So, what’s going on with your locks? Why exactly is your hair thinning? And the biggest question: can you go bald from postpartum hair loss?
Thankfully, the answer to that last question is a no.
Although bald spots and excessive shedding can be alarming for new moms, this process is totally normal and can be expected.
Fortunately, it won’t last forever, and we promise you that hair loss after pregnancy is absolutely normal, even if you have your doubts right now!
Dealing with postpartum hair loss is stressful, but we have a few tips and tricks to help you get through and back to feeling more like yourself again.
In this article 📝
- Why am I experiencing hair loss after pregnancy?
- What causes postpartum hair loss?
- When does postpartum hair loss begin
- How long does postpartum hair loss last?
- What can I do about postpartum hair loss?
- Treatment for hair loss post-pregnancy
Why am I experiencing hair loss after pregnancy?
Hair loss after pregnancy is known as telogen effluvium and affects up to half of mamas (according to the American Pregnancy Association).
But it can affect different women in different ways.
While some mamas might experience a very light thinning (or not thinning at all), other women can see their hair fall out in clumps.
And when you see those clumps in the shower, it can be pretty frightening.
How does hair grow?
Before we dive into the cause of hair loss postpartum, it’s helpful to start with how hair grows in the first place.
Every person’s hair goes through a cycle of growing and then falling out.
Hair growth is every bit an intermittent process and has several stages:
- Anagen phase: This is the initial stage of growth where the hair strand can last between 2 and 5 years—about 90% of your hair follicles are in this phase
- Catagen phase: Here is where the bulb forms and starts to push the hair shaft upwards
- Telogen phase: During this resting phase, hair growth ceases. Roughly 10% of your hair follicles are in this phase
- Return to anagen: This is when a new hair follicle forms from the new bulb
- Early anagen: The new hair strand pushes out the old hair strand causing hair loss
What causes postpartum hair loss?
During pregnancy, your hormones—particularly estrogen and progesterone—go through the roof, causing your hair to grow faster and fall out less (AKA the anagen phase).
Your increased blood volume and circulation also prevent normal amounts of hair loss from occurring during pregnancy.
This has the lovely effect of endowing you with voluminous, thick, luscious locks. 🦁
But, alas! All good things must come to an end.
The average person loses about 50-100 hairs per day, but when you’re pregnant, your hormones make it so you get to keep all those extra hairs.
Hence, the luscious locks.
After childbirth, your hormones start to recover their balance, but it can be a pretty rocky road.
Add to the mix the fact that you may be a bit stressed and sleep-deprived, and you have a recipe for a lot of confused hormones.
The shifting hormones cause your hair follicles to enter the so-called “resting” stage (the telogen phase).
After a good “rest” your follicles then decide it’s time to shed their old strands to make way for new ones. So, those clumps in the shower could be signaling the return and early anagen phase.
Does postpartum hair loss happen to every mom?
Experiencing hair loss—known as postpartum alopecia—is fairly common following childbirth.
Instead of shedding about 80 hairs a day, new moms can shed nearly 400 each day!
But for the most part, research shows that while the growth rate of hair increases during pregnancy, and the resting (telogen) rate rises after delivery, for most women, there isn’t much exaggeration.
And although the excessive shedding can last for several months after birth, dermatologists don’t actually consider it to be true hair loss.
What we mean is, unlike other types of hair loss, what most moms experience is not permanent, and the hair will eventually grow back.
But remember, your follicles are shedding hair to make way for new strands.
More hair is on its way, mama!
When does postpartum hair loss begin
Usually 2 to 6 months after giving birth.
But it’s not always so predictable for every mama.
There are stories of some women experiencing it up to a year after pregnancy.
As we know, different mamas, different bodies.
And different bodies mean different experiences and changes.
For example, if you didn’t experience postpartum hair loss with your first child, there’s nothing to say that you won’t see it the second time around—or the third (and so on).
And some mamas who are breastfeeding may hang on to some of that extra hair from pregnancy until they begin the weaning process, but that’s not a hard and fast rule either.
How long does postpartum hair loss last?
So, how long does your hair fall out after having a baby?
You’ll probably return to your normal hair growth cycle somewhere between 6 and 12 months post-pregnancy.
Fortunately, a majority of women feel that their hair is back to normal by their baby’s first birthday.
So, you likely don’t have to worry about dealing with hair loss for years.
However, if you feel like your hair loss is persisting or is more severe than it should be one year after giving birth, you may want to see your doctor and ask to have blood tests done to check your thyroid and iron levels.
There may, in fact, be an underlying medical condition that is causing your hair loss.
Can I go bald from postpartum hair loss?
No! Trust us, you won’t go bald from postpartum hair loss.
Excessive shedding after birth is completely normal.
Sometimes the hair may fall out in large chunks, which is obviously concerning, but try not to worry about going bald.
What can I do about postpartum hair loss?
How to stop postpartum hair loss, you ask? Well, now, the bad news.
There is no proper “cure” or “treatment” for hair loss after pregnancy.
But that doesn’t mean that you’re going bald.
Postpartum hair loss will stop by itself.
And you can do one thing that helps: try not to exacerbate it.
It all sounds scary, we know.
But don’t worry, you’ll be fine.
Here are some little tips on how to keep your hair in your head after pregnancy.
Treatment for hair loss post-pregnancy
We know it can be so hard not to panic when you feel like you’re losing all your hair, but there are several things you can do to cope with postpartum hair loss and prevent it from worsening.
1. A healthy diet
Vitamins, minerals, proteins.
Making sure you have a good nutrient balance is one good way to not exacerbate postpartum hair loss.
Iron, zinc, and vitamin D are the best places to start.
So, hit the leafy greens, legumes, and whole grains if possible. 🥙
And along with keeping your ‘do in shape, it should give you a bit of energy back, too. 🔋
Here are some great foods when it comes to hair growth:
- Nuts and seeds
- Sweet peppers
- Sweet potatoes
2. Skip the regular styling
Just for the time being, straightening or curling your hair can put extra stress on those strands.
Let your hair air dry instead of using a blowdryer and try going natural to avoid damage from styling tools that use high heat and harmful chemicals found in hair dye. 👩🏼🦳
And intense brushing can cause more hair to come out, too.
So, it’s worth being gentle or reducing the amount of styling you do.
Try not to brush your hair more than once a day, and consider using a wide-toothed comb when you do.
Use hair clips or scrunchies instead of rubber bands or elastic hair ties.
This can help minimize any tangling and breakage.
3. Prenatal and postnatal vitamins
Continuing to take your prenatal or postnatal vitamins can help keep your hair and your body healthy, especially if your diet isn’t as balanced as you would like it to be.
Prenatal vitamins won’t make your hair grow back faster, but they are important for your general health and wellness. 💊
4. Choose the right shampoos
Go for volumizing shampoos (they’ll make your locks look fuller), but avoid those shampoos that claim to be “conditioning,” as they can sometimes make your hair look a bit limp. 💆♀️
Focus your conditioner on the ends of your hair, just enough to protect dry ends without weighing everything down.
5. Change up your ‘do
Some looks can make your hair look thinner, while others seem to give you a fuller head of hair.
When you get a chance, head to a salon for a little pampering. 💇♀️
Here are a few ideas you can try that might help minimize your postpartum hair loss:
- Try bangs: When your hair grows back, be forewarned that you may go through another awkward stage (like you did with that bad haircut a few years back). Bangs may help hide short regrowth at the hairline, and if you’re struggling with new fuzzy baby hairs, invest in a good product that will minimize the frizz.
- Style your hair strategically: If you feel self-conscious about your postpartum hair loss, try wearing headbands, bandanas, hats, or headscarves to cover the temporary bald spots. You can also strategically part your hair or use hairpieces to cover some of the thinner areas temporarily.
- Add layers: Sometimes adding layers can make the hair appear fuller and help new hair growth blend in!
- Consider getting a blowout: Although you may want to avoid heat and damage, a blowout can make your hair look much fuller. If you have a special occasion to attend, such as a wedding, this might be a good excuse to splurge for the blowout.
- Curl your hair: Again, you may want to avoid using heat on your hair, but in a pinch, curling your hair can disguise thin areas. When your hair is straight, it’s easier to see thinner areas. Heatless hair curling solutions can be a great choice, according to our Peanut community.
- Try volumizing shampoo: Instead of conditioning shampoos, which tend to weigh hair down and make it look flat and thin, opt for something more volumizing. A volumizing shampoo may give your hair that extra lift you want and may help make it look a bit fuller.
6. Minimize stress
Reducing the stress in your life is easier said than done, especially when you’re trying to keep a tiny human alive, but if you can, try implementing stress-reducing activities such as yoga or meditation. 🧘♀️
Ask for help when you need it, nap when baby naps, and give yourself permission to let the house be messy sometimes.
7. Ask your doctor
Unfortunately, no treatment has been shown to prevent or slow postpartum hair loss.
Regardless, your doctor may recommend some treatment options, such as medications, therapies to reduce hair follicle inflammation, and at-home laser treatments that may help stimulate new hair growth. 👩⚕️
8. Rock it
Yeah, not so much a treatment as a state of mind. ✨
And, while it might be easier for some mamas than for others, sitting tight will eventually work out.
Not all women experience postpartum hair loss, and sometimes even the same women may experience it after one pregnancy but not another.
It varies greatly from woman to woman, so try not to compare your journey with anyone else’s.
Remember, postpartum hair loss is your body’s way of returning your hair to what it looked like pre-pregnancy.
And, no, you won’t go bald.