Hair Loss After Pregnancy
Help, I'm Losing My Hair!

postnatal care


Hair Loss After Pregnancy


Why Is My Hair Suddenly Falling Out?
How Long Does Hair Loss Last?
How Can I Prevent Hair loss?
Personal Stories

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Postpartum Guide
Why Is My Hair Suddenly Falling Out?

During pregnancy our body experiences a surge of estrogen hormone levels. This surge stimulates the growth of extra hair while at the same time preventing normal hair loss. The result? A beautiful and luxurious full head of hair. After delivery, when hormone levels return to pre-pregnancy levels, you may suddenly notice you start shedding a lot of hair (although it can take up to 2 months before you notice it). If this happens, try not to panic - you are not going bald! Ordinarily (when not pregnant), we lose about 100 hairs a day (but not all at once, so we don't notice it) and those hairs are continually being replaced. When you are pregnant those hairs stop falling out, plus you have extra growth leading to luxurious locks. Unfortunately it doesn't last forever. After delivery, the hairs that would ordinarily have been shed in the previous 9 months PLUS your daily allowance of 100 hairs begin to fall out - occasionally in disturbing clumps. This is medically termed telogen effluvium. Some women find that hair loss does not begin until they stop breastfeeding or begin to wean their baby.

How Long Does Hair Loss Last?

It takes about 6 months for hair loss to get back to normal. According to the American Pregnancy Association (APA) 40 to 50 percent of postpartum women report noticeable hair loss after having a baby.

How Can I Prevent Hair loss?

In reality there is little you can do to halt the process, you simply have to let nature take its course. Most hair loss tips are cosmetic and focus on making the hair appear thicker rather than actually making it thicker. For example washing your hair with a volumizing shampoo that contains silica and biotin (such as those my manufacturers Swanson or Jason) and gently brushing it when it is wet can help with the appearance. For additional advice, see hair loss during menopause which is also hormone related) as well as treatments for female hair loss.

What Else You Can Do

• Ask your doctor about performing a blood test to rule out an underlying cause such as postpartum thyroiditis.
• Increase your intake of fruit and vegetables because they contain antioxidants and flavonoids which can promote hair growth.
• Continue taking your prenatal vitamins if you are breastfeeding.
• Try to relax, stress is a leading cause of hair loss. Read more about the dangers of stress on the body.
• Drink plenty of water, at least 6 to 8 glasses a day to stay hydrated.
• Add protein rich foods like red meat, nuts and beans to your diet.
• The APA also recommends supplementing your diet with:
Vitamin B complex
Vitamin C
Vitamin E

Related Articles
Postpartum complications: List of more serious problems.
Losing weight after childbirth: Dieting, nutrition and calories.
Postpartum checkup: What to expect at your 6 week examination.
Postpartum sex: When is it safe and what if I don't feel like it?

Personal Stories

I was so amazed by my beautiful hair when I was pregnant because I've always had really thin hair. It was the first time I've ever experienced thick hair. Now I could cry. My hair is everywhere, all over the house, in the baby's crib, diapers, even in our food! Yuck. I'm vacuuming twice a day just to deal with it. I'm afraid to take a shower because it seems to come out in clumps. It literally hurts my head. It's 3 months since I gave birth; I'm hoping things will improve.
Jean, Ontario

I lost lots of hair in the first few months after giving birth, but it continued past the 6 month mark. It was falling out in clumps and I started to panic. I went to my doctor and he performed a blood test to check for an underlying cause. Turned out I had postpartum thyroiditis. Apparently it's a really common condition that affects about 5 percent of new moms, but because we feel so under the weather anyway, it can go unnoticed.
Joy, Louisville

When my hair started falling out it was thinning at the front and I completely freaked. I went to the doctor and he gave me a battery of tests - blood test, checked my thyroid, kidneys, iron levels, everything he could think of. All the tests came back normal, except he said I could probably do with a little more iron. He recommended I take those breastfeeding and pregnancy vitamins. My hair stopped falling out after about 4 months, and its grown back a bit around the front and sides. But it has lost a lot of the thickness it used to have. Not sure if I'll ever get that back.
Hazel, Bakersfield

About 2 months after having my baby I started having severe hair loss. I went to my doctor and he did some blood tests, he thought maybe it was something to do with anxiety or stress, but he didn’t know. Anyway the tests all came back normal, he said I could do with a bit extra iron but that there wasn't much more he could do. I just had to let nature take its course. I had such a fine head of hair while I was pregnant. But now it’s coming out in clumps and my hair line is receding so my fringe is practically nonexistent.
Susan, Brighton, UK

I have the same situation, my hairline is receding to the point that I’m worried that I’m going bald. Last week my GP prescribed me a steroid based lotion to rub on it twice a day, no difference yet. I have heard that rubbing rosemary essential oil into the scalp can help as a natural remedy. I’m trying it, plus rinsing my hair in cold water to simulate blood flow to the hair follicles. Doing my best not to stress about it, as I guess that won’t help much.
Tanya, Norfolk, UK

With my first baby I had awful hairloss, to the point that my doctor said I had alopecia. I tried every special shampoo, lotion and vitamin under the sun and was getting more stressed about it by the day. I went to a chemist in tears one day and she said that I was making matters worse by using all those lotions and potions. She gave me a ph balanced shampoo and conditioner (Sunsilk PH neutral with avocado milk) and some basic multivitamins and said relax, and let nature take its course. I did stop losing my hair and even better my hair returned to normal. After the second child I went straight to the PH shampoo and vits, and although I did lose some hair, it wasn't half as bad as the first time around (and it all came back again).
Siobhain, Dublin (Ireland)

  Related Articles on Postpartum Care

For more postnatal advice, see the following:

Postpartum bleeding: How much is normal?
Postpartum baby care: Tips on handling your baby's home coming.
Postpartum emotions: Anxiety, stress and depression.
Postpartum exercises: Routine and schedule, when to start.
Head and face conditions: Including hair, eyes and hearing.

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