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Last but not least...postpartum hair loss

You’re three months into newborn life and feeling like the craziness has settled. Your night sweats are done, it doesn’t sting to pee or hurt to laugh, your breasts are no longer leaky facets and your OB/GYN even cleared you for sex. It’s smooth sailing from here, right? Welcome, postpartum hair loss.

This very common (and VERY distressing) condition usually starts around three months after giving birth and can last up to six months. So what’s the deal?

Postpartum hair loss is best referred to as “postpartum hair shredding.” It occurs due to a drastic fall in estrogen levels. The good news is that most mothers will see their hair thickness return to their pre-baby thickness within a year of birth. Try to remember that shedding hair is normal. When you’re pregnant, you hardly shred any hair, so this is the body’s way of “making up for lost time.”

From a Chinese Medicine perspective, we attribute it to blood loss from birth and the taxation on the kidneys from carrying a baby.  Our hair quality is a reflection of Liver blood and the ability to grow new hair is connected to Kidney Qi. Excessive shedding is a sign that we need to be nourished.

At Clear Mountain, I address postpartum hair shedding by prescribing a custom Chinese Herbal formula that aims to nourish blood, with herbs like He Shou Wu.  I also recommend blood-building foods like animal protein, dark leafy green, bone broths, goji berries, beets, and black beans. I give targeted acupuncture treatments to build the patient back up.

Supplements are also helpful at this time. It’s important to continue on your prenatal (or switch to postnatal) supplement after birth, especially if you’re breastfeeding. Excessive hair loss can be due to iron, B12 or B6 deficiency. (Why do we not do a CBC postpartum?!?!) Many people swear by Nutrafol for encouraging hair growth.

Try to trust that your hair shedding with level out. And BONUS, you now have bangs! If you start to see large patches of scalp, or the shredding hasn’t slowed by a year (or sooner if you want!) talk to your doctor or dermologist about different treatment options.

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