You’ve probably started to panic by now, since your hair is falling out in huge clumps. You see them every time you wash, brush or just touch your hair. And it’s coming to the extremes. I can see the shock on your face and I can surely relate. Don’t panic, mama! I’ve been there. And I’m here to tell you that all you’re coming through with your hair is NORMAL!
Postpartum period sucks! You look at yourself in the mirror and do not recognize your body. On top of that your hair starts to fall out at a rapid speed.
As much as I want to reassure you, there is literally nothing you can do to stop postpartum hair loss because it’s a hormonal thing. Although, I’ve learned some tricks to control the amounts of hair I was losing every day (you will find them below).
Let’s just say I’ve expected some hair loss after birth. And in the beginning it was kinda bearabale. However, around one month after birth I’ve noticed I was easily pulling out huge clumps of hair every time I washed it, brushed it or ran my fingers through it.
“Okay, I mean, WTF??? Am I going to grow bald or what?”, – This is exactly what I thought that time and all the floors in my flat were covered with hair.
No kidding! I was vacuuming literally every day! My mother-in-law even tried to crack a joke that she would have made herself a nice wig from all the hair she picked from the floor. HA-HA! Not funny at all.
I want you to know this: postpartum hair loss is real and sometimes you will think that it’s coming to the extremes. But remember – this is only a temporary thing! You will not lose more than you should. And it will grow back eventually.
So if you’re already here and still reading this article here’s what you will know: what causes postpartum hair loss, why postpartum hair loss is normal, what hormones and medical conditions stand behind it, how long postpartum hair loss lasts, how you can stop your hair from falling, and finally, best treatments, remedies and preventative measures for postpartum hair loss!
This post contains Amazon affiliate links! It means that if you click on the link and buy a product, I will earn a small commission to no additional cost to you. Rest assured that I only recommend products that I love from companies that I trust. Keep in mind that I am not a medical professional and nothing in this post should be taken as a medical advice. I am simply a mother who’s been there and wants to share her experience with others.
What Causes Postpartum Hair Loss?
When you’re pregnant your body changes rapidly. You blood volume is rising together with hormones, such as estrogen, progesterone, oxytocin and prolactin. You may have noticed that the volume of your hair becomes bigger while you’re pregnant. You are also losing less hair. However, there is just one hormone responsible for reduced hair loss during pregnancy – estrogen. As soon as you give birth, the level of estrogen starts to drop dramatically and will be back to its normal range within 24 hours after delivery. This is where the fun begins and you start losing your hair with at the lightspeed.
How Much Postpartum Hair Loss Is Normal?
When you see your hair is falling every time to take a shower, or brush them or simply touch them, is it a red light?
Actually, it’s nothing to panic about. With the decreased hair loss during pregnancy, you will now lose hair in a bigger lumps than you used to. And, yes, it may seem like you’re losing too much, but in reality it’s not. It’s just that your hair makes up for the lost time by getting rid of those that should have fall out during pregnancy. Normally, you lose hair in small amounts daily that you usually don’t even notice or pay attention to. After birth, the volume of your hair that you’re losing is raised but it surely isn’t more than you should have lost within the nine months of your pregnancy.
How Long Does Postpartum Hair Loss Last?
Frankly, I don’t have a clear answer to this question. Every human body is unique and even every postpartum experience of one woman may be different from one another, so there are no distinct boundaries of how long is normal for a woman to experience postpartum hair loss.
My hair started falling out within the first month postpartum and continued so up until seven months postpartum.
What you have to know is that postpartum hair loss is absolutely normal and is a temporary “side effects” of pregnancy (or hormonal changes in your body). Your hair loss is also not related to breastfeeding, regardless of what you might have thought.
If you need some figures to rely on in terms of normal duration of postpartum hair loss, you can be sure that up to one year after birth is considered okay for a woman to lose hair, providing that the hair doesn’t fall out to a more extreme rate than they used to after birth. Most of moms report that they start losing hair in their third month postpartum and finish after six months. However, this is a pretty average statistics. You should always listen to your body and what it’s telling you. If you hair loss continues after 12 months postpartum, you should see you doctor.
Are There Any Medical Conditions Behind Postpartum Hair Loss?
Yes, there actually are.
- A pretty common condition many moms develop after birth is hypothyroidism (which is a low thyroid hormone). Luckily, it is also an easy treatable one.
- The second widespread condition in postpartum moms is iron-deficiency anemia that will also contribute to a greater postpartum hair loss than usual.
- Although, the following are not medical conditions, but I have to include them. Nutritional deficiencies and stress play a huge role in excessive hair loss (not only postpartum). So make sure to eat a healthy nutrient-dense diet, sleep at least eight hours a day, and know your stress-relief methods.
- Some cosmetic procedures will also affect your hair loss. Bleaching, dying, excessive heat (using the hairdryer), brushing and washing may all result in damaged hair structure and increased hair loss.
How do I know if I have any of these conditions?
Fatigue and weight gain are two main symptoms of hypothyroidism but since you just made a new human, the level of fatigue you have right now is probably over the roof and some extra baby weight is also common in postpartum moms, so catching the symptoms of hypothyroidism is almost impossible.
What you can do is run a blood test for TSH (thyroid stimulating hormone), T4 (thyroxine) and Anti-TPO (anti-thyroid peroxidase) to check your thyroid hormone levels.
To determine if you have iron-deficiency anemia, you will need to run the following blood tests: CBC, hemoglobin, blood iron levels, MCV, and ferritin.
Postpartum Hair Loss: Will It Grow Back?
Postpartum hair loss is no fun but it will grow back!
Here’s the boring physiology: almost 90% of your hair is in a growth phase. During pregnancy, however, hormone changes make it up to 100% of your hair to be in growth phase – that’s why you’re barely losing it and enjoy a nice volume. Whereas, after the baby is born, more hair than usual enter the resting phase (that’s when the falling out phase starts) and the shedding begins.
Most women experience hair loss within six months postpartum, although for some it may even take up to one year. After you hormones balance and all the hair you had to lose during pregnancy fall out, you start noticing new baby hair on your scalp. Congratulation! You’ve now entered the regrowth phase and your hair will become thicker within the next 6-12 months!
How To Prevent Postpartum Hair Loss
Postpartum hair loss is a physiological process, which it means it will happen anyway, regardless of what you do. There’s no way to prevent it completely, however, you can try certain things that may improve the situation and reduce the amounts of hair you lose every day.
5 Things to consider to prevent postpartum hair loss
- Continue taking your prenatals. Your hair needs nutrients to be healthy. Oftentimes, a breastfeeding mom runs low on her body nutrient-stores and it’s a great idea to add extra support from prenatal supplements. Almost all of them contain the good amounts of biotin, vitamin A, E, and zinc that are crucial for hair’s health.
- Moisturize your hair to prevent extra breakage and loss of structure (which inevitably leads to hair loss as well). Especially after the frequent washing, your hair needs to be sealed properly. You can use a nice hair conditioner or hair oil to help your hair stay smooth and moisturized. As for me, my hair type changed from normal to oily as soon as I gave birth (the same happened with my face) – not a nice bonus! – so I started washing it daily and skipping my moisturizing routine would make it feel fuzzy, so I learned to use a three-step program: cream conditioner in the shower – misting with double faze liquid conditioner – using hair oil.
- Trim your hair. Consider a short haircut. Not only will it save you time as new mom, it will also help your hair to revive by losing the dead ends. You will also be less shocked by the amount of hair you lose daily.
- Ditch the hair dryer. While your hair is already fragile, you wouldn’t want to aggravate the situation using heat, like the curling of flat irons or a blow-dryer.
- Massage your scalp. Postpartum hair loss can be dramatically reduced by frequent scalp massage. Why does it work? By massaging your scalp, the blood circulation is increased, thus the hair fossiles will get more nutrition (read – power) to hold on to its roots.
6 BEST Postpartum Hair Loss Treatments
1. Eat a nutrient-dense diet
It all starts with a healthy diet. Make sure to include the following foods that are considered to improve hair health:
- Leafy greens (contains iron and vitamin C)
- Eggs (for vitamin D)
- Carrots and sweet potatoes (contain high amounts of vitamin A)
- Fatty fish and walnuts (for Omega3 fatty acids)
2. Use a gentle brush
Personal advice from my hairdresser: “Avoid overbrusing your hair. Twice a day will do”. Invest in a good quality brush that will manage with the knots without pulling your hair out with the roots. I swear by Tangle Teezer. I’ve been using it for over 5 years and it is super gentle with my long hair.
3. Say ‘yes’ to a volumizing shampoo
Okay, this one may be not a treatment, but a cosmetic procedure that will definitely give a new perspective to your shedding hair. Especially, when your hair is heavy, they may look thinner than they are under its weight. A volumizing shampoo may give your hair a nice pump.
4. Omega3 is never too much!
Omega 3 fatty acids are known not only for their benefits for people suffering with hair loss, but it actually helps to grow back healthier and resilient hair at a faster rate. And it’s not surprising, because what Omega 3 does is it promotes healthy well nourished skin, including the scalp. A healthy scalp means a proper nutrition for fair follicles, thus helping it stay in place and grow stronger.
5. Try taking MSM
Acording to research, sulfur plays important part in keratin formation in nails, hair and skin. Sulfur has the ability to form strong bonds that contribute to the strength of healthy hair. MSM is a natural source of sulfur that is easily absorbed by the body.
6. Avoid Excessive Styling
Everything that may potentially damage your hair, like heat from the drier or iron, dying, styling, or any chemicals in the cosmetics you use are worth forgetting about if you want to save your hair from falling even more.
BEST Postpartum Hair Loss Remedies
1. DIY Hair Strengthening Mask
Blend 1/4 cup olive oil, 1 egg yolk, 1 tablespoon raw honey and rub the mixture into your hair and scalp. Keep it overnight to nourish the skin on your scalp.
2. DIY Oil Scalp Therapy
Blend 1/4 cup of castor oil with 1/4 cup of coconut or avocado oil, add 20 drops of rosemary oil and massage it into your scalp. Spread the mixture through the length of your hair to stimulate the hair follicules to stay in place. The massage part is just as important as the hair mixture. Flip your head upside down and continue massaging the oil up to 5-10 minutes to change the hair follicule position and stimulate its growth even more. It’s better to sleep in it, although you could also use it one or two hours before you wash your hair. You’ll see a significant difference in your postpartum hair loss after 2-3 uses of this oil mixture into your scalp.
3. DIY Hair Growth Mixture
Mix two table spoons of ginger juice with freshly ground black pepper and apply it to your scalp one hour before washing. Get ready, it will burn! But the reason it does is because it’s stimulating an increased blood circulation to your scalp to wake up those snoozing hair follicules and promote regrowth of the hair you lost.
When To See A Doctor?
As you can see, postpartum hair loss is a normal and in most cases inevitable thing that happens to almost every woman after birth. So if you’re pulling clumps of hair in a shower or while brusing it, honestly, there’s nothing to worry about. This is just a phase. Not the most pleasant one (as the whole postpartum period, to say the least). It will pass.
However, if you’ve celebrated your baby’s 1st birthday and you still feel that you lose too much hair, it’s time to make an appointment with a dermatologist to figure out what’s going on.