It’s undeniable that our bodies rapidly change during and after pregnancy. Nine months come and go, your bundle of joy is born, and now you’re navigating a new post-pregnancy body.
Along with changes to our tummies, breasts, and waistlines, our hair can change too.
You’re three to four months postpartum, sleep-deprived and overwhelmed — and hair starts falling out in clumps. This can happen so fast you might feel like you’re going to lose it all. (But, we promise you won’t.)
This unfortunate postpartum side effect happens to as many as 90 percent of mothers to some degree. And it’s definitely challenging to deal with.
So, let’s talk about why this happens and how to deal.
Why does postpartum hair loss happen?
Losing hair after giving birth is normal and it’s pretty common.
During pregnancy, your hair might have looked the best it ever has. It’s thick, shiny, “pregnancy hair”. That is thanks to the steady rise of estrogen.
High levels of estrogen send signals to the hair follicles to grow baby grow! Then once you give birth and your hormones regulate, there is a drop in estrogen.
When there is a drop in estrogen, hair follicles go into their “resting” phase. Soon after this phase comes the “shedding” phase.
So, instead of shedding the normal 100-150 hairs a day, postpartum mothers start suddenly shedding 300-400 hairs a day. All of the hair follicles that were pushed into a resting phase start shedding.
Officially this condition is called postpartum alopecia. But this isn’t necessarily “hair loss”.
It’s not necessarily “hair loss” it’s actually “excessive shedding”
It’s important to note, this is entirely temporary. This is just a pesky side effect of hormone disruption. These changes can disrupt your natural hair growth cycle.
But, this will correct itself with time.
While dealing with excessive shedding is scary, it’s not exactly hair “loss”. Once that hair has shed, the hair will go right back into the next phase of early growth.
Soon, this period of excessive shedding will correct itself and your hair will grow back as beautiful as ever.
How long will this last?
Postpartum hair loss can occur around 3 to 4 months after giving birth and is often at its worst at the 4-month mark.
The American Academy of Dermatology says, by their child’s first birthday most mothers regain normal hair thickness and growth.
If hair loss is still happening 1-year postpartum, something else might be causing your hair loss and it’s best to speak with your doctor about hair loss treatments.
5 ways to deal with this temporary situation
While you’re waiting for your hair growth cycle to regain equilibrium, there are a few things you can do.
1. Pump up the volume and texture
Try using volumizing and texturizing products such as african american hair growth serum. When hair has more texture or volume, the less noticeable hair thinning is. When hair has more texture or volume, the less noticeable hair thinning is. Those with curly or wavy hair might be luckier as this natural volume can help camouflage any noticeable hair loss.
If your hair is quite straight and lacking natural volume try a hair cut that is designed for volume. There are also texturizing sprays and volumizing shampoos that can give your hair extra oomph.
2. Change your parting
Depending on where your hair loss is most noticeable you might consider changing up your parting. If your hair thinning is concentrated at your temples or along the sides, try rocking a middle part. This can help camouflage thinning areas.
3. Use lightweight products
Thinning hair is easy to weigh down. This means if you’re used to using thick moisturizing conditioners or styling creams — you might want to find lightweight alternatives.
Using lightweight oils or water-based products instead of creams can help you maintain as much natural volume as possible.
4. Eat a nourishing diet
Try eating a diet that supports hair growth. Here are a few foods that can help support new hair growth:
- Eggs are a great source of biotin, vitamin D, and protein
- Dark leafy greens are a great source of folate, iron vitamin A and C
- Omega-rich fish such as salmon, tuna, and sardines
- Avocados are a wonderful source of vitamin E
- Nuts and seeds
You can also supplement your diet with hair growth supplements.
Studies have shown significant hair loss improvement with the use of marine-derived omega-3 fatty acids and protein.
5 Try encouraging hair growth with hair growth topical solutions
If your hair growth doesn’t seem to be improving on its own, topical hair loss treatments for women are also a great option to help push the hair follicles into [growing] gear.
Minoxidil is a safe and effective hair growth treatment for women that encourages resting hair into the growing phase. Use over time can improve hair thickness and follicle minimization.
Speak with your doctor about Minoxidil and breastfeeding.
It’s all temporary — your locks will return
While it’s hard to be consoled when you’re going through some sudden and scary changes, know that postpartum hair loss is entirely normal and resolves on its own. Within one year most hair postpartum hair loss corrects itself.
If you’re dealing with hair loss that you feel is beyond what is “normal” give your friendly neighborhood doctor a call.
Your postpartum body might be changing wildly, but you’re still a force to be reckoned with, mama!
Lauren is a health and wellness content writer at strutyours.com. Strut Health is an online health clinic offering cost-effective treatment for everyday health problems like hair loss, ED, and acne. We aim to treat and destigmatize health conditions so our patients can walk tall again.