Postpartum Hair Loss: Is It Normal and Why Does It Happen?
During pregnancy, your hair may thicken and become stronger than ever. But what women aren’t prepared for is the potentially large amounts of postpartum hair loss that occurs in many women. Some women may start to lose their hair at alarming rates soon after the baby is born.
While other women have reported that it wasn’t until almost a year later that they thought they were going bald. Regardless of when it happens, it can be upsetting for any woman to deal with balding spots and extreme hair loss. It can make any woman think that there must be something wrong.
So, is it normal? Why does this happen? Let’s chat about it.
Is Postpartum Hair Loss Normal?
Losing clumps of hair sometime after your baby is born is perfectly normal. Many dermatologists will correct their clients to let them know it is not real hair loss or balding and rather excessive shedding due to falling estrogen levels. Nonetheless, it is not very comforting.
Possibly comforting is knowing that you are not alone. About 40 to 50 percent of women experience postpartum hair loss. It’s good to note that you may experience it with one child and not another. So, if you didn’t have postpartum hair loss the first time around but do after the birth of your second child, it is still normal.
What Causes Postpartum Hair Loss?
In simpler terms, we can blame our beautiful pregnancy hair for extreme loss following the birth of our little one. Estrogen and progesterone are the hormones that keep our hair thick and from falling out during pregnancy.
Normally, an average woman loses 50-100 strands a day. But as our estrogen and progesterone levels drop after giving birth, we lose the normal amount per day plus all the hair that never fell out during our pregnancy.
This is why it feels like an extreme amount of hair loss. You essentially have 9 months of hair that is ready to fall out in a short period.
How Long Does Postpartum Hair Loss Last For?
Every woman's hair loss journey after giving birth is different. The average experience is that a woman will start to experience postpartum hair loss a few months after the baby is born and will typically last for about three months. With this being the most common, you can expect hair to start growing back around six months after birth.
Having said that, some women have even reported hair loss starting around one year. While this is not unheard of you may also want to check with your dermatologist to make sure there are no other underlying reasons other than postpartum for the hair loss.
Tips For Dealing With Postpartum Hair Loss
While of course there are treatments that we can get into, there are a few things you can do on your own to help yourself with dealing with postpartum hair loss.
Try doing the following:
- Healthy Pregnancy Diet
- Continuing Prenatal Vitamins
- Shampoo Less
- Use Quality Products
- Brush with Care
- Resist the Heat
- Let It Hang
- Check-in with the Doc
A healthy diet will contribute to healthy hair. While it may not prevent a whole lot of hair loss, it will keep the new strands strong and prevent breakage and additional hair loss. A healthy diet can also promote quicker hair growth for the new strands. Avoiding things like greasy foods and getting your vegetables and proteins in can go a long way when it comes to hair, skin, and nails.
Continuing Prenatal Vitamins
Prenatal vitamins are slightly different than your women’s multi because they contain more iron, calcium, folic acids, and more. Hair loss can sometimes be the result of low iron which prenatal vitamins certainly help with.
You can only continue with prenatal vitamins for a certain period. It is best to consult your doctor on how long you can keep taking these vitamins as sometimes prenatal vitamins may have too much iron.
If your doctor recommends getting off the prenatal vitamins you can add a biotin supplement to your multivitamin routine as it focuses just on hair, skin, and nails.
This may not be an issue because of your limited time. However, it is strongly encouraged to shampoo a little less because simply put over-shampooing can dry your hair out as well as pull strands out easier.
Use Quality Products
When you do shampoo and condition make sure that you use good quality products. It may not be a bad idea to incorporate a volumizing shampoo and conditioner into your routine or a strengthening one.
Brush with Care
You won’t want to yank any tangles and knots out of your hair so make sure you use a good conditioner and maybe even a leave-in conditioner when you go to brush your hair. A wide-tooth comb is also a great option if you want to avoid breaking your healthy strands.
Resist the Heat
Classic advice for keeping hair healthy. This is the time to go natural. Avoid curling irons, straighteners, or even blow-drying your hair as much as possible because the heat can lead to damage to the healthy hair while you are waiting for your new hair to grow in.
Let it Hang
Another great piece of advice for not causing breakage or ripping out strands of hair is letting the hair hang loose. We don’t want to pull our hair about by keeping tight ponies or top knots on top of our heads. Let it relax without any stress.
Call the Doc
If you think that you are losing an even more excessive amount than postpartum hair loss or just are very uncomfortable, ease your anxiety by speaking with your doctor. They can give you some background while also maybe offering up some treatment options.
Treatments For Postpartum Hair Loss
While all the above are not only tips and tricks for helping your hair loss after having a baby, they are also part of your treatment plan. However, you can also take additional supplements, use serums and oils, as well as specific shampoo and conditioners just for postpartum hair loss.
While prenatal supplements are great because of the iron, your doctor may tell you to stop taking them at some point. This may be because too much iron at some point could be dangerous. However, there are several supplements on the market that promote healthy hair, skin, and nails such as SugarbearHair Vitamins. Mostly all these vitamins contain biotin.
Oils and Serums
Some several oils and serums also offer hair care for postpartum hair loss. Some oils and serums will act to protect the cuticles of the hair and restore damaged strands. Castor oil is another product that is praised by new moms because of its ability to moisturize the hair without having to shampoo and condition. It also helps promote hair growth.
Postpartum Shampoo and Conditioner
There are some seriously great shampoo and conditioners that target the loss of hair. While it won’t prevent you from having your hair fall out it will encourage fast-growing healthy new hair. Biotin-infused shampoos and conditioners are a great way to help treat this issue. Especially if you can’t avoid showering forever, at least use some great products while you do.
Postpartum Hair Loss FAQs
Even with all that great information, we may find ourselves wondering and thinking if it’s still normal. Sometimes it’s hard not to panic even if we are prepared. Here are a few commonly asked questions when it comes to postpartum hair loss.
What Are Some Other Factors That Contribute To Hair Loss?
Two big factors that will contribute to postpartum hair loss aside from your hormones falling are stress and lack of sleep. Unfortunately, these two causes go right in hand with having a baby. Naturally, new moms will have a lot of stress trying to keep up with the new day-to-day schedule as well as have a serious lack of sleep. The best thing you can do is try to share some of your responsibilities as a new mom. Let friends or family take the reins for a little while so you can catch up on sleep or have some personal time.
Does Getting A Haircut Help?
Getting a haircut can help keep your hair healthy. Some moms think to avoid it since they are losing their hair but going in and either trimming the unhealthy ends or getting a new style can help the appearance of things. Sometimes managing medium to long hair can cause more problems during this stage. That’s why some women have loved getting a shorter do so that even if their hair is falling out it looks a little thicker when the new hairs start to grow back.
What Natural Products Can We Use To Help?
Some women swear by throwing peppermint oil into their shampoos and conditioners. They say that it sparks moisture and locks it in while improving shine. Consuming fish, fish oils, and flaxseed is also a powerful natural source of vitamins and supplements. These particular fatty acids are omega-3, omega-6, and omega-9, which all help promote hair growth and strengthen your hair.
What Things Should We Avoid?
According to dermatologists, there are several things we can avoid as new mothers to help prevent more possible postpartum hair loss.
- Sometimes shampoo bottles that are a combination of shampoo and conditioner are much too heavy on their hair and can make it look weighed down and flat.
- With your quality conditioner, avoid applying it anywhere except for the tips of your hair. This is where the conditioning needs to happen and putting too much up top can weigh down your hair as well.
- Anything that such as “extra moisture” or “intensive repair” on the conditioner bottle will be much too heavy.
- Greasy foods. The grease immediately will show up in your skin and hair.
- Bad elastics for hair. Use soft scrunchies and elastic bands that won’t rip out your hair if you do need to put it up.
- Letting the baby pull your hair. This is tough because babies tend to go right for mommy’s hair. But the sooner we can discourage pulling on your hair, the quicker we can work on restoring it.
- Twirling your hair. Some of us have kept that bad habit from when we were little girls. If the baby isn’t allowed to twirl and pull your hair neither are you! This can cause breakage, knots, and more hair loss.
It’s A Process
Going through pregnancy and giving birth to a child is an incredible and taxing process on our bodies. We go through so much change in such a short time that it is only natural to have some side effects. Having said that we should look at postpartum hair loss a little differently. We gain all this new beautiful hair thanks to our rising hormone levels, it’s only natural that it can stay forever.
While it’s not comforting it is normal to lose large amounts of hair a few months after having a baby. Keep in mind that the process is not the same for everyone. While some mothers may experience it a few months after birth and it will only last about three months from there, our moms will pick it up later in the year.
If you find yourself picking it up after one year it’s not a bad idea to consult your doctor. Usually, it happens closer to your birth of your child than their one-year birthday. However, it is not impossible.
Get ahead of the game by starting your treatment process and natural remedies to take care of the hair you have and help deal with postpartum hair loss.