A New Mom’s Guide to Postpartum Hair Loss
You did it.
You gave birth to the most beautiful tiny human.
You love this being with all your heart and you wouldn’t change a thing.
Well, except maybe the hair loss part.
About two to four months after delivering your bundle of joy, you may notice that your hair is losing some luster. Or just plain coming out of your head. In large clumps.
Don’t panic, though! You are not alone. Postpartum hair loss is completely normal.
In fact, on average, 40-50% of new moms report experiencing hair loss after childbirth.
What’s going on?
Postpartum hair loss is caused primarily due to a shift in hormones after pregnancy.
Generally speaking, you lose hair everyday. When you’re pregnant, though, the hair loss actually decreases for the duration of your pregnancy. Mix high levels of hormones and increased blood volume and circulation and you’ve got a glorious recipe for a continuous stage of growth. This is why your hair may appear healthier and more voluminous during pregnancy.
But obviously this doesn’t last.
Your baby has to come out eventually.
And when they do, several hormone levels, including estrogen and progesterone, drop quickly. The increased levels of estrogen during pregnancy helped to slow the normal flow of hair loss.
And, for whatever reason, when those estrogen levels return to normal, the body thinks it needs to make up for lost time and you begin to lose hair at a more rapid rate than you had been. (1)
How much postpartum hair loss is normal?
On a normal day (before you were pregnant) you would shed about 80-100 hairs a day.
It’s barely a loss when you compare it to the average 100,000 hairs on your head. With that small amount you may not have even noticed.
But after having a baby, new moms can shed up to 400 hairs a day.
That’s a big difference.
And really helps to explain why we notice the drastic change.
You go from the best hair of your life, barely losing any of it thanks to the magic of pregnancy (at least there’s one thing you can thank your hormones for!) — to it coming out in clumps whenever you dare to brush it.
The change is a little off putting to say the least.
But again, it is normal. And it WILL come back.
How much hair loss is too much?
Postpartum hair loss is normal.
Yes, it’s been said multiple times. But just making sure you remember.
Because, like you, I’ve been there and it can be disheartening to see all that hair coming out.
That being said, there are some medical conditions that can cause hair loss.
If you think it’s something more, mention it to your doctor and they can help you rule out other problems like a thyroid issue or anemia.
How long does postpartum hair loss last?
Postpartum hair loss starts anytime after your baby arrives.
After that it can last up to your baby’s first birthday. Generally the peak is around 4 months. The hair loss should start slowing down after that.
But there have been cases where it’s lasted longer or not even started until much later.
Reach out to your doctor if you have concerns.
What can you do about postpartum hair loss?
You’ve heard me say Postpartum hair loss is normal about fifty times by now.
And I’m sure that you really just want to get to the “how can I fix it/stop it” bit.
You may not be able to stop it, but there are a few things you can do to help your hair get back to normal.
Yeah, this one seems to be the answer for anything that ails you, right?
That’s because taking care of your body and giving it the good stuff (the vegetables over fries kind of choices), gets you the results you want. So feed it well.
Take your beautiful baby for a walk if weather permits! Or — if you’ve gotten the okay from your doctor — break out the yoga mat or home gym equipment.
Go to the gym if you’re ready for it!
It doesn’t really matter what kind of exercise you do as long as you’re moving.
There’s quite a few vitamins out there that like to boast about their hair growth.
You can choose one specifically for hair growth. Or look for one included with a daily women’s vitamin.
You’ll want to check the label for ones that contain antioxidants like vitamins C and E. Those help to protect the scalp and hair follicles. Biotin and zinc on the other hand are what help fortify your hair and help it grow.
Try a new haircut
Another option would be trying out a new look.
Your hairstylist should know a few different ways to help your hair appear fuller. This could include shortening up the length.
And yes. I know that sounds counterproductive.
The thing is, shorter hair is stronger than longer strands are. That means that even fine hair can appear thicker than it actually is with the right kind of hair cut.
Also stay away from too many layers. They can make your hair appear even thinner.
If nothing else seems to be working for you, you can always try out volumizing shampoo. There’s quite a few options out there that range in price.
You can make the choice on your own or reach out to your hairstylist. Chances are they’ll have an opinion on the one that would work best for you and your hair.
Postpartum — also known as the fourth trimester — can be a scary time.
I mean you just became a mom!
You literally went from being pregnant one day to having to take care of another being the next! (If you don’t count your partner.)
That kind of whirlwind change can be a little daunting.
The last thing you need to worry about is your hair.
Postpartum hair loss is normal and it will come back. Just follow some of the tips above.
You got this momma!
My name is Anna Worms. And yes. I did marry into that name. I’m a women’s health copywriter with a passion for menstrual health especially. I’m a small-town girl from Minnesota and love my little rural community. You know the Twin Cities right? Well where I live is about two hours west of that. Needless to say anytime we want to travel there’s always a little bit of drive time first.