By Claire Gillespie
November 21, 2019

The physical changes you go through when you have a baby don’t end when you give birth. In fact, the so-called “fourth trimester”—starting from the day your little one arrives to when they hit the three-month mark—can be a period of big changes in your body.

One of the not-so-welcome fourth trimester changes is hair loss. At first you might notice a little more hair on your brush, and before you know it, you’re clogging up the drain every time you shower. If you enjoyed the perk of gloriously thick hair during pregnancy, it can be even more traumatic to see it literally slip through your fingers.

Postpartum hair loss—and hair loss in women in general—isn’t often talked about, but influencer Jeannette Ogden has taken the brave step of sharing her experience on Instagram. The mom-of-two posted a picture yesterday showing her bare patches of hair, revealing in the caption that she “wasn’t sure” if she even wanted to share it.

Ogden initially sent the photo to another mom on Instagram who had spoken about postpartum hair loss in her story, and said when she looked closely at it she “got kinda bummed.”

RELATED: 6 Ways to Deal With Postpartum Hair Loss

“Just look at all the hair that’s fallen out..,” she wrote. “i’m not looking for sympathy, just sharing what i’m currently going through and i’m NOT ashamed. sometimes embarrassed by it but this world (especially being on social media) has us thinking beauty is specific when it’s truly not. this is a variation of beautiful, says the girl who’s losing her hair but incredibly filled with happiness. (sic)”

Postpartum hair loss all comes down to hormones, Adeeti Gupta, MD, founder of Walk In GYN Care in New York City, previously told Health. When you’re pregnant, estrogen levels rise, encouraging hair growth and improving hair texture. But after you give birth, estrogen decreases, which can have the opposite effect. Any vitamin deficiencies you had during pregnancy, as well as fatigue from those inevitable sleepless nights, are contributing factors.

RELATED: 21 Reasons Why You're Losing Your Hair

As Ogden's post shows, you’re not alone if your hair is thin and patchy after pregnancy. According to the American Pregnancy Association, up to 50% of new moms experience postpartum hair loss. And there’s more good news: it’s only temporary. Dr. Gupta said it usually takes three to four months for postpartum hair loss to subside and a hair growth phase to cycle through.

In the meantime, Dr. Gupta recommended adding lots of protein, vitamin-rich foods, green leafy vegetables, eggs, and dairy to your diet to boost hair growth. She also suggested taking postpartum hair-loss vitamins, such as vitamin D, B-complex vitamins, and omega-3 supplements.

If you want to disguise your hair loss, the right hairstyle can work wonders. But forget all about the ponytail, aka the new mom failsafe. Samantha Sheppard, lead stylist with Glam+Go, recommended against all pulled-back styles, which can put your tresses under even more pressure and emphasize thinning hair. Instead, opt for a blowout. “[It’s] an easy way to add volume and create the illusion of thicker hair,” Sheppard previously told Health

RELATED: Charlize Theron's Stunning New Pixie Cut Is Proof She Can Rock Any Hairstyle

And if you’re brave enough to go for the chop, a short style can disguise thinning hair and instantly create what looks like more volume. Sheppard suggested a bob, lob, or pixie cut.

Of course, you might just want to embrace your postpartum hair loss and accept that it’s a completely natural process millions of other moms are going through, too. As Ogden says, “this is motherhood and it’s pretty frickin cool. (sic)”

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