Postpartum Hair Loss: Because Having a Baby Isn’t Enough of a Headache

Postpartum Hair Loss

So, you’ve pushed a tiny human out of your body, and now you’re shedding hair like a shaggy dog in summer. Fun times, right? Welcome to postpartum hair loss – that delightful period where you’re already juggling a newborn, and now your hair decides to jump ship. Let’s dive into the why, the when, and the how to deal with this mess.

What is Postpartum Hair Loss and Why Does It Happen?

First things first: postpartum hair loss is a thing. During pregnancy, your hormones go wild, especially estrogen, which makes your hair thick and fabulous. Post-birth, those hormone levels crash, and all that hair you were holding onto decides it’s time to let go. This shedding usually kicks in around three months postpartum, just when you thought you might have a handle on this motherhood gig.

The Science Behind Hair Growth and Loss

Here’s the deal: your hair grows in cycles. There’s the anagen phase (where hair grows like crazy), the catagen phase (a short transition period), and the telogen phase (the resting phase before it falls out). Pregnancy prolongs the anagen phase, making your hair fuller. But once those hormones drop, the telogen phase hits hard, and you start losing hair like it’s going out of style.

To break it down further, let's talk numbers. Normally, 90% of your hair is in the anagen phase at any given time, growing like it’s got nothing better to do. The other 10%? They're chilling in the telogen phase, ready to shed. But during pregnancy, the high estrogen levels keep most of your hair in the growth phase, giving you that enviable, thick mane. Post-birth, when estrogen levels plummet, a lot of that hair moves to the shedding phase, leading to the noticeable hair loss.

When Does Postpartum Hair Loss Start and How Long Does It Last?

Brace yourself – the shedding usually starts around three months after giving birth and can last up to six months, sometimes even a year. It’s like a delayed reaction to all those pregnancy hormones. And just when you thought the worst was over, you’re pulling hair out of the shower drain every day.

But here’s the kicker: this hair loss is temporary. Your body is just recalibrating. Most women find that their hair starts to return to its normal growth cycle around six to twelve months postpartum. So, while it might feel like you’re going to be bald forever, rest assured, you won’t be.

Identifying Postpartum Hair Loss

Wondering if you’re shedding more than usual? If you’re seeing clumps of hair in your brush, shower, or even on your baby (ew, sorry, kiddo), congratulations, you’re in the postpartum hair loss phase. It’s normal to lose up to 300 hairs a day during this time, so don’t freak out – too much.

Here’s a tip: keep an eye on the drain during your showers. If it’s starting to look like a small rodent could be forming from all the hair, you’re definitely experiencing postpartum shedding. And if you find yourself constantly picking hair off your clothes or pillow, you’re not alone. This shedding can be relentless, but it’s also a sign that your body is adjusting back to its pre-pregnancy state.

Emotional Impact of Postpartum Hair Loss

Let’s be real: losing your hair sucks. It can mess with your self-esteem and make you feel even more overwhelmed. It’s hard enough being a new mom without feeling like you’re going bald. Talk about adding insult to injury. The key is to acknowledge your feelings, vent to your friends, or find a support group where you can share your frustrations and get some much-needed sympathy.

Feeling like your hair is betraying you is totally normal. You might find yourself avoiding mirrors or feeling self-conscious about your thinning hair. It’s okay to feel this way. Your body has been through a lot, and the emotional toll can be significant. Finding ways to cope, whether through talking to loved ones, practicing self-care, or even getting a fun, new haircut, can help boost your confidence.

Managing and Minimizing Hair Loss

So, how do you keep from losing your mind along with your hair? Here are some tips:

Healthy Hair Care Practices

Be gentle with your hair. Skip the tight ponytails and harsh treatments. Use mild, sulfate-free shampoos and avoid frying your hair with hot tools. Basically, treat your hair like it’s made of glass.

Here’s a pro tip: switch to a wide-tooth comb to detangle your hair. This reduces breakage and is gentler on your strands. Also, try to air-dry your hair whenever possible. If you must use heat styling tools, make sure to use a heat protectant spray to minimize damage.

Nutritional Support

Eat like you care about your hair. Load up on vitamins and minerals – iron, zinc, and vitamins A, C, D, and E are your friends. Consider a postpartum supplement, but check with your doc first. You don’t want to add any unnecessary drama to your life. Incorporate foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids, like salmon and flaxseeds, into your diet. These nutrients can promote healthy hair growth. Also, stay hydrated. Drinking plenty of water keeps your hair hydrated and strong.

Try to get a variety of fruits, vegetables, lean proteins, and whole grains in your diet. Not only will this support your hair, but it will also give you the energy you need to keep up with your little one. If meal prep feels overwhelming, consider simple, nutritious snacks like yogurt with berries, nuts, and seeds, or a quick smoothie packed with greens and fruits.

Effective Hair Products

Choose your products wisely. Volumizing shampoos can give the illusion of thicker hair, and lightweight leave-in conditioners can prevent your hair from being weighed down. Hair masks can also give your locks some much-needed TLC. Look for shampoos and conditioners that contain biotin, keratin, and other hair-strengthening ingredients. These can help fortify your hair and reduce breakage. You might also want to try scalp treatments that promote hair growth and improve the health of your hair follicles.

Experiment with different hairstyles that add volume and conceal thinning areas. A strategically placed braid or a tousled updo can work wonders in making your hair appear fuller. And don’t underestimate the power of a good haircut – sometimes a fresh style can boost your confidence and make your hair look healthier.

Medical Treatments and Interventions

Sometimes, all the good vibes and hair masks in the world aren’t enough. If your hair loss is severe and shows no sign of stopping, it might be time to bring in the pros. Consult your healthcare provider for options like minoxidil or other treatments. In extreme cases, you might even consider platelet-rich plasma (PRP) therapy, which sounds fancy because it is.

Minoxidil, also known by the brand name Rogaine, can be an effective treatment for stimulating hair growth. It’s available over the counter, but make sure to discuss it with your doctor to see if it’s right for you. PRP therapy involves drawing a small amount of your blood, processing it to concentrate the platelets, and then injecting it into your scalp. These platelets release growth factors that can stimulate hair growth.

Myths and Facts About Postpartum Hair Loss

Let’s bust some myths, shall we? No, postpartum hair loss doesn’t mean you’re going bald forever. It’s temporary, and your hair will grow back. Also, cutting your hair won’t stop the shedding, though a fresh cut might make you feel better about the situation. Keep your expectations realistic and focus on what you can control.

Another myth is that stress alone is the primary cause of postpartum hair loss. While stress can exacerbate hair shedding, the primary cause is hormonal changes. So, while it’s a good idea to manage stress for your overall health, don’t beat yourself up if you’re feeling stressed – it’s not the main culprit here.

Real Stories from Real Moms

Time for some real talk. Here’s my personal take on this hairy situation:

I’ve always had thin, fine hair – the kind that hair stylists just look at and shrug, recommending extensions like that’s a feasible solution for a new mom on a budget. When I got pregnant, I thought maybe, just maybe, the pregnancy glow would include luscious locks. Spoiler alert: it didn’t. Sure, my hair looked a bit fuller during pregnancy, but postpartum? It was like my scalp had a vendetta.

By five months postpartum, I was pulling out enough hair from my brush to knit a sweater. My self-esteem took a nosedive. I’d look in the mirror and see thinning spots that no amount of creative parting could hide. I tried to laugh it off, making jokes about starting a wig collection, but inside, I felt anything but amused.

I turned to Google, that fountain of both wisdom and anxiety. I read every article, tried every suggested remedy, and still felt like I was losing a battle. The tips sounded simple – eat well, use gentle hair products, avoid stress – but implementing them was another story. Eating well? I was surviving on coffee and whatever snack I could grab while my baby napped. Gentle hair products? Have you seen the price tags on those? Avoid stress? Hilarious.

Eventually, I found a rhythm. I started taking a multivitamin, made an effort to include more hair-friendly foods in my diet, and splurged on a couple of good hair products. I swapped my regular hair tie for a silk scrunchie and embraced the messy bun like never before. It wasn’t perfect, but it was a start.

The real turning point was accepting that this phase was temporary and reaching out to others who understood. I joined a few online mom groups and discovered I wasn't alone. Sharing stories, tips, and a few laughs about our shared hair struggles made a world of difference. There was comfort in knowing others were in the same boat, and their support helped me feel less isolated.

Hearing other moms talk about their creative solutions – from fun hats to headscarves to simply embracing the new look – inspired me to be kinder to myself. It wasn’t just about finding quick fixes, but about changing my perspective and recognizing that this, too, shall pass.


Postpartum hair loss is just another bump in the wild ride of motherhood. It’s temporary, it’s normal, and it’s something you can manage with a bit of care and a lot of patience. Don’t let it get you down – you’ve just brought a new life into the world, and that’s pretty amazing. Your hair will get back to normal, and until then, embrace the messy buns and hats. You’ve got this, mama!

Remember, this phase is temporary. Your body is recovering and adjusting, and so are you. Give yourself grace and take it one day at a time. And if all else fails, invest in a fabulous hat collection. You’ll look chic, and no one will be the wiser about what’s going on underneath.

Back to blog

Leave a comment

Please note, comments need to be approved before they are published.