Losing hair after giving birth? Don’t worry — you’re definitely not alone. After giving birth, it can still feel a little like you are walking around in a body that has a mind of its own. While a new baby is always something to celebrate, the physical changes you go through are not quite so exciting. Case in point: postpartum hair loss.
Thanks to all the vitamins, the thick mane you developed during pregnancy may not wholly stick around. But, why do you lose hair after pregnancy, and, most importantly, how in the world can you make it stop? Here’s what to know about hair loss after giving birth.
A Closer Look at Postpartum Hair Loss
Postpartum hair loss means you are losing more hair than normal. You may find a lot more on your sheets or pillow when you get up in the morning. Likewise, you may get a brush full of hair while styling or end up with a wad of hair every time you take a shower. While disconcerting, this level of hair loss after pregnancy is actually common.
How do you know you are losing more hair than usual?
According to the American Academy of Dermatology Association, normal people lose anywhere from 50 to 100 hairs daily. Naturally, anything over this could be deemed excessive. Of course, most new mothers won’t be sitting around counting all the lost hair, but most people, in general, recognize when they’re losing more hair than usual. You may even just notice a difference in the texture and thickness of your hair.
Why Does Postpartum Hair Loss Happen?
Hair shedding happens for many reasons, including going through a great deal of stress or recovering from an illness. However, in the case of postpartum hair loss, most moms are dealing with a few things that spur the issue, such as:
- Changes in hormone levels.
- Rapid changes in body weight.
- Changes in sleep patterns.
- Changes in nutrient intake.
How long will post-pregnancy hair loss last?
The duration can vary from person to person. However, most people will start to notice hair loss about two months after having a baby. The problem can peak at around the four-month mark but should begin to slow down by the time six to nine months have passed. If post-baby hair loss remains an issue, it is best to discuss your symptoms with your doctor to ensure there is no prolonged issue at play, such as hormonal imbalances.
How to Deter Hair Loss After Having a Baby
You may not be able to completely keep the strands from falling out or your hair from losing all of its pregnancy volume, but a few things may help. For example, maintaining a healthy diet is key to supporting healthy hair and hair regrowth, and if you’re not eating the best foods, work a multivitamin into your everyday regimen.
Further, be sure to be gentle with your post-pregnancy hair. Heat, chemicals, and hair-styling methods that put pressure on your scalp can heighten the level of hair loss. In general, do your best to steer clear of:
- Flat irons
- Chemical-heavy hair dyes
- Straightening treatments like relaxers
- Aggressive combing
- Tight braiding
You can also do a few things to make the most of the thinner hair you have. For example, using a volumizer can help create a fuller appearance, while conditioners can make your hair look thinner or limp. Also, look for conditioners that are specifically formulated for fine hair.
As a side note, there’s a good reason why many new moms opt for a chic, shorter hairstyle right after having a baby. Shorter hair is less likely to get pulled out by curious little fingers, but it’s also easier to maintain and may not show signs of thinning quite so badly.
Should You Be Worried About Postpartum Hair Loss?
Not necessarily. For most women, this unfortunate event is simply a fact of life as your body transitions from one phase into another. The issue can be alarming without a doubt, especially when you see all kinds of new moms in parenting and baby magazines with incredible hair. However, most women also see a gradual decline in hair loss as the baby gets older and their body goes back to normal.
If you are at around the six- to nine-month post-baby mark and are still losing a lot of hair, it may be a good idea to seek the advice of a dermatologist or healthcare provider just to see what’s going on. Before then, however, try to avoid panicking when you find a drain full of hair or see your classic new-momma up-do is not anything close to robust and full.