How long does postpartum hair loss last?

And they said pregnancy symptoms were weird. Yet here you are, shedding hairs at a rate that’ll surely leave you as bald as the back of your baby’s head before the month is out. 

What the actual f*ck is up with postpartum hair loss

We’re here to assure you that it’s normal, it will stop, and fresh hair growth is on its way! Keep in mind that during your postpartum period your body is contending with wild hormone fluctuations AND recovering from the intensity of birthing a person. It’s probably okay for your hair to act out a little, all things considered.

In this article, we’ll explore the ins and outs of postpartum hair loss, including why on earth it happens, how long it lasts, and what you can do about it.

What causes postpartum hair loss?

Once you deliver your baby, your body’s estrogen levels will plummet. This is the hormone that gave you luscious pregnancy hair by reducing natural shedding. Now that it’s not being produced as much, you’ll experience what dermatologists like to call ‘excessive hair shedding’. 

Yes, shedding. Like a Golden Retriever on carpet. 

It’s not actually hair ‘loss’, if we’re going to get technical. That would be the case if something stopped the hair from growing altogether. In the case of ‘postpartum hair loss’, your hair is falling out but it will grow back (phew!). 

In saying that, there can be an emotional loss related to losing your pregnancy hair (may it rest in peace). It’s okay to feel upset about it and have a little cry in the shower as it cruelly clogs up the drain just to rub it in your face.

In all seriousness – your body is going through a massive change. Give yourself permission to feel these feels about your hair. 

So when does postpartum hair loss start?

You might start to notice it anywhere from two months after giving birth, with postpartum hair loss typically reaching its peak around four months after.

And when does postpartum hair loss stop?

The age-old question of ‘how long does postpartum hair loss last?’ doesn’t have a defined answer. The American Academy of Dermatology Association indicates that most women regain their hair’s normal fullness by their baby’s first birthday or earlier. 

You may notice your hair shedding for six months or so in full, and after this you’ll see tiny postpartum baby hairs start to sprout. But while the new growth does its thing, your hair may still feel thinner than normal.

After 12 months postpartum, if your hair is still falling out in clumps it may be worth checking in with a dermatologist to see if something else might be causing it.

How to stop postpartum hair loss (or at the very least manage it!)

You may be so focused on learning to parent that you don’t even notice your postpartum hair loss happening. On the other hand, you might be so ready for your body to return to ‘normal’, that it really throws your confidence off. 

In some cases, moms can experience severe postpartum hair loss, with large chunks of hair loss revealing sections of scalp. This can understandably leave you feeling anxious to stop postpartum hair loss, or find a way to manage it. 

Your doctor is probably a good first port of call. They might be able to recommend medications or supplements, or even look into other causes of your hair loss (i.e. thyroid problems, iron deficiency).

While there’s no proven formula on how to prevent postpartum hair loss (sorry!), you could try some of the following. 

Postpartum hair loss vitamins

You probably took prenatal vitamins during your pregnancy, so it wouldn’t be a huge leap to invest in postnatal vitamins to aid your body’s overall postpartum recovery. 

Studies show that the best vitamins for postpartum hair loss may include Vitamin D, iron and Vitamin C (particularly if you’re iron deficient). Some women swear by taking biotin (often available as a gummy supplement), but the research is thin on its role in preventing postpartum hair loss. 

Vitamins strategically marketed for postpartum hair loss could be useful (and look very pretty on the shelf) – but be wary of marketing teams cackling as they feed off your postpartum insecurities. Read labels carefully, and before taking any new supplement always get advice from your doctor. This is especially important if you’re breastfeeding.

Postpartum hair loss shampoo

You may find success in hair products marketed for postpartum hair loss – give them a shot if you like. But The American Academy of Dermatology specifically recommends using volumizing shampoos containing ingredients like protein that coat the hair. 

Avoid ‘conditioning shampoos’ and ‘intensive conditioners’, as these may weigh down your hair. Instead, opt for conditioners formulated for fine hair, and apply just to the ends.

Natural postpartum hair loss remedies

When it comes to your body’s postpartum recovery – whether it’s your hair, your vagina, your c-section scar, or your postpartum bleeding – there are a few natural ways to get yourself back on track faster.

  • Rest and take it easy (by asking for help with chores, meal prep, night feeds, and getting sleep).
  • Prioritize nutrition in your diet.
  • Follow your doctor’s advice on postpartum care (including when to resume exercise and sex).

Taking good care of yourself may not magically stop your hair from falling out, but it will make you feel a LOT better. And it might give your body the fortification needed to overcome postpartum depletion and grow f*cking great hair.

Get a postpartum haircut

As silly as it may sound, you might find that a trip to your hairdresser is the thing you need to get your confidence back in your postpartum period! Ask for their advice on hairstyles to suit your thinner hair, and how to avoid the ‘crazy scientist look’ when your postpartum hair regrowth comes through. (Unless you ARE a crazy scientist, and you dig the look!)

Most importantly, know that your precious babe doesn’t give a rat’s a*s what your hair looks like. You’re perfect to them, scraggly locks and all. And by the way – in case no one has told you today, you’re doing a really great job at this mom gig.

Laugh and cry with other patchy-headed postpartum moms on Mumli – register to download the app today.

Women’s Health Specialists of CentraState, When Does Your Body Go Back to ‘Normal’ After Pregnancy?

American Academy of Dermatology Association, Hair Loss In New Moms

American Academy of Dermatology Association, Do You Have Hair Loss Or Hair Shedding?

Simple Well Family, Postpartum Hair Loss: How To Stop It Naturally

Dermatology and Therapy, The Role of Vitamins and Minerals in Hair Loss: A Review

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