Causes

Postpartum hair loss 

Pregnant woman sat edge of bed

Postpartum hair loss is hair loss after childbirth. You may be wondering why your hair looked so thick and luscious during pregnancy, only to see it falling out after childbirth. However, there is no need to worry! This is very common among new mothers, and is only temporary – the issue will remedy itself and there is no need to do anything different. Some women with longer hair are likely to notice the effects of postpartum hair loss than those with shorter hair. Regardless of your hair length, you should still be kind to your hair and nourish it as much as you can until it naturally recovers. 

Why do I have hair loss after pregnancy?

During pregnancy, the levels of hormones in your body significantly increases. In particular, the levels of oestrogen in your body rises much higher than it normally would, which effectively pauses your hair cycle and keeps hairs in the growth stage of the cycle (anagen phase). Normally, these hairs would have moved to the resting stage (telogen phase) of the hair cycle and eventually fallen out. The result is that your hair looks a lot thicker and more luscious during pregnancy. 

After pregnancy, the levels of hormones in your body gradually return to normal. This includes oestrogen. All these hairs that have been kept in the growing stage suddenly move to the resting stage (telogen phase). It is this shift in the hair loss cycle which means the hair loss occurs around two to three months after giving birth, as it takes time for hair to shed during the resting phase. 

Hair lifecycle Anagen Catagen Telogen Exogen Growth Transition Resting Shedding

Hair follicles are kept longer in the growth stage during pregnancy. The sudden shift to the hair's lifecycle happens around two to three months after giving birth.

Why do I have hair loss after pregnancy?

You should remember that postpartum hair loss is only temporary. The hair loss itself is usually visible around two to three months after giving birth, and within six months after giving birth your hair should be back to normal. You may notice the hair loss peak around the fourth month mark. It is important to note that every woman is different, and your hair loss may well fall out at a different rate than other women, or you may notice any visible hair loss at all. Women with longer hair are also more likely to notice the effects of postpartum hair loss than those with shorter hair. 

What happens if I am still losing hair after six months?

If you’re still losing your hair after six months, and the rate of loss does not appear to be reducing, you should consult with your doctor as there may be another underlying reason for your hair loss. An example may be iron or vitamin D deficiency, and your doctor will be able to diagnose the reason behind your hair loss.

You can get deficiency reading from a simple blood test. These can be ordered online and you can submit your readings to your medical profession. Click here to get started on ordering a test.

Other treatment options which may be explored for long term hair loss, which may be due to other underlying reasons, include the drug minoxidil. This is the only clinically approved drug by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to treat genetic hair loss, such as female pattern baldness, in women. There are pros and cons to this drug. It's important note, that it requires continuous use to maintain any new hair growth, so this isn't suitable to address temporary hair loss.

Other options which can be explored with a clinician is Platelet Rich Plasma (PRP) therapy. This takes your plasma cells and reinjects them into the scalp to boost hair growth. Follow the link to learn more about this and other treatments to address a wide variety of hair loss causes.

How to stop postpartum hair loss?

Hair being cut

Although you cannot stop postpartum hair loss, one of the easiest ways to disguise temporary hair loss can be by cutting the length of your hair. Although it does not increase the volume of your hair, it can give a more fuller appearance. Trimming off some of the weight will help to give it the extra bounce and lift your hair needs.

You should also focus on nourishing your scalp and hair follicles. This can be through improving lifestyle habits, for example quitting smoking, reducing your stress levels, and improving your food intake through a Mediterranean diet. This can help boost your nutritional intake to benefit your hair.

Other ideas include reducing heated, styling appliances to hair and taking best practice advice when washing your hair. Take a look at some prescription-free products we have picked out to boost hair growth, including oils and shampoos to encourage new hairs to grow strong. 

Will postpartum hair loss be worse with my second baby? 

There is no evidence to suggest that postpartum hair loss will be worse with your second baby, or any subsequent pregnancies after that. 

References

Please click below if you want to read the science behind this article.

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