Being a new mom can be one of the most emotionally rewarding — and challenging — experiences a woman faces. And while you may have anticipated your body to go through a whirlwind of changes, you may not have expected your hair to start falling out in clumps.
Also referred to as postpartum hair loss, telogen gravidarum, and telogen effluvium, excessive hair shedding after childbirth (which would occur anywhere between two and four months after giving birth) can affect between 40 and 50 percent of women, according to statistics from the American Pregnancy Association.
“When a woman is pregnant, she has a lot of extra hormones in the body, including estrogen,” says Christine Carlan Greves, a board-certified obstetrician and gynecologist in Orlando, Florida. “The estrogen helps protect us from losing our hair. Then when she has the baby, there’s a sudden change in the hormone levels, including a drop in the estrogen. And this shift can cause a response in the body that may affect the hair cycle.”
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