Post-Pregnancy Hair Loss – How Long Does It Last & How To Deal With It

Post Pregnancy Hair Loss - How long does it last and can you prevent postpartum hair loss?

When your baby is born, your life changes for good. This adorable tiny human that you grew inside of you takes up all the space in your heart while hijacking all the hours in your day.

From giving birth to taking care of your new baby while being sleep deprived, to accepting the changes your body is going through; the postpartum journey can be quite overwhelming.

With your self-esteem dwindling already, an unpleasant surprise befalls you which is postpartum hair loss. Due to fluctuations in pregnancy hormones and changes in the hair growth cycle, most women experience hair loss in the postpartum period.

Even though it may seem scary to many new moms, postpartum hair loss is normal. From one mom to another, rest assured that you will regain your normal hair growth and hair loss will be a thing of the past.

Read on to understand what postpartum hair loss is, how long does postpartum hair loss last, and what are the best postpartum hair loss treatment options. Remember, this excessive shedding is temporary so be kind to yourself Mama!

This article is not a substitute for medical advice.

What Is Postpartum Hair Loss

Postpartum hair loss, also known as telogen effluvium, is the excessive hair shedding faced by many women after giving birth. It normally starts when your baby is 3-4 months, usually peaking at the 4-month mark1. You’d be surprised to know that this is totally normal. By your baby’s first birthday, you will have regained your hair fullness back.

It occurs due to the fluctuating hormones in your body, namely estrogen and progesterone. After giving birth, the decreased hormone levels, especially of estrogen, lead to hair loss2.

It is important to understand that postpartum hair loss is not considered true hair loss because you are actually just shedding the extra hair you gained during pregnancy.

What Causes Postpartum Hair Loss?

To understand this, let’s take a look at the science behind hair growth. Hair grows from follicles in our scalp. When a hair falls out, new hair grows in the follicle and the cycle restarts, over and over again. The hair growth cycle has three main phases:

  1. Anagen phase: This is the active growing phase, lasting between 2-6 years. The majority of our hair is mostly in this active growth phase, around 85% to 90%.
  2. Catagen phase: This is a transitional phase where the follicles shrink from their original size.
  3. Telogen phase: This is the resting phase or resting stage that spans over 3 months. It ends by releasing the hair from the follicles, resulting in increased hair loss.

During pregnancy, estrogen levels are quite high, resulting in those luscious long hair (at least for some women, because some of us have gone through not-so-pleasant hair changes during pregnancy).

The hair that would have normally shed does not fall until 3 to 4 months after giving birth, which you can also think of as the shedding phase, which causes postpartum hair loss.

How long does postpartum hair loss last

When Does Postpartum Hair Loss Start?

You must be wondering when does postpartum hair loss start? The American Academy Of Dermatology says that postpartum hair loss begins soon after giving birth, due to the decreased hormones that once surged throughout pregnancy.

Postpartum Telogen effluvium peaks around the 4th month of having your baby. Many women find extra clumps falling off, especially when they are brushing.

This is because a large number of your hair enter the resting stage or telogen phase, which results in excessive shedding of hair.

How Long Does Postpartum Hair Loss Last?

In postpartum hair loss, hair falls around the 3rd month of having your baby, peaks around the 4th month, and gradually the shedding improves. The hair loss should be over by the time you celebrate your baby’s first birthday3.

Don’t worry mama about all that extra hair you have lost, because your new hair will make up for it.

However, it is advisable that you take care of your health throughout and make sure to visit your healthcare provider if the hair shedding continues beyond your baby’s birthday.

Your doctor might be able to identify another cause of chronic hair loss (such as low vitamin intake) and recommend a few blood tests to rule out some systemic diseases that might be the reason behind your hair fall.

Tips For Dealing With Postpartum Hair Loss

American Academy Of Dermatology recommends a few tips and tricks to manage postpartum hair loss. Your hair fall will improve before you blow the candles on your baby’s first birthday cake, but a little care here and there can do wonders for new moms.

1. Choose The Right Shampoo

It cannot be stressed enough how choosing the right shampoo for postpartum hair loss can bring so much change to your whole outlook.

The most effective shampoo for combating hair loss is one that is safe to use during pregnancy and breastfeeding, does not contain harmful chemicals, and contains organic ingredients that leave the hair light and clean without weighing them down.

Use volumizing shampoos that are often fortified with protein. Volumizing shampoo will add to the fullness of your hair. Also, opt for products intended for fine hair because their lightweight formulas will not weigh down your hair.

Dermatologists recommend avoiding using conditioning shampoos as they can cause build-up on your scalp and leave your hair limp. Remember to use conditioner only on the tips through the mid-length of your hair, and avoid the roots4.

It is best to steer clear of intensive conditioners and other hair products or treatments until your hair health has recovered.

2. Avoid Harmful Ingredients

It is important to note that certain ingredients can cause more harm than good and should definitely be avoided when you struggle with hair loss during postpartum:

  • Phthalates: They are used as gelling agents but can cause scalp inflammation leading to hair loss.
  • Retinols: These are not recommended during pregnancy, and healthcare providers suggest that nursing mothers should avoid them despite minimal systemic absorption.
  • Parabens: They can cause irritation to the scalp while fading your hair color.
  • Some essential oils: They can lead to thinning of hair along with chemical burning and allergic reactions.
  • Formaldehyde: It can lead to hair loss due to its hair-thinning property.
  • Sulfates: These cleansing agents can strip the hair of natural oils and lead to brittle damaged hair, which can increase shedding.
  • Propylene glycol: A known skin irritant, it is known to weaken the hair at its root, intensifying hair loss.
  • Synthetic fragrances & colors

3. Be Gentle

Make sure to be gentle while washing, brushing, and shampooing your hair. Use a good conditioner that is easy to wash off.

Avoid tight hairstyles such as tight ponytails as they can weaken the roots of the hair.

4. Get A New Hairstyle

It is time for your visit to the salon. Getting a different hairstyle from an experienced stylist can help your hair look fuller.

5. Ditch The Styling Tools

It is best to avoid heat-styling tools while your hair is vulnerable. Put away the curling iron, blow dryers, and flat irons.

6. Healthy Diet

It is recommended that you continue the prenatal vitamins you were using during pregnancy. Your body (and your hair) needs all the extra help it can get while you’re taking care of your new baby.

Be generous with fruits, vegetables, and proteins in your diet to promote good hair health.

Does Every New Mom Experience Postpartum Hair Loss?

Hair loss is very common in women after pregnancy and childbirth. Around 40% to 50% of new moms5 experience postpartum hair loss. As I said, this is a normal part of motherhood. You will watch your hair grow again and hair loss will be a memory of the past, rest assured.

How much postpartum shedding is normal

How Much Postpartum Shedding Is Normal?

According to a dermatologists, we normally shed as much as 100 hairs per day.

Pregnancy and childbirth alter our hormones and physiological functioning, resulting in the shedding of almost 300 hair strands per day6, which can be quite stressful for a new mom who is trying to do the best for her baby. A healthy diet and patience will help you in the recovery of your gorgeous hair.

Does Breastfeeding Affect Postpartum Hair Loss?

Many women think that their hair starts falling more after starting breastfeeding. This hair loss is, as mentioned before, due to the dip in hormones returning to pre-pregnancy levels.

It is quite common to experience postpartum hair loss during breastfeeding, but nursing your little is not the cause. There is no proof or medical research that associates breastfeeding with postpartum hair loss.

Does Hair Loss Worsen With Subsequent Pregnancies?

No medically backed evidence suggests that hair loss worsens with every next pregnancy. It is more of a coincidence considering the wear and tear our bodies experience with each pregnancy.

Besides, you must have noticed your new hairs sprouting after the shedding from your last pregnancy. Hence, it is safe to say that there is no link between the worsening of hair fall with subsequent pregnancies.

How Long Does It Take For Hair To Grow Back After Pregnancy?

Your hair grows back by the time you celebrate your baby’s first birthday. If the hair fall persists, it is best to visit your healthcare provider.

How To Prevent Postpartum Hair Loss

There is not much you can do to prevent postpartum hair loss but it helps to be aware beforehand, so you can cope with it better. Just follow the aforementioned tips to manage it till it subsides.

Watch Out For Hair Tourniquet

New moms should always inspect their baby’s hands, feet, and other parts to look for a hair tourniquet that can wrap around, tightly cutting off blood circulation7. It is quite rare but always ensure to remove stray hair strands if you find them on your baby.

The purpose of this article is informative. It’s not a substitute for professional medical advice or medical care. Remember: safety first! Consult your doctor/pediatrician in case of any doubts. The author of this article does not accept any responsibility for any liability, loss or risk, personal or otherwise, incurred as a consequence, directly or indirectly, from any information or advice contained here.


About Me - Zooey BarnettHello Moms! I am Zooey. I am a wife and a mother of three amazing kids: almost 5-year-old Haley and 2-year-old twins Jesse and Matthew. I am a jogger, cooker and blogger.

If you have a question or a comment, do not hesitate to write to me! 🙂

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