You may be prepared for a body in flux post-pregnancy, but did you know that hair loss is also part of the postpartum experience? Here's what to expect:
WHEN IT STARTS: Two to four months after you give birth.
WHEN IT STOPS: Three to six weeks after the initial onset.
WHY IT HAPPENS: In most non-pregnant people, up to 10 percent of hair follicles are in the resting phase, or not producing hair, at any given time. Hormonal changes during pregnancy, such as a boost in estrogen, drastically reduce these rest periods (essentially extenging the growth cycles), giving moms-to-be lush, full hair because fewer strands are falling out.
(Additionally, when estrogen is high, androgen — the male hormone that causes oil production — is low, so your hair feels drier. Hydrate your locks with a deep moisturizing conditioner twice a week.)
When estrogen drops post-pregnancy, the rest mode kicks into overdrive, causing up to 30 percent of the follicles to not produce hair, when hair falls out, it takes longer to replace.
CAN YOU PREVENT IT: "Eating a healthy diet rich in B vitamins and protein will give you healthier hair, but it won't stop post-pregnancy hair loss," says Michael Reed, M.D., associate professor of clinical dermatology at NYU Medical Center.
WHEN TO GET HELP: See a dermatologist if your hair is noticeably thinner by your baby's first birthday.
Most experts say that it takes most new moms up to a year to get back to their old selves. From hair loss to soreness down there, our Post-Baby Body Guide helps you handle seven new-mom complaints.