What is Postpartum Hair Loss?
During pregnancy, women actually almost entirely stop losing hair resulting in thicker, sometimes luscious locks. However, due to the many hormone fluctuations that occur after giving birth, many women notice significant hair loss in the postpartum period. It can be extremely unnerving to have clumps of hair falling out - but rest assured - not only is this incredibly common but your hair will grow back over time.
When Does Postpartum Hair Loss Start & When Does It End?
Hair loss typically happens between two and five months postpartum (Source). It can come on suddenly and you may feel like you’ve left a small animal in the shower! The hair loss can also feel significant because you actually do have more hair on your head. By 12 months postpartum, your hair should be getting back to normal. The exact time will depend on your hair’s own unique lifecycle. The most common regrowth phase takes about 3 months.
What Causes Postpartum Hair Loss & Does Every New Mom Experience It?
As your hormones return to normal, your hair will once again resume its normal life cycle - typically there is a growth phase, resting phase and shedding phase. Since the shedding phase is on hold while you are pregnant, along with high estrogen encouraging more than normal new hair growth, the hair that you would have lost over your entire pregnancy (and more!) will start to shed in the postpartum period. The severity of hair loss varies from woman to woman and according to the American Pregnancy Association, about 40-50% of women will experience postpartum hair loss.
Does Breastfeeding Affect Postpartum Hair Loss?
It’s a common myth that breastfeeding causes hair loss postpartum, however, the two are unrelated. Breastfeeding will not make hair loss better or worse since the hormone changes in both are different.
Can You Prevent Postpartum Hair Loss?
Unfortunately, there’s not much you can do to prevent hair loss postpartum. That being said, these practices will help the hair you do have to be more healthy and abundant while encouraging regrowth.
1. Eat your fruits, veggies & proteinsGiving your body plenty of nutrients and protein is important for hair growth at any stage of life. Postpartum is one phase that it’s certainly harder to eat well, and when you can, your hair will thank you! If you want to make it easier to get in important nutrients and protein, try the Majka Lactation Protein Powder.
2. Stay on a Prenatal Vitamin
3. Try a New Hair Cut
There’s a reason why many new moms get a shorter style that doesn’t only lower maintenance but also works with the hair they have postpartum. If you’re expecting hair loss to hit on the average timeline, you may not want to cut your hair before three months postpartum.
4. Avoid Hot Styling Tools and Over-Washing Your Hair
Things that damage your hair, like hot styling tools and hair dye, may make postpartum hair loss worse or more noticeable.
Try washing your hair less frequently, with a good quality shampoo. There isn’t one shampoo for postpartum hair loss but over-washing can damage your hair more. Your hair may take a few weeks to adjust to a new washing schedule but washing your hair once or twice a week is supposed to be best for hair health. (washing your hair less often usually isn’t hard to do as a new mom either!)
What Nutrients Are Important when You’re Experiencing Postpartum Hair Loss?
You can utilize certain vitamins for postpartum hair loss to encourage the growth of new, healthier hair.
Every cell in your body is made from protein, including hair! Have a source of protein each time you eat. If you're not a huge breakfast person, try having a protein smoothie in the late morning to ensure you get your protein in for the morning!
2. Collagen & Vitamin
Taking vitamin C helps promote the production of collagen in your body. Collagen is a beauty superfood, helping hair, skin & nails have more vitality
3. B Vitamins
B vitamins help with stress, which is also a proposed factor in postpartum hair loss.
How Much Hair Loss Is Actually Normal & When Should I Contact A Doctor?
Since everyone’s experience varies it can be hard to say exactly how much hair loss is normal or not. If you think your hair loss is excessive, or if it goes beyond 12 months, it’s best to check with your doctor. Excessive or ongoing hair loss can be caused by an under-active thyroid, where your body is under producing or not converting thyroid hormones properly. Another cause can be low iron levels. Both of these can be checked with a blood test. Pregnancy and birth can affect both your thyroid and iron levels so even if both were fine before, it’s worth checking them again.
What are the Treatments for Postpartum Hair Loss?
Outside of ensuring you have a balanced diet, extra vitamins, and protein, there are unfortunately no effective treatments for postpartum hair loss. This study concluded that there have not been any treatments studied well enough to determine if they are effective. While hair loss may range from mildly annoying to anxiety inducing, it is a very common part of the postpartum experience. While it may be hard at the time, your hair will grow back! Motherhood keeps us all on our toes, doesn’t it?
American Pregnancy Association Online. Hair Loss During Pregnancy.
Eastham JH. Postpartum alopecia. Ann Pharmacother. 2001 Feb;35(2):255-8.Lynfield YL. Effect of Pregnancy on the Human Hair Cycle. The Journal of Investigative Dermatology (1960) 35, 323–327; doi:10.1038/jid.1960.127