Postpartum Hair Loss: Our Complete Guide

Hair loss in women is actually extremely common, and more women are dealing with postpartum hair loss than you think.

Firstly, if you’re here because you’re experiencing hair loss after giving birth you are not alone. Postpartum hair loss is common (it can be particularly noticeable in around 60-70% of new mothers), but despite this, when you’re already emotionally and physically vulnerable it can be a devastating experience.

Postpartum hair loss (also known as Postpartum Telogen Effluvium) can be fairly minor, but for some new moms, it can be severe and distressing. Due to hormonal changes in the body, after birth, your hair can sometimes fall out in fistfuls and shed rapidly. Tresses may become limp and straggly, your hairline may recede and the hair itself can thin. The average person loses up to 100 hairs a day, but new moms can lose up to 400, so if you’re noticing excess hair on your pillow or in the shower drain, you’re probably not imagining it!

These symptoms can have a terrible effect on a new mother’s mental health and confidence. A woman’s relationship with her hair is closely linked to how they feel about themselves, more so than a man’s relationship with his. Alongside the new stress of caring for a newborn, it may feel even more exhausting, overwhelming and/or you may be finding it difficult to cope.

But, what causes postpartum hair loss in the first place?

Well, when you’re pregnant, your body experiences a surge in progesterone and estrogen levels which keeps the hair in an ongoing state of growth. You may have found that during your pregnancy, you had thicker feeling hair, more length, and generally luscious locks. After you give birth, the body levels its hormones out again, so hair may remain in the 'resting' stage of its growth cycle and then fall out anytime between 2-6 months postpartum. By 6 months though, hair loss should have slowed to pre-pregnancy levels… But it can take up to 12 months.

Can postpartum hair loss worsen with further pregnancies?

No, but genetic issues related to hair loss may be triggered by pregnancy. For example, Female Pattern Baldness/Androgenetic Alopecia (where the hair thins on the top and front of the scalp) can be triggered and become more pronounced with each pregnancy. This type of hair loss is hereditary.

If you're expecting postpartum hair loss, below you'll find 4 simple and stress-free ways to support your hair, and yourself, with the symptoms.

woman smile with baby

Talk about your hair loss experience

When the baby’s born it’s all anyone wants to talk about. This can sometimes leave new mothers feeling like what’s going on with them doesn’t matter. Talk about your hair issues with loved ones and close friends, especially other new moms who may also be having a similar experience. It can be great for fostering a helpful and supportive circle, and help you to feel less alone.

Find the best shampoo for postpartum hair loss, and that's best for you

Conditioning shampoos can weigh the hair down and make it appear thinner and lank. A targeted, thickening shampoo and conditioner can add body to your tresses. Designed to encourage growth and promote strength, Cel's Microstem Shampoo & Conditioner is one to try.

Its formula is made up of a powerful blend of scientifically optimized plant extracts, including Active Panax Ginseng and Biotin, which strengthen the hair and promote new hair growth. Active Panax Ginseng works to increase the number of dermal papilla cells in the scalp, as well as stimulates follicles to encourage more hair growth where it has started to thin.

Is this the best shampoo for postpartum hair loss? We think so!

woman holding baby

Ditch the hair styling tools to help with postpartum hairloss

Heating the hair can make it look thinner and cause damage and breakage. Try holding off on styling your locks, and where possible let it air dry. Be gentle when you brush, and avoid harsh dye and chemical treatments. The hair (and you!) needs nourishment right now and you can go back to styling once the thinning and shedding has stopped.

Have long hair and want to get it out of the way? Put your hair up or back using 100% silk scrunchies. Silk is gentler on your hair and will prevent any breakage.

Adapt your diet for hair growth to help combat postpartum hairloss

Caring for a newborn, in addition to breastfeeding (if you have chosen to) can put immense strain on your body. Make sure you’re maintaining a good diet and providing it with the fuel it needs. You need to normalize your blood sugar and Iron, Ferritin, Zinc, and Vitamin D levels.

Specifically for your hair, dark leafy greens will support you on Iron and Vitamin C and foods like sweet potatoes and carrots can help with beta carotene. Eggs will boost your Vitamin D and Biotin and fish will re-stock you on Omega-3 and Magnesium, all of which are essential for hair growth.

If you’re concerned you’re lacking, try using a supplement that can keep your vitamin and mineral levels tip-top during this delicate time and speak to your doctor if you’re unsure. 

Final thoughts on postpartum hairloss

You are amazing. You have made a tiny baby human and you’re doing an incredible job, momma!

But, if you’re experiencing postpartum hair loss, and it doesn’t seem to be slowing down, speak to your doctor. Pregnancy can change your level of ferritin which is a protein found in your blood cells that helps the body store iron. Pregnancy can also affect your thyroid function so if you’ve noticed an alarming amount of hair loss, make sure to communicate this to your doctor and ask for blood tests to check on both these things.

If you are still having issues by the time it's your baby’s first birthday, speak to your dermatologist.

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MEET THE AUTHOR

Sarah Milton

A passionate content writer, with a specific interest in the science behind hair care. Having created content for several years, I’ve grown my knowledge exponentially in the science behind hair growth, quality and texture, and what ingredients our tresses need to thrive. When not in the office, I’m walking my dog along the beach or invested in a brilliant television drama.