Don’t Panic, Selma Blair! The Truth About Hair Loss After Pregnancy

Dec 3, 2011 8:00am

Mildly Inappropriate Mommy lets her hair down …

It’s better to have loved and lost it in the shower drain than never to have loved at all.

I’m referring of course, to hair — specifically, the thick, lustrous hairs that happily sprout on your head during pregnancy and then, not long afterward, abandon your hapless scalp without so much as a “Dear John” letter.

Recently actress Selma Blair revealed she knows this pain too well.

“It just started falling out at the three-month mark,” the new mom, 39, told People magazine. She said she had to spend extra time in the shower collecting her fallen locks to avoid clogging the drain.

As many a mom and ob/gyn will tell you, Blair’s experience is not unusual.

 

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Actress Selma Blair recently revealed that she's lost some hair after her pregnancy. (Jerod Harris/WireImage)

During pregnancy, women may notice their manes thickening enough to give any shampoo commercial model a run for her money. But thanks to  sudden hormonal changes following pregnancy, that once abundant ‘do can thin, explains Dr. Marjorie Greenfield, the division chief of General Obstetrics and Gynecology at University Hospitals Case Medical Center in Cleveland.

While it’s typical for hair to grow and fall out during different times, hormonal shifts that happen because of pregnancy or for other reasons — say, suddenly stopping birth control pills — can cause lots of hairs “to go into old age at the same time and decide to come out,” Greenfield said.

Here’s the good news — while the hirsute accumulation in your shower may have you running for the nearest wig shop, chances are no one else has noticed.

“Generally, the first question we ask when women complain about this, is, ‘Are you complaining about it because of what you see in the shower or what you’re seeing on your head?’ ” said Dr. Donnica Moore, the president of the health education and consulting firm Sapphire Women’s Health Group.

If you are seeing actual bald spots, consult your physician. Otherwise, have patience — for most new moms, the hair loss stops after six months and normal hair growth resumes.

In the meantime, to abate the shedding, try cutting your hair shorter — hello Mom Cut! — and ease up on the brushing, Greenfield suggests.

Personally, I prefer taking some preemptive action: Knowing that I could face postpartum hair loss, I opted to cut off most of my hair before my own follicular exodus began. It was pretty long and strong at that point — thanks, pregnancy hormones! — so I donated it.

Others have done the same, according to Locks of Love. A spokeswoman for the Florida-based group, which collects hair donations to create wigs for children experiencing hair loss, tells me  they’ve received a number of postpartum donations — and, as with other donations, they’re grateful.

“Hair donation in itself is a very personal thing, you’re giving of yourself,” said Locks of Love’s Lauren Kukkamaa.

Give some hair, get a baby: Not such a bad deal, don’t you think?

 

For more Mildly Inappropriate Mommy, read:

‘Scary Mommy’ Blogger Helps 300+ Families Afford Thanksgiving

Doo Doo Duplicity: When Your Child Lies

Chasing Your Kid: Legit Workout or Wishful Thinking?

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