Causes of Hair Loss During Pregnancy
Hair loss during pregnancy can also be the result of underlying chronic or unaddressed health issues. Two of the most common causes of hair loss related to chronic health issues are thyroid disorders and low iron.
If your thyroid is overactive, you may experience hyperthyroidism, a condition characterized by a large range of symptoms including possible hair loss. The same is true of hypothyroidism, when your thyroid produces too little hormones. These conditions can affect women while they’re pregnant or afterwards. Hypothyroidism, which is the more common condition, affects up to 3 percent of women during pregnancy. Symptoms can include sensitivity to cold, weight gain, constipation, and intense fatigue. After delivery, around 5 percent of women develop postpartum thyroiditis. If you suspect you have an underlying thyroid condition, see your doctor, who will order the proper blood tests to determine the cause of your symptoms.
Low iron is another common cause of hair loss, particularly during pregnancy. Although your body always needs iron, this is especially true during pregnancy, when your blood supply surges to deliver blood and oxygen to the baby.
Most experts agree that you need a certain amount of iron per day depending on your age and sex: 8 milligrams per day for girls 9–13 years old, 15 milligrams per day for girls 14–18 years old, 18 milligrams per day for women 18–50 years old, and 8 milligrams per day for women 51 and older. For these reasons, and because iron is primarily found only in specific food groups, anemia can occur during pregnancy. Along with hair loss, those with low iron may also have headaches, fatigue, and chest pain or a fast heartbeat.