A fascinating video capturing a woman’s “post-pregnancy shed” at the hairdressers has gone viral, as people are shocked at the extent of the hair loss.
Christina Kreitel, from the US, posted the video on her salon’s Instagram page and reflected on her own experiences of postpartum hair loss. The clip has had more than three million views.
“You know the time, four months postpartum and you fill that drain,” Kreitel wrote. “I’m going through this myself and like to collect it on the wall of my shower. So grossly satisfying.”
Trisha Buller, a senior consultant trichologist, told HuffPost UK the experience of women losing their hair like in the video can be “emotional”.
So why does it happen, and what should new mums do?
The hair growth cycle in general has three stages – Anagen, the growth phase; catagen, a transitional stage; and telogen, the resting phase where hair is released and falls out.
Buller explained that women lose hair post-birth because of changing levels of oestrogen during pregnancy.
“The hormone oestrogen reduces the rate of hair growth, but prolongs the duration of anagen, which is the growth cycle of hair,” Buller told HuffPost UK.
“This is demonstrated during pregnancy when hair shedding decreases. Postpartum is when the hair enters its catagen phase, then it moves into its resting phase telogen.
“This takes place approximately three months after childbirth and is known as telogen effluvium gravidarum.”
Buller said cutting the hair will have “no effect” on hair shedding, but it will improve the condition and prevent further splitting of the hair fibres which, if not corrected, can reduce the density of the hair.
If you feel like you are losing more than 100 hairs per day, Buller said you should seek professional advice from a qualified trichologist.
What else can new mums do about post-pregnancy hair loss?
“Nutrition and diet is key after childbirth,” said Buller. “Due to sleep deprivation and change in diet and lifestyle, quite often mums can notice an excess shedding of hair and the hair condition deteriorates.
“Eating a protein diet, as hair is made up of a complex chain of amino acids, is important for healthy hair growth.”
Buller said shampooing your hair regularly is important to keep the scalp clean, creating a better environment for hair to grow.
“Hair intensive treatments to rehydrate the hair shaft, implementing moisture and protein is key for the elasticity of the hair,” she added.
Buller explained that when women are pregnant, the body struggles to deliver important nutrients to the hair as most are taken up for the baby.
Speak to your GP about ways to ensure you are getting enough iron and vitamin B12.