The postpartum diaries: weak nails

Welcome to part two of our postpartum diaries series. Part one focused on hair loss. Over the course of this series we will be looking at a range of issues that can affect women in the postpartum period. This period is normally talked about as beginning the moment after the birth of your child and lasting six weeks after birth. The reality is however, that many of the issues we will be highlighting are far more long lasting than that.

The second issue we are addressing is weak nails.

During my first pregnancy I had the best nails I have had in my entire life. They were long, glossy, never peeled, cracked or split and were so strong they rarely got broken.

After a traumatic and very long drawn out induction and the subsequent birth of my daughter, every single one of my fingernails had snapped off within 24 hours of her birth. It was totally bizarre.

Between pregnancies they have had moments when they have been good and during my other three pregnancies they have been reasonable but nothing like the first time.

Each time I have breastfed my nails have been very weak and now all of that is over, I am left with weak nails that split, tear, peel and fray. Growth does not seem a problem but the quality of the nail is just so poor.

Why does it happen?

Pregnancy hormones actually make your nails grow faster, which is terrific for some women, especially if you had poor nails before. For others, nails that grow too quickly can be thin, weak, and easy-to-break. It seems that experiences vary between women but those lovely hormones seem responsible.

When you are breastfeeding so much energy and goodness goes into feeding your little darlings that sometimes we aren’t left with much to nourish our own bodies.

What can we do about it?

Eat a balanced diet and make sure your pregnancy vitamins contain biotin, which is a B-complex vitamin that has been shown to improve nail firmness, hardness, and thickness (and keep hair and skin healthy, too).  Also make sure you’re getting enough biotin in your diet from foods such as nuts, eggs, soybeans, mushrooms, peas, avocados, bananas, milk, and whole grains.

After your baby, be sure to continue taking a multivitamin or consider the vitamin combinations specifically designed for skin, hair and nails. I have recently read that eating a cube of raw jelly a day can help restore your nails but am yet to try that one.

There are also treatments you can apply directly to the nails such as Foltene Nail Treatment. This is brushed directly onto the nail and can help to strengthen and restructure dry and fragile nails.

If you are anything like me then there isn’t one approach that does the job, rather you need a combination of things to try to improve this. I am hoping that one day my nails might restore themselves to something reasonable but at the moment that seems quite far away.

Is this something you have experienced? What has worked or not worked well for you?

Binky Linky

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