MARIETTA, Ga. - Amelia Van-Mary, a mother of 4, says her pregnancies were pretty easy.
But seeing her hair falling out into drains and brushes? That was hard.
"After showering and blow-drying my hair, I would look on my bathroom floor and be just in shock about how much hair was on my bathroom floor," Van-Mary says. "And, I was shocked that I still had hair on my head."
So, after her now 10-month old daughter was born, the 37-year old executive assistant found veteran stylist and hair loss practitioner Debbie Williams, of Changing Faces Hair Clinic in Marietta, Georgia.
"Hair loss from pregnancy is very common and very normal," Williams says. "So, what I do is, I start a hair loss treatment program with them while they're pregnant because they're going to lose the hair after the baby."
About 90% of women experience some level of post-pregnancy hair loss,
usually at about the 2-3 month mark, lasting up to 6 months, sometimes longer.
To explain way, Williams says our hair grows in 3 stages. First, there's the anagen, or active growing stage. Next, there's the catagen, a kind of in-between or dormant stage.
In the final stages, the telogen stage, the hair falls out and the cycle begins again.
"When a woman is expecting, her estrogen levels stay elevated," Williams says. "So her body stays in the anagen stage throughout the entire pregnancy. She's healthy, her hair is thick, it's growing because it stays in the antigen stage."
Then, after the baby is born, a woman's estrogen levels drop, and her hair goes into the telogen, or shedding stage.
"If you have thin hair, it's going to be noticeable," Williams says. "But if you have thick hair, only you will know what's going on."
Van-Mary didn't want any chemical hair treatments. So, 2 months ago, Williams began working to strengthen her hair with natural treatments, designed to strengthen her hair follicles with collagen, rice water, and Manuka honey. She also encouraged Van-Mary to tweak her diet, so that she was eating more foods high in zinc, biotin, protein, and omega-3 fatty acids. Now she's eating more blueberries, salmon, walnuts, leafy greens and eggs. Van-Mary says she noticed a change in the way her hair feels pretty quick. It seems thicker, she says.
"It's been really, really helpful, I feel like I have a plan now," Van-Mary says. "Not only with the supplements and the treatments, but diet that I didn't think of before. "