Are you dealing with postpartum hair loss? Wondering when does postpartum hair loss start and how long does postpartum hair loss last and how to remedy it (if you can)? Then keep reading! I understand your pain!
It has begun, the dreaded postpartum hair loss.
It began around 4 months postpartum after my first pregnancy with twins and around 3 months postpartum after my other three pregnancies. It’s not fun and yet it’s super normal.
If you are stressing and googling about what the heck is going on with your hair a few months after having a baby, you are SO not alone. And this post will answer all of your questions about postpartum hair loss – what it is, when to expect it start, stop, last, figure out if it severe, and then what the heck to do about it!
Let’s answer some basic questions, and then explain what it FEELS like to experience postpartum hair loss and the realities that come with losing so much hair in a short period of time.
What is Postpartum Hair Loss?
Postpartum hair loss is a common (read: normal) and temporary condition where a woman will lose more hair than is normal after giving birth. Its scientific name is “postpartum alopecia” and as many as 90% of women experience it to varying degrees.
Here’s a bit of the science as to why postpartum hair loss is happening to you:
During pregnancy, various hormones – like estrogen, progesterone, oxytocin, and prolactin – increase quite a bit. Immediately after birth, however, those hormones levels drop drastically including estrogen and progesterone which are hormones that play a role in hair growth and hair loss.
High levels of estrogen during pregnancy prevented your usual rate of hair loss of about 80-100 hairs a day. Because of a sudden drop in hormone levels after birth (compounded by your now decreased blood volume and blood circulation too), your hair is making up for lost time and falling out faster and in much bigger clumps than normal. It’s losing the hair you should have lost the last nine months in only a few short months postpartum so it feels excessive, and it is.
In fact, new moms may be shedding about 400 hairs a day during this postpartum hair loss phase!
Not all women will notice dramatic changes in their hair during pregnancy or after, but it’s more obvious often for women with longer hair.
You always know when you are undergoing the postpartum hair loss stage when you experience any or all of the following:
- You need to clean out your hairbrush/comb at least every day, but more likely, with every stroke.
- You have hair tumbleweeds blow across your bathroom and bedroom floors when a fan is on.
- You constantly pull hairs off your clothes.
- You pulling hairs out of your toothbrush after you already started brushing because some fell on it while getting ready for the day.
- You find out the reason your baby is crying is not because of a soiled diaper, hunger, or gas, but because a single strand of hair is wrapped around a toe or finger.
- You wonder how you still have any hair on top of your head.
- You need to take scissors or a razor to the vacuum roller after every use, and pull clumps of hair off your broom after sweeping.
- You find an increased number of hairs in your food. (Gross!)
- You have to buy Drano (or better yet a drain snake) for your shower drain because it’s been clogged by a hairy nest.
- You cannot prevent hair from falling into your face even when it is up in a ponytail.
- You finally get that “pregnancy glow” (in case you missed that pregnancy symptom) courtesy of a “hair halo” or “baby bangs” or “mom bangs” when your hair is in the said ponytail. Nothing like your own baby fuzz to match your newborn’s!
- Your husband (partner or roommate) is constantly disgusted by the hair he finds everywhere!
- You having to clean your bathroom sink off more often because of the amount of hair that falls on it.
- You have that annoying feeling of the “phantom hair” on your arm or face or leg. You can feel it there, but can’t seem to get rid of it!
- Anytime you run your fingers through your hair you get hair stuck all over your hand and fingers (and it is no longer cute, smart, or flirty to do so).
When Does Postpartum Hair Loss Start?
This will vary and can start anytime after giving birth, usually between 2-6 months, peaking around 4 months postpartum. However, some women don’t experience it until 12 months after giving birth!
How Long Does Postpartum Hair Loss Last? When Does Postpartum Hair Loss Stop?
For most women, the hair loss should be back to normal shedding amounts by about 6 months postpartum but could take until the 12-month mark.
How to Avoid Postpartum Hair Loss? Can You Prevent Postpartum Hair Loss? How Do You Make It Stop?
Sorry to break it to you, but nature has to take its course on this one! While you can do things to make it less severe (perhaps) or at least less noticeable or more manageable, it happens to most women, is normal, and it just one of them things.
You can stop postpartum hair loss by not having a baby or never getting pregnant or… by shaving your head.
Take comfort in the fact that you made an amazing little person and people are looking more at the baby right now than too closely at your hairline.
Also, unfortunately, breastfeeding does not help you avoid postpartum hair loss.
The good news is that it is temporary and you aren’t actually going bald. New hair is growing in!
How to Gauge If You Have Severe Postpartum Hair Loss?
If you think you have excessive postpartum hair loss, you should totally go see a medical professional.
It’s rare for it to be severe, but if you really are seeing massive bald spots or massive clumps of hair every day for months, seek a medical opinion on your hair loss. Pregnancy puts lots of hormones out of whack and it may be affecting your thyroid or be a symptom of anemia, so ask to have blood tests done.
Please be better safe than sorry.
Postpartum Hair Loss Treatment
Okay, while you can’t really stop postpartum hair loss from happening, there are several postpartum hair loss solutions, including postpartum hair loss vitamins, postpartum hair loss shampoo, and other postpartum hair loss remedy ideas.
Postpartum Hair Loss Vitamins and Health Tips
Just because you aren’t pregnant anymore, don’t stop taking prenatal vitamins or, at the very least, take a multivitamin every day. Think about taking fish oil as well.
Be sure to eat a healthy diet, high in fruits and vegetables, which contain flavonoids and antioxidants that may provide protection for the hair follicles and encourage hair growth.
Try to reduce your stress levels! Do some yoga, meditate, exercise, go on a nature walk, write in a journal, read scriptures, work on some hobby, or whatever it is that helps you reduce stress. Stress will just make the hair loss greater.
Postpartum Hair Loss Shampoo and Hair Care Tips
Use postpartum hair loss shampoos and conditioners that contain biotin and silica. Nioxin makes great postpartum hair loss shampoos and scalp treatments. Be sure to moisturize really well too as it helps prevent tangles (aka more hair falling out). Use a conditioner in the shower or a special leave-in moisturizer.
Be gentle to your hair. Use a wide-toothed comb to detangle your hair instead of a brush. Take fewer showers (which likely isn’t that challenging as a new momma!) or if you do shower, don’t wash your hair. Also, avoid blow dryers, straighteners, and curlers as much as possible. Let your hair air dry instead.
But, if you must blow dry, use the cool setting, and be prepared for a hairy chest, floor, and counter when you are done.
Also, hair is fragile when wet so do not wrap your wet hair in a towel on top of your head. I repeat, don’t do this:
Also, push back getting your hair colored or permed until after the excessive hair loss period ends.
Hairstyles for Postpartum Hair Loss
Because you know you can’t stop the hair loss, often the best you can do is figure out the best way to live with it. That’s where these tips come into play!
A simple fix might be to part your hair differently, to the side, or somewhere other than you usually do to limit the weird little hairs or bald spots from showing as much. Think about wearing headbands, scarves, bandanas, or hats to hide that halo and keep hair from falling everywhere.
You can also use a volumizing mousse to give your hair some volume (and to tame those wild little hairs around your hairline at the same time).
If you put your hair up, wear scrunchies or barrettes instead of rubber or elastic bands, and generally avoid tight up-dos. In other words, get your inner ’80’s on!
If the hair everywhere is bugging the snot out of you, go ahead and get a short haircut, like I did. And perhaps with bangs in order to mask your new baby bangs. It will make the hair falling everywhere not so intense as the strands will be shorter. Plus, a simple, wash and go cut may be easier with a new baby.
Or, just shave your head. Problem solved.
Lastly, you can try tinted hair powders or fiber-based thinning hair concealers on any baldish spots.
Congrats on the new baby! Stop stressing about the hair and instead read one of these articles instead:
- Best Affordable Nursing Clothes All Under $40!
- The 11 Best Subscription Boxes for Babies Ages 0-3
- Here’s What You’ll Get in a FREE Walmart Baby Box
- The Ultimate Guide on How to Sleep During Pregnancy
- How to Deal with Sleep Deprivation as a Breastfeeding Mom
- The Best Newborn baby Carriers for Multi-Tasking Moms
- 15 Must-Have Baby Items Essential for Life with a Newborn
- The Thrifty Mom’s Guide to Basic Baby Feeding Supplies
Erika Kimbler says
I dyed my hair two weeks ago and shed a LOT of hair immediately after. Since then, I seem to be back at my normal pre-pregnancy shedding amount. 3 months of postpartum hair loss and I’m glad to be done!
Thank you for posting this made me laugh and cry I’m experiencing it and it sucks my hair is super long and I don’t wanna cut it but I think I have to anyways thank you for writing this.
Katelyn Fagan says
Thank you for your kind comment! I was hoping for both laughter and tears. lol. Postpartum hair loss is a funny and sad reality. Good luck!
I experienced this after my son’s birth and it lasted around 6 months he is now 19 months and it’s worse than ever???
Any other suggestions would be greatly appreciated
Sounds like a deficiency of some kind – babies really suck it out of you! Try the food and supplement ideas here (cod liver oil especially) but give yourself a good while to see improvement, since hair grows and dies on a 3 month cycle.
I was a surrogate for a couple and had the baby in January about a month ago my hair started falling out just like you explained in your post. I have been taking multivitamins and washing my hair 2 times per week. My hair stil falls out just like you described. It’s gross. Does all the hair eventually grow back?
Katelyn Fagan says
I sure hope so! No, it really should all grow back. It just takes a few months. Hang in there!
Thank you so much for this post! I was freaking out over waking up every morning to a pillow covered in hair or just the massive amount of hair loss ( I never had this with my first child ) Now at least I know I am not alone and that is somewhat reassuring!
From what I understand, PPHL is not actually losing more hair than you normally would over time, it’s losing all the hair that you DIDN’T shed while you were pregnant (due to different hormones… remember how nice and full your hair was then?) So your body isn’t really trying to make you go bald, it’s just catching up on the regular growth/shedding cycles that it skipped when you were expecting!
OMG THIS ^^^^^ makes so much sense and makes me feel SO much better!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Thanks for this post! I was SO HAPPY to see I am not the only one with the scary hairy wall in the shower! My husband and sister (she has super short hair) thought it was so weird when I had my first son, but it’s SO NECESSARY! Cleaning out the drain daily is not something i would like to add to my to-do list.
I could of written this! Thank you thank you for putting this out there. I feel strong knowing I’m not alone. I’m already struggling with learning to love my post preggo body after twins and c section.now baldness….reading this reminds me this too shall pass. I’ll just grow my hair with my daughtwr. We’ll match;)
Katelyn Fagan says
Ha. Yes. And you are not alone. I had a csection with my twins. Totally get all that it does to your body!
Rhonda Montemore says
You have got to be one of the funniest women ever. Stumbled across this on pinterest….and I am totally going through it! My husband is constantly asking if it’s my hair that is completely covering every surface imaginable. I find my hair on my children’s heads!! And the craziest part is I never had hair growth with this pregnancy?
Katelyn Fagan says
Thanks for compliment! I like to think I’m funny. I am shedding like crazy right now (again – fourth baby is 3 months old now) and it is everywhere!! It does eventually stop… eventually…