Being a new Mom is a balance of hearing "do this for the baby", "make sure you keep taking this for the well-being of the baby", "don't forget the DHA", along with questioning, "will this affect the baby while breastfeeding?"
Honestly it's a lot to navigate. Then something happens to you.. something you might not have necessarily been anticipating. You were prepared for the added weight, the milk coming in, the lack of sleep...but then your hair..on your head.. starts FALLING OUT. Maybe leaving you with a patchy scalpy reminder of the way pregnancy changes our bodies.
So you weren't given a whole lot to go on but Doctor did recommend you keep taking your prenatals after pregnancy. Let's dive into that, was it to help with postpartum hair loss? Is it enough? Is it even to help you ?
Why you keep taking prenatals for Baby
Let's look at what a typical prenatal should have in it: essential nutrients like calcium, iron, and folic acid should be a cornerstone. Doctors may or may not do due diligence and look at your diet before recommending you stay on your prenatal but the idea is if you are breastfeeding, the baby is going to receive nutrients from you and the diet you consume. Baby is going to need adequate levels of vitamin A,D,E and K. For that reason your Doctor may have recommended you keep taking your prenatal while you breastfeed.
What about Mom?
Giving birth is.... well, tiring. Firstly you just lost a lot of blood. Couple that with lack of sleep and newborn care and you might not be living your most vibrant life at the moment. Often times Doctors will recognize you might not just be tired but also feeling weak. More often than not the prenatal vitamin contains higher doses of iron that can help you restore your energy levels. Some doctors may solely suggest you supplement with iron while others will recommend the full prenatal.
Back to your hair falling out
Ok.. so we sidetracked a little but let's get back to the fact that your hair is falling out and all you were recommended was iron or a prenatal. To do this let's look at the best vitamins to help the hair.
1. Vitamin A: All cells need vitamin A for growth and this includes hair. Vitamin A also helps skin glands make sebum which is responsible for moisturizing the scalp and keeping the hair healthy.
2. Biotin: (B vitamins) Probably the most recognized vitamin for hair growth is biotin. Biotin deficiencies is commonly linked to hair loss. Other B-vitamins help create red blood cells, which carry oxygen and nutrients to the scalp and hair follicles. These processes are important for hair growth.
3. Vitamin C: Vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant that helps protect against the oxidative stress caused by free radicals. HUH? ... Free radical damage can block growth and cause your hair to age. So you get why you want to keep consuming Vitamin C? Also it's a super powerhouse because it helps the body absorb iron and we need that mineral for hair growth.
4. Vitamin D: Alopecia is the technical term for hair loss and if you have Vitamin D deficiencies you will typically fall in that category. It's somewhat surprising but plenty of people don't get enough Vitamin D and it's a big factor in hair loss.
5. Iron: we touched on the importance of it earlier for Mom's energy. Women are particularly deficient and it's a major cause of hair loss. Iron helps red blood cells carry oxygen to your cells. This makes it an important mineral for other functions of the body, including hair growth.
6. Zinc: Zinc plays an important role in hair tissue growth and repair. It also helps keep the oil glands around the follicles working properly. Postpartum women will often complain of pain in the scalp and hair follicles. Zinc helps ensure these glands are working correctly and eliminating that build up.
7. Collagen: amino acids in collagen supplements act as building blocks for thicker hair. It is hypothesized that the amino acids in collagen supplements help your body make more keratin, which contributes to thick, healthy hair.
Ok so we've covered some of the best vitamins for hair now ideally you would go and compare with your prenatal. Chances are your prenatal will have some of these in low doses with a focus on other vitamins for babies health like DHA. The fact is taking a prenatal is going to be better than nothing most likely because it will have some. However, if your focus is on the hair falling out on your head you may want to consider a supplement like the Baby Blues postpartum hair vitamin with a focus on biotin, collagen, vitamin A, and more more of the vitamins and minerals we covered for the sole purpose of hair health.