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Postpartum Hair Loss: Everything You Need to Know

Childbirth and pregnancy are difficult enough, so experiencing hair loss after childbirth can be a distressing phenomenon for many new mothers. However, postpartum hair loss, also known as postpartum telogen effluvium, is a common occurrence and typically temporary. This guide aims to demystify postpartum hair loss, exploring its causes, and duration, and offering effective tips for management and prevention. Let’s take a look.

Understanding Postpartum Hair Loss

Postpartum hair loss refers to the shedding of hair that many women experience after giving birth. This condition is not true hair loss but rather a phase of increased hair shedding due to changes in hormones. During pregnancy, elevated estrogen levels prolong the growing phase of the hair, leading to thicker, more luscious locks. However, after childbirth, as hormone levels normalize, a larger number of hairs than usual enter the resting phase, eventually falling out.

The Onset and Duration

For most new mothers, postpartum hair loss starts two to four months after giving birth. The timing can vary from woman to woman, influenced by individual hormonal changes and health conditions. Typically, this phase of hair shedding can last from a few months up to a year. The good news is that this condition is temporary, and hair growth usually returns to its normal cycle without any specific treatment.

Hormonal Factors and Hair Growth Cycle

Having a better understanding of the hair growth cycle and hormonal influences can provide insight into why postpartum hair loss occurs: put simply, hair growth operates in three phases: anagen (growth phase), catagen (transitional phase), and telogen (resting phase). Postpartum hormonal adjustments can cause more hairs to move into the telogen phase, leading to noticeable shedding. This is a natural process, and the hair follicles remain intact, ready to grow new hair.

Coping with Postpartum Hair Loss

So, what can you do about it? Dealing with postpartum hair loss involves a combination of patience and adopting gentle hair care practices. Simple steps like using a volumizing shampoo, avoiding tight hairstyles, and minimizing the use of heat styling tools can reduce stress on your hair. Embracing this as a temporary phase and focusing on your overall health and well-being can also be beneficial – it’s not a permanent change to your appearance, so it’s good to remind yourself of this.

new mom holding her baby

Prevention Tips and Practices

While it’s challenging to completely prevent postpartum hair loss due to its hormonal basis, certain practices can help manage its extent and support hair health. These include maintaining a balanced diet rich in vitamins and minerals, staying hydrated, and managing stress effectively. Techniques for managing stress for hair health can be particularly helpful, as we all likely already know about the strong link between stress and hair loss.

Nutritional Support for Hair Health

Don’t forget that nutrition plays a key role in hair health, especially during pregnancy and the postpartum period. You should try to incorporate foods rich in iron, zinc, vitamin D, omega-3 fatty acids, as well as protein to support hair growth and strength. Supplements may also be beneficial, but it’s essential to consult with a healthcare provider before starting any new regimen.

Seeking Professional Guidance

If postpartum hair loss is severe or persists beyond the typical duration, you might want to seek professional advice – a healthcare provider will be able to assess if there are any underlying conditions contributing to your hair loss and recommend appropriate treatments. In some cases, exploring hair restoration methods, such as the DHI method of hair transplant, might be considered. However, these are usually only last-resort options when it comes to postpartum hair loss, as this is usually temporary.


When does postpartum hair loss start?

Postpartum hair loss typically begins two to four months after giving birth. This timing can vary among individuals, depending on their unique hormonal changes and overall health.

How long does postpartum hair loss last?

Postpartum hair loss can typically last from a few months to approximately a year. For most women, this condition is temporary, and hair growth returns to its normal cycle without needing treatment.

When does postpartum hair loss stop?

Postpartum hair loss generally stops as your hair cycles normalize, which can be around six months to a year postpartum. However, everyone’s experience is different, and for some, it may resolve sooner or slightly later.

How to prevent postpartum hair loss?

While preventing postpartum hair loss entirely may not be possible due to its hormonal nature, you can minimize its impact by maintaining a healthy diet rich in essential vitamins and minerals, staying hydrated, managing stress, and adopting gentle hair care practices.

What helps with postpartum hair loss?

Managing postpartum hair loss involves a combination of nutritional support, gentle hair care, and sometimes professional guidance. Consuming a balanced diet, using volumizing shampoos, avoiding harsh chemicals and heat styling, and seeking advice from a healthcare provider if the hair loss is severe or lasts longer than expected can be beneficial. Additionally, techniques that focus on reducing stress can also support overall hair health.

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