Hey Mommas! Congratulations on your new baby.
Pregnancy is a beautiful experience, but it also requires your body to work overtime for nine long months.
Once the baby is born, your hair doesn’t grow as much as it did when you were pregnant.
New moms often report postpartum hair loss in the months after giving birth.
The good news is, your thinning hair is a normal experience after pregnancy, and I have some insight to get your hair looking great again.
What Is Postpartum Hair Loss?
Postpartum hair loss refers to the hair loss experienced after pregnancy. You might also hear this be referred to as excessive shedding.
This is not permanent hair loss.
This specific type of excessive shedding can be considered telogen effluvium, which is hair loss after a traumatic event to the body.
While pregnancy and birth are beautiful experiences, they can also be traumatic on your body.
What Causes Postpartum Hair Loss?
To understand postpartum hair loss, you first need to understand why pregnancy makes your hair grow.
Although not all women will experience postpartum hair loss, the ones that do need to know it is a natural occurrence.
Estrogen levels significantly rise during pregnancy.
These high estrogen levels not only make the hair you already have, grow thicker and faster, but they also slow the natural hair loss we experience each day.
Dr. Dan Brennan, MD points out that hair grows in a three-part cycle consisting of the growing, transitional, and resting phases.
Once the resting phase is complete – your hair falls out.
About 100 hairs fall out each day during your normal hair growth cycle.
However, once the baby is born, estrogen levels fall. This reduction in estrogen triggers your hair to jump into the resting phase of the hair cycle.
Some mothers will shed up to 300 hairs per day during this time.
When Does Postpartum Hair Loss Start?
This varies from woman to woman. It can range anywhere from several days to several months after your pregnancy ends.
How Long Does Postpartum Hair Loss Last?
Don’t freak out ladies! Postpartum hair loss will eventually subside.
After surveying 30 of my clients that experienced some sort of hair loss, I found that 80% noticed a decrease in shedding 3 months after it began who experienced.
The remaining 20%, saw their peak hair loss around months 4 and 5 postpartum.
With their hair fully recovering to prenatal levels 8 – 15 months afterward.
The general consensus is to consult a medical professional if you are experiencing excessive shedding after your baby’s 1st birthday.
There could be other factors contributing to hair loss.
How Much Postpartum Hair Loss Is Normal?
I interviewed a client and new mom about her postpartum hair loss.
She said the extra hair she found in her hairbrush looked like the brush she used on her dog during shedding season.
Don’t be alarmed! Postpartum hair loss isn’t always as drastic as she experienced.
Sometimes it’s just finding extra hair on your pillow, clothes, or down your shower drain.
In addition to the general hair loss, you might also see your hairline thinning.
Some clients of mine have reported hair loss on the sides of their heads, while others reported hair loss in the front, making it seem like their hairline was receding.
Can Postpartum Hair Loss Be Prevented?
The short answer is no it cannot.
Postpartum hair loss is a normal and natural occurrence that comes with your changing hormones.
However, there are steps that you can take before, during, and after pregnancy to help strengthen your new hair growth.
Keep reading to find out.
How To Treat Postpartum Hair Loss
Establishing a proper hair care routine is the best defense against hair loss.
We might not be able to prevent it but we can ensure our hair, scalp, and health are ready to grow it.
Healthy Mind & Healthy Body
This one might seem obvious, but it’s often the most overlooked.
As a new mom, you’re prepared to give everything to your baby, but you can’t pour from an empty cup.
If you’re not taking care of your own health, it will show in your hair.
Remember to drink plenty of water and eat a balanced diet as much as possible.
Vitamins For Postpartum Hair Loss
According to the Mayo Clinic, prenatal vitamins have no effect on hair growth.
However, prenatal vitamins are a good supplement in addition to a healthy and balanced diet.
You probably have heard a few stories of women taking prenatal vitamins for hair growth even though they were not seeking pregnancy.
This is a common misconception.
The Mayo Clinic says if you’re not pregnant and planning to get pregnant, high levels of certain nutrients over a long period of time may actually be more harmful than helpful.
Although prenatal vitamins may not have an effect on hair loss.
There are companies producing hair-specific postpartum vitamins that focus on the minerals biotin and collagen. Both are known to increase hair health and hair proteins.
Always discuss any vitamins with your doctor before taking them.
Shampoo For Postpartum Hair Loss
The shampoo you choose after pregnancy is essential to your hair condition.
The best shampoo for postpartum hair loss is a volumizing shampoo.
Postpartum hair loss has left you with thinning hair, so you want to encourage volume in any way.
Spread the shampoo in your hair methodically. Refrain from tugging, pulling, or running your fingers through it.
Massage your scalp and rinse. Repeat 2 – 3 times per week.
Conditioner For Postpartum Hair Loss
It’s essential to avoid heavy conditioners that will weigh your hair down.
Instead, opt for a conditioner specifically formulated for thin hair.
Focus the conditioner on the ends of your hair, avoiding your roots, to prevent weighing your hair down.
Again, try to refrain from tugging on your hair or pulling it back.
Can Your Hair Stylist Help With Postpartum Hair Loss?
Yes, we can!
If you’re reading this while pregnant and are feeling proactive, talk to your hairstylist about creating a postpartum plan to hit the ground running once the baby is born.
They might suggest hair products or other lifestyle changes.
Hair loss can be upsetting, but your hairstylist is a great support to getting your hair back to what it was before you had the baby.
Hairstyles like tight ponytails or buns that pull on your scalp will create a lot of tension in your hair and will encourage more shedding.
Although chopping dead and broken ends will not stop hair loss, it will encourage new growth.
I recommend you talk to your stylist about using face-framing for long hair and deep layers for shorter hair to hide your hairline.
If you do decide to cut your hair shorter, I recommend angled, tossed, or blunt bobs. These are full-producing haircuts.
Ask your stylist about using the balayage hand painting technique to add beautiful dimensions.
It’s important to remember that thin hair is fragile hair.
Be gentle when you’re brushing your hair, and try to avoid pulling on it while styling.
Talk to your stylist about the postpartum hair loss you’re experiencing and talk through the different hairstyles you could try to mask your thinning hair.
The extra estrogen your body produces during pregnancy is responsible for the ‘pregnancy glow” we hear so much about.
Your body’s production of estrogen returns to a normal state postpartum.
That estrogen drop pushes your hair into the resting phase of the hair cycle. Ultimately causing excessive shedding.
The most important thing to remember while tackling postpartum hair loss is to give yourself grace.
Your body just did an amazing thing, and it’s still healing; you don’t have to rush that!
When you’re ready to get your long luscious locks back, remember these tips to help you on that journey.
What are your experiences with prenatal vitamins or supplements? Have you had any success? Leave a comment below!