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Dealing with Postpartum Hair Loss

Pregnancy Skin Problems: Hair Changes
Pregnancy Skin Problems: Hair Changes

During pregnancy you may have been thrilled with your thick and lustrous mane of hair. Except for some dryness (which a little deep conditioning takes care of) you may have thought, wow, pregnancy has finally given my hair some life! But then once you have your baby -- poof! You're alarmed, even shocked, to find that your hair seems to be falling out.

No, you're not going bald. This is a temporary phase. In the normal cycle of hair growth, some hair is lost every day. But during pregnancy the increased levels of estrogen in your body freezes hair in the growing (or "resting") phase of the cycle. Hair that would normally fall out stays put, resulting in thicker hair. After you give birth and your estrogen levels decline, however, all that hair that was resting starts to fall out. This usually starts the third or fourth postpartum and ends by six months, says Joanne Stone, MD, an ob-gyn at Mount Sinai Medical Center in New York City and coauthor of Pregnancy for Dummies (John Wiley & Sons). But some women say it can last for a year. This temporary hair loss doesn't mean you're deficient in nutrition or vitamins, says Dr. Stone. It's simply hormonal.

Sometimes hair falls out all over your head. Or clumps may come out when you brush it, or in the shower. However, often women just lose a lot around their hairline, so that their hair looks very fine in the front, or as if they're going bald, says Stephanie Scuoppo, a hairstylist at the Elizabeth Arden Red Door Salon and Spa in New York City.

Here's how to keep your hair looking good during this hairy transition.

1. Get a new cut. First and foremost, pay a visit to a stylist for professional advice, says Scuoppo. It may be time to get a different hairstyle that will incorporate those fine hairs in the front. If you previously had long hair, or a layered cut with pieces that came down to the chin in the front, you may need to shorten that hair into long bangs that frame the face. Celebrity stylist Oribe (whose clients include Jennifer Lopez and Gwyneth Paltrow) agrees that it's a good idea to go shorter in the front. Sexy, short-in-the-middle, longer-at-the-sides Brigitte Bardot bangs would look great, says Oribe. Layering your hair all over will also give you more fullness.

2. Keep hair moussed and moist. Oribe also says that using the right products can give the illusion of fullness. Look for a volumizing mousse at the drugstore or salon. Also, always use a conditioner or a leave-in hair moisturizer after shampooing.

3. Try color. Coloring your hair is always a great way to give it body, says Scuoppo. If you feel that your hairline is receding and you have dark hair, highlighting the front can act as a camouflage. Or try glossing, a treatment that gives hair all-over shine.

4. Change the part. If you normally part your hair in the middle, a side part can disguise thinning hair at the temples.

5. Add texture. Sleek, straight hairstyles make thinning hair more obvious. If you usually blow out your curly or wavy hair, now may be the time to go with your natural curl. If you have straight hair, try using Velcro rollers or a curling iron to give your locks some oomph, says Scuoppo.

6. Wear hair ornaments. Headbands, scarves, and bandannas are fun and stylish ways to disguise hair loss. They're especially popular with new moms who have little time to devote to hair care!

All content here, including advice from doctors and other health professionals, should be considered as opinion only. Always seek the direct advice of your own doctor in connection with any questions or issues you may have regarding your won health or the health of others.