One bonus to the hormone changes that happen during pregnancy is a thicker, and faster growing head of hair. Most women find this as a welcome side effect to growing that bundle of joy! While some may attribute it to the extra in their prenatal vitamin, the boost in hair growth comes from the increased presence of estrogen. Along with other functions during pregnancy estrogen helps to promote hair growth and are exceptionally high in the first trimester. It should be noted that this hormone does not make MORE hair grow, but makes your hair grow more often. Normally your hair grows 80-90 percent of the time and “rests” the remaining portion of the time. When estrogen levels are higher your hair has fewer “resting” phases. 
After you deliver your baby, estrogen levels in your body drop dramatically and in the one to five months postpartum, 40 to 50% of women experience telogen effluvium – or postpartum hair loss. This can be called excessive shedding, hair loss, hair thinning – this phase does not lead to complete hair loss but hair can be noticeable thin in severe cases. Telogen effluvium is not limited to just the scalp, it can also impact the eyebrows or pubic region.  Hair loss after pregnancy can be very mild, but for some it can be noticeable and cause for concern.
Healthy Hair Diet
While you won’t be able to stop the drop in estrogen that happens in your body. There are several nutrients that may help you retain hair, or regrow hair faster. There are current experiments happening that may give us a more defined approach to handling hair loss with dietary change but for now there are a few things we know:
- Vitamin and mineral deficiencies can aid in hair loss. If an individual is deficient in iron, zinc, vitamins B6, or vitamin B12 this could lead to further hair loss.  The best way to combat this is through a balanced diet rich in produce. If you are struggling to eat balanced meals right now continue to take your prenatal vitamin and focus on incorporating some of the foods lists below.
- Flavonoids and antioxidants protect your hair follicles. These nutrients help to protect the body and can help lessen the amount of hair loss while also helping to regrow hair more quickly.
Essential Food for Healthy Hair After Pregnancy
Hair loss tends to peak three to five month postpartum so including certain foods in your diet on a regular basis in those post-partum days can help you have a healthier scalp and hair. Here are some foods high in the vitamins and minerals mentioned above:
- Egg: high in biotin which is a B vitamin
- Oysters: provide zinc which helps tissue growth and repair
- Sweet Potatoes: rich in vitamin A, this food provide antioxidants to protect your hair follicles
- Red, yellow, and green bell peppers: providing vitamin C which promotes the formation of collagen which is a structural fiber in the body.
- Lentils: High in protein which is necessary for all cell growth
- Spinach: This leafy green is high in iron and folate (a B vitamin)
A colorful diet full of fruit, veggies, and lean sources of protein is great for the body regardless of where you are in your post-partum journey, These foods can help provide your body with the nutrients it needs for healthy hair.