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Postpartum Hair Loss: Does Every New Mother Have It?

Postpartum hair loss is a temporary condition and a normal phase that occurs in many women after giving birth. It is also known as postpartum alopecia or postpartum telogen effluvium. Hair loss after pregnancy resolves on its own within a few months.

From 40% to 50% of women will experience hair loss during postpartum.

Keep in mind that it is a common condition and that the hormones return to their pre-pregnancy levels. This article is going to guide you through the ups and downs of postpartum hair loss and help you understand this challenging process.

Here are some useful key points from the article:

  • POST PREGNANCY HAIR LOSS IS AFFECTED BY YOUR HEALTH, GENETICS, AND HORMONAL CHANGES.
  • SYMPTOMS OF POSTPARTUM HAIR LOSS INCLUDE HAIR THINNING AND SLOWER HAIR GROWTH.
  • AFTER GIVING BIRTH YOUR HAIR IS AFFECTED BY HORMONES SUCH AS ESTROGEN AND PROGESTERONE.
  • POSTPARTUM MAY TAKE SEVERAL MONTHS BUT IN MOST CASES THE HAIR WILL REGROW.

What Is Postpartum Hair Loss?

Hair falling out after pregnancy is something that many new mothers experience. It typically happens in the months following childbirth. It is a normal physiological response to the hormonal changes that occur during pregnancy and the postpartum period. 

Breastfeeding is also a reason of the post-partum hair loss. Lack of nutrients may cause further hair loss during breastfeeding. As your body prioritizes your baby, you need more nutrients to get enough vitamins and minerals that are essential for hair health. This situation is called lactation alopecia or breastfeeding hair loss.

Do All Women Go Through Hair Loss After Giving Birth?

Though hair loss after birth is very common, it does not affect every woman. Its severity can be influenced by various factors, including:

  • GENETICS: A FAMILY HISTORY OF FEMALE PATTERN HAIR LOSS
  • OVERALL HEALTH: ANY UNDERLYING HEALTH CONDITIONS
  • POSTPARTUM HORMONAL FLUCTUATIONS: ESPECIALLY ESTROGEN AND PROGESTERONE LEVELS DROP

 

You may experience only minor hair thinning, or notice more severe postpartum hair loss. It all depends on the individual case and differs from person to person.

Can You Go Bald from Postpartum Hair Loss?

No, postpartum hair loss does not lead to baldness. It is totally temporary. Excessive hair shedding after giving birth lasts almost a year. Then your hair will regrow. 

You can also experience hair thinning during your postpartum. Thinning hair will grow back thicker, too.

What Are the Signs of Postpartum Hair Loss?

Here are the signs and symptoms of postpartum hair loss:

  • EXCESSIVE SHEDDING, INCLUDING CLUMPS OF HAIR
  • THINNING HAIR
  • MORE VISIBLE SCALP
  • SLOWER HAIR GROWTH
  • ITCHY SCALP

 

This type of hair loss is not typically concentrated in one specific area of the scalp. Instead, it is spread out across the entire scalp.

What Causes Postpartum Hair Loss?

Let’s have a closer look at some postpartum hair loss causes:

Hormonal fluctuations: during pregnancy, your body experiences significant hormonal imbalance.

Nutrition: pregnancy and breastfeeding can lead to nutrient deficiencies.

Stress and hair loss: giving birth may put your body under stress and this may impact hair growth cycles and can lead to telogen phase.

PPD: postpartum depression may exacerbate postpartum hair loss

Telogen Effluvium: hormonal changes and stress can trigger this condition.

Lack of sleep: long-term sleep deprivation may lead you to lose your hair.

Which Hormones Affect Your Hair After Giving Birth?

After giving birth, there are several hormones that can affect your hair, and they include:

  • ESTROGEN
  • PROGESTERONE
  • THYROID HORMONES (T3, T4)
  • PROLACTIN
  • CORTISOL

How Hormones Influence Hair Growth

Here is how these hormones can influence your hair growth after childbirth:

ESTROGEN: estrogen levels drop dramatically, so hair grows more slowly and becomes much thinner

PROGESTERONE: progesterone levels drop dramatically, so hair grows more slowly and becomes much thinner

THYROID HORMONES (T3, T4): thyroid issues can lead to hair thinning or hair loss

PROLACTIN: high levels of prolactin can disrupt the hair growth cycle

CORTISOL: stress hormone can interfere with the hair growth cycle

Can You Have Postpartum Hair Loss After a Miscarriage?

Yes, it is possible to experience hair loss after a miscarriage. Your body experiences almost the same changes as it would after giving birth. A miscarriage may cause postpartum hormonal fluctuations in the body. The severity and duration of postpartum hair loss in this case can vary depending on a person.

Is Postpartum Hair Loss Worse with a Second Baby?

No, it isn’t. Several factors can influence the extent of hair loss. They include genetics, hormonal fluctuations, nutrition, and health. Not whether it is your first or second pregnancy.

If you become pregnant again before your hair fully regrows after your first pregnancy, you may experience improved hair thickness and growth during pregnancy due to hormonal changes. This can temporarily counteract the effects of postpartum hair loss to some extent. This is not always the case though. 

If you haven’t fully regained your hair after your first pregnancy, the second pregnancy can potentially exacerbate the issue, some months after giving birth.

Postpartum Hair Loss Timeline

Postpartum hair loss is a temporary condition, so your hair will regrow on its own. When will it happen? Let’s have a look at a general timeline of hair loss after childbirth.

When Does Postpartum Hair Loss Begin?

When does thinning hair after pregnancy start? Usually from 2 up to 4 months after giving birth, you can experience a phase of hair thinning and loss. Postpartum shedding does not happen immediately after your baby is born.

How Long Does Postpartum Hair Loss Last?

Usually shedding phase can continue for up to 6 months. If it lasts longer than a year, talk to your doctor. You need to know that it may take some months before your hair comes back to its previous condition. 

Your dermatologist may suggest trichoscopy, a dermoscopy of the scalp to examine hair and scalp conditions. There may be other underlying reasons for your excessive hair loss.

Does Hair Grow Back After Postpartum Hair Loss?

Yes, postpartum hair loss regrowth happens in most cases. Post-pregnancy shedding is a temporary condition, and hair loss is typically reversible. The hair follicles shrink and produce thinner hair but are not permanently damaged. Miniaturization is temporary and your hair will eventually start to grow back in time.

How to Stop Postpartum Hair Loss

It is impossible to stop after-birth hair loss completely, but you may take several steps to lessen its severity so that your hair recovers quicker:

  • HAIR CARE WITH GENTLE HAIR GROWTH PRODUCTS
  • NUTRIENT-RICH DIET
  • NUTRITIONAL SUPPLEMENTS AND VITAMINS
  • PROPER HYDRATION
  • ENOUGH SLEEP AND REST

Is Birth Control Good for Postpartum Hair Loss?

Birth control is not typically used as a treatment for postpartum hair loss. Yet, some birth control pills may in fact slow down or even stop the thinning process. It is due to their ingredients and the fact they can affect hormone levels in your body.

⚠️ Your experiences with birth control and hair loss are individual. It is crucial to consult with a doctor to decide on the best solution for your specific situation.

Best Vitamins for Postpartum Hair Loss

Here are some of the best postpartum hair loss vitamins you can add to your nutrient-rich diet:

Folic Acid (Vitamin B9): crucial for cell division, including the cells responsible for hair growth.Deficiency

Vitamin D: helps in the activation of hair follicles, and a deficiency can lead to hair loss.

Vitamin E: an antioxidant that may help improve scalp circulation.

Vitamin C: is important for collagen production and skin and hair health, also helps your body absorb iron and avoid iron deficiency anemia.

Supplements for Postpartum Hair Loss

Let’s have a look at some nutritional supplements that can be beneficial for postpartum hair loss:

Iron: crucial for carrying oxygen to the hair follicles, promoting healthy hair growth and preventing childbirth-related anemia

Zinc: plays a role in maintaining the health of hair follicles.

Omega-3 Fatty Acids: help reduce inflammation and support hair health.

Silica: a mineral that supports the development of healthy hair, skin, and nails.

Does Biotin Help Postpartum Hair Loss?

Biotin (Vitamin B7) is often recommended for hair health. It plays a role in the production of keratin, a protein that makes up hair, skin, and nails.

Some studies suggest that biotin may improve hair thickness and reduce hair loss. Yet, the effectiveness of biotin in postpartum hair loss is rather limited. It is always best to consult with the dietitian and add a sufficient amount of biotin to your diet.

Does Collagen Help Postpartum Hair Loss?

There is no strong evidence that taking collagen supplements helps with postpartum hair loss specifically. You may include collagen in your meals as part of an overall balanced and nutritious diet. The best source is bone marrow. 

Collagen is a major component of the hair follicle and the hair shaft itself. It brings strength and structure to your hair. Collagen is also rich in amino acids, especially proline and glycine, which are essential for the production of keratin. Keratin is the protein that makes up your hair.

What to Eat for Postpartum Hair Loss

There is no specific food that can completely prevent or cure postpartum hair loss. Yet, a well-balanced diet can potentially prevent micronutrient deficiency and reduce the severity of your hair loss. 

Have a look at some dietary tips for a variety of nutrients.

NUTRIENTS

FOODS

PROTEIN

lean meats, poultry, fish, eggs, dairy products, legumes, and nuts

IRON

red meat, poultry, beans, lentils, spinach, and fortified cereals

OMEGA-3 FATTY ACIDS

fatty fish like salmon, mackerel, sardines, flaxseeds, chia seeds, and walnuts

VITAMIN C

citrus fruits, berries, and bell peppers

BIOTIN

eggs, nuts, and whole grains contain biotin

ZINC

red meat, poultry, beans, and nuts

VITAMIN A

sweet potatoes, carrots, spinach, and other leafy greens

⚠️ Always consult with a doctor for dietary recommendations. Your doctor will prepare a program for your special condition regarding your micros and medical conditions if you have any.

How to Prevent Postpartum Hair Loss

You cannot completely prevent hair shedding phase after pregnancy. Yet, there are some ways to help postpartum hair loss and promote healthy hair growth, and they involve:

  • HEALTHY DIET
  • STAYING HYDRATED
  • TAKING SUPPLEMENTS
  • PROPER HAIR CARE
  • GENTLE SCALP MASSAGE

How to Style You Hair to Prevent Postpartum Hair Loss

Style your hair in a way that minimizes the appearance of thinning hair or bald spots.

Here are some tips you may find useful for how to hide postpartum hair loss:

  • WEAR HAIRCUTS THAT ADD VOLUME TO YOUR HAIR, LIKE SHORT CUTS OR THICK FRINGE
  • USE VOLUMIZING SHAMPOOS AND CONDITIONERS
  • BLOW DRY YOUR HAIR
  • AVOID TIGHT HAIRSTYLES
  • USE HAIR ACCESSORIES THAT CAN HIDE THINNING AREAS
  • IN CASE OF EXTENSIVE HAIR LOSS USE HAIR EXTENSIONS OR WIGS

When to Worry About Postpartum Hair Loss

There are some factors you may consider, and one of them is the duration of your hair loss. If your hair does not come back to its pre-pregnancy state within a year, contact a specialist.

If you have a family history of hair loss or conditions like alopecia or other symptoms, including fatigue, weight changes, changes in skin or nail health, or irregular menstrual cycles, let your doctor know about them.

Treatments for Long Term Postpartum Hair Loss

Your healthcare provider can advise some hair regrowth treatments, such as Platelet-Rich Plasma (PRP). It may be recommended if your postpartum hair loss continues for more than a year. PRP treatment does not impact moms who are breastfeeding.

Hormone replacement therapy may also be an option in case your postpartum hair loss continues for longer than 12 months. Whenever you are concerned, do not hesitate to contact your physician and ask for medical advice on excessive postpartum hair loss.

Will Postpartum Hair Loss Affect My Baby?

No, postpartum hair loss will not affect your baby. The condition is a result of hormonal changes in your body, not your baby’s.

Breastfeeding and hair loss need some extra nutrients. Your body may prioritize providing these nutrients to the baby. If your diet lacks proper nutrients during breastfeeding, it can lead to hair loss.

But don’t worry. With the chart below, you can easily track your hair loss.

[1] American Pregnancy Association, Pregnancy and Hair Loss.

[2] American Academy of Dermatology, Hair care products can deliver the goods for thinning and textured hair, News release issued August 5, 2010.

[3] Eastham JH. Postpartum alopecia. Ann Pharmacother. 2001 Feb;35(2):255-8. doi: 10.1345/aph.10153. PMID: 11215848.

[4] Samrao A, Mirmirani P. Postpartum Telogen Effluvium Unmasking Traction Alopecia. Skin Appendage Disord. 2022 Jul; 8(4):328-332. doi: 10.1159/000521705. Epub 2022 Jan 28. PMID: 35983466; PMCID: PMC9274946.