You've just delivered a beautiful baby, and motherhood has taken over your life. On those rare moments when you get to comb your hair, what do you find? Large clumps of hair on your comb?
We understand your horror. But, don’t panic. Postpartum hair fall is the most natural phenomenon of your body. "Ayurveda treats pregnancy as a special condition. It recommends holistic therapies that help in controlling hair fall after pregnancy,’’ says Dr. Zeel Gandhi, Chief Ayurvedic Doctor at Vedix.
Let’s understand what causes postpartum hair fall and how you can control it naturally with the help of Ayurveda.
Is Postpartum Hair Loss Normal?
It is not unusual to notice excessive hair shedding in the first 2-6 months after delivery. However, the experiences of women may vary as some may go through postpartum hair fall in one pregnancy, but not another.
- Almost 90% of the women experience post-pregnancy hair fall during which they may shed about 400 hair strands in a day!
Why Does Your Hair Fall Out After Having A Baby?
A dramatic fluctuation occurs in your hormone level during and after your pregnancy. Pregnancy causes a rise in the levels of estrogen, progesterone, oxytocin and prolactin. Also, the volume of your blood rises by 50% more than the normal level, by your due date.
Thus, during pregnancy days, you see a reduction in your usual hair fall rate. After delivery, your estrogen and progesterone levels drop quickly to their normal levels within 24 hours, while your blood volume drops back to normal within a few weeks.
This is when your scalp makes up for the lost period by shedding hair  in much larger amounts than it generally does. In fact, the whole volume of your hair loss may not be more than that you would have shed over the last 9 months.
You just feel like you are losing more hair as it is happening all at once. This type of temporary hair fall due to hormonal imbalances is called ‘telogen effluvium ’.
How Long Does Postpartum Hair Loss Last?
Telogen effluvium occurring after pregnancy is a temporary condition. It gets resolved naturally within 6-8 months after onset, once your hormones calm down and return to their original state.
Ayurvedic View Of Postpartum Hair loss
In Ayurveda, the balance of three vital energies in your body, Vata, Pitta, and Kapha determines your hair health. As per Ayurveda, postpartum hair loss is caused when Vata and Pitta doshas increase in the body.
''Your hair undergoes rapid burning at the roots when high Pitta combines with Vata,'' says Dr. Zeel.
Ayurveda recommends Vata-Pitta pacifying treatments to women from the beginning of the pregnancy with regards to herbal therapies, diet, and lifestyle, which can prevent excessive postpartum hair loss.
How To Control Hair Loss After Pregnancy With Ayurveda?
Abhyanga refers to the practice of applying oils to your body and head before bath. It is one of the effective therapies to control Vata and Pitta doshas. You can add Vata-Pitta pacifying herbs in the oil and bathwater while performing Abhyanga. It is recommended to do Abhyanga twice a week within the first hour of sunrise.
Traditional Ayurveda also includes a practice of tying up the stomach of the new mother with a cloth while performing Abhyanga, so that it prevents the accumulation of Vata in the stomach after the delivery.
It is highly beneficial to new moms to combat hair loss after giving birth to a child. You can also use warm coconut oil or brahmi oil to practice Abhyanga for new mothers.
Abhyanga is strictly restricted during pregnancy.
2. Scalp Massage With Hair Oils
Ensure you gently massage your scalp with warm Ayurvedic oils at least once or twice a week before washing your hair with Ayurvedic shampoo. Massaging stimulates hair growth by enhancing blood circulation to your scalp, while herbal oils pacify overflowing Vata and Pitta energies from your scalp.
Some of the Vata and Pitta pacifying herbs to be used in the hair oils are yashtimadhu (licorice), kumari (aloe vera), amla (Indian gooseberry), shatavari (wild asparagus), jatamansi (Indian spikenard), etc.
3. Natural Hair Masks
Soak a few fenugreek seeds overnight. Grind them the next day and apply the paste thoroughly to your scalp and hair. Leave it for an hour and wash it off with normal water. Fenugreek is one of the best ingredients to control Vata. Using this hair mask twice a week to control postpartum hair loss tremendously.
B. Egg White
Combine two egg whites and 2 tsp of olive oil. Mix well and apply it from the roots to the tips of your hair. Leave it for about half an hour before washing it off with an Ayurvedic shampoo. You can use egg white mask once a week for deep conditioning and healthy hair growth.
C. Coconut Milk
Dab cotton in coconut milk and apply it to your hair roots. Leave it for about 20 minutes and rinse it off using normal water. Coconut milk keeps your hair deeply conditioned and well-nourished. You can use coconut milk for your hair once in a week.
4. Ayurvedic Diet
Along with cooling agents like tridoshic ghee and navneetam, Ayurveda recommends to include Vata controlling foods such as sweets, mung dal, old rice, gourds, carrots, beets, squash, etc in your diet during and after pregnancy.
Ayurveda suggests to strictly avoid Vata and Pitta aggravating foods for pregnant women and new mothers. Foods like curd, lentils, baked foods, fried foods, aerated drinks, vegetables like potatoes, cabbage, peas, etc. should be avoided as they spike up Vata and Pitta in your body.
- Eat warm and freshly cooked food on time.
- Eat silently while you focus on your food.
Consult your doctor or Ayurvedic practitioner before administering any of the herbal ingredients and therapies mentioned in this article to check your suitability based on your medical history.
- Go for a new style of hair cut, which can make your hair look voluminous. Try to keep it short as longer styles may make your hair loss more noticeable.
- Avoid using hair styling tools. Heating your hair with styling tools may increase your hair loss as it damages  your hair follicles.
- An increase in cortisol levels, which is a stress hormone , impacts your natural hair cycle negatively as it may increase your Pitta dosha while compounding the hormonal imbalance post-delivery. Though, it may not be easy for you to relax with a newborn, try to take some time out just for you to keep your stress levels in control, with gentle exercise plans.
- You can rely on vitamin supplements if your diet lacks essential vitamins necessary for healthy hair growth. While waiting for your hair growth to return to normal after pregnancy, you can consider taking supplements of vitamins like B, C, E, and zinc.
- Avoid using chemical-based hair products as it may not only cause harm for your health, but also your newborn child. Pick a natural Ayurvedic shampoo that can keep your dosha levels in equilibrium.
- Also, during and after pregnancy, avoid Vata stimulating activities like excessive traveling, over usage of mobile or any electronic screens, etc. Especially, pregnant women and new moms should avoid air traveling as it stimulates Vata heavily.
Can You Go Bald From Postpartum Hair Loss?
In some cases, prolonged hair loss after your pregnancy can trigger a more chronic form of hair loss known as alopecia . Factors like excessive stress, nutritional deficiencies, etc can cause long-term telogen effluvium, which lasts more than a year. This happens very rarely. See your doctor or Ayurvedic consultant to treat your hair loss immediately if you are diagnosed with alopecia.
The Last Word
Postpartum hair loss is the most common and temporary hair loss, which resolves itself within a year. All you need to do is to support your scalp with exotic Ayurvedic herbal remedies, diet, and lifestyle, which rapidly brings your hair growth to the normal state. At Vedix, we customize your hair care regimen as per your hair needs by analyzing your dosha levels.Know Your Dosha Now