis do not know that the thoughts that they are having are wrong. They do not necessarily feel like they are going crazy because they are in their own reality that is out of touch with “right” and “wrong. In order to avoid that, it is important to reach out for help right away so that trained professionals can help you get stabilized and healthy.
Postpartum Hair Loss
Hair loss after pregnancy is the sudden shedding (sometimes in clumps) that many new mothers experience between three and six months after giving birth. We normally shed up to 150 hairs a day but not all at once, so we don’t notice them.
Women may notice their hair seem fuller during pregnancy. That’s because high hormone levels keep resting hairs from falling out. When a woman is pregnant her hormones will get altered. During pregnancy these hormones are sometimes reflected with the amount of hair growth and thinning on the scalp. However, once the pregnancy is over the amount of estrogen in the body will drop significantly causing a scary shedding. This is why a lot of women feel they are going bald after the pregnancy is over. But it only takes a little while for their hair to grow back.
What Can Women Do About It?
Despite assurances that “you won’t go bald” the hair loss can be so dramatic that it can leave your hair looking very thin. You can live with this condition until your child blows the first birthday candle. If you’re breastfeeding , some of your extra hair may hang on to your scalp until you wean or start to supplement with formula or solids. Here is what you should do to ease shedding during postpartum period:
- Don’t get a short haircut.
- Don’t put extra stress on your hair, tie it back loosely.
- Treat the existing hair as gently as you can by avoiding excessive styling.
- Don’t sleep with your hair tied back in any way.
- Don’t stop breastfeeding just because you’ve heard that nursing makes postpartum hair loss worse.
- Avoid wrapping your hair in a towel after washing it. A wet, heavy towel puts tremendous stress on the roots of your hair.
- Try out a few products that pump up the volume. such as Batiste Dry Shampoo.
- Maintain a healthy diet. Your body has supported the development of your growing baby and is STILL supporting it through nursing, so your levels of the nutrients needed for healthy hair growth – such as iron and zinc – may be low. Furthermore, you may be skipping meals or grabbing convenience snacks because there is little time to prepare meals.
- Use a detangler spray. Yanking a comb through knotted hair can cause even more hair loss, a detangler makes things easier and quicker.
The major focus of postpartum care is ensuring that the mother is healthy and capable of taking care of her newborn. Everything will eventually end, the stress, the depression and the hair loss. Getting help and family support will help the moms through all these illnesses. So, to all moms out there, don’t hesitate to ask for help, think about your baby’s good and treat your condition while it’s still early.
You Are Not Alone
You Are Not To Blame
With Help, You Will Be Well
You Will Be The Most Happy & Healthy