Tips For Handling Postpartum Hair Loss
While postpartum hair loss is an expected part of the postpartum period, it can still be devastating and difficult for those experiencing it.
During this time, treat your hair gently and use strengthening and conditioning products to help keep the hair soft and supple to prevent breakage, says Dr. Yates, adding that changing your hairstyle to a shorter cut will also help it look thicker during the shedding and subsequent regrowth phase.
Its also important to monitor your nutrition to make sure you are getting enough vitamins and minerals to support you during this exciting and challenging change in your body and life, says Dr. Yates.
While theres no specific medical treatment for postpartum hair loss, Dr. Roskin says a volumizing shampoo can be a great option, as can avoiding heavy conditioners. Its better to use products for fine hair since they will be less likely to weigh down hair.
Be Aware Of Hair Tourniquets
Something to be aware of as a new mom, but especially if you are experiencing postpartum hair loss is hair tourniquets. A hair tourniquet is when a hair falls out of your head and gets wrapped around your babys finger, toe, or any other body part. This can cut off the circulation to that area for your baby. If you notice your baby crying for an unexplained reason, check their hands and feet for a hair tourniquet. If you find one, remove it by gently unraveling it. If you cannot find the loose end from which to unravel it, gently cut if off with small scissors. If you are struggling to remove the tourniquet, seek help from a healthcare professional immediately.
How To Prevent Pregnancy
While there’s little you can do to fully stop pregnancy-related hair loss from happening, there are actions you can take to help strengthen your hair.
A strategy that might help involves taking a more gentle approach to styling. This could include ditching the tight buns and ponytails, avoiding the urge to aggressively brush your hair, and carefully washing and drying your hair to avoid unnecessary tugging or pulling.
You might also avoid harsh styling tools that use heat, like straightening irons, that could put additional stress on your hair.
If you do use a hair dryer, don’t put it too close to your hair, as one study suggests that a 5 cm distance can help protect your hair from possible heat damage. Eating a healthy diet with plenty of protein can’t hurt, either.
If you have a medical condition that might contribute to your excessive hair shedding, be sure to stay consistent with your treatment plan. For example, if youre anemic, your healthcare provider may suggest an iron supplement, Dr. Said points out.
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How Do I Prevent Pregnancy Related Hair Loss
While pregnancy and postpartum hair loss may not be avoidable, there are measures you can take to minimize both and help regrow hair. The first is to ensure you follow a balanced diet, full of nutrient-dense foods like fruits and veggies, which are packed with flavonoids and antioxidants that may provide hair follicle protection and promote hair growth. If your diet is lacking, you may want to consider supplementing.1
Research has shown that the vitamins which are most necessary in growth and maintenance of hair are biotene, which is also known as vitamin B7, iron, vitamin C, vitamin D and zinc. With the exception of vitamin C, these are all commonly lower during pregnancy and in the postpartum period, Dr. Samuel explains.
Prenatal vitamins are important for hair supplementation as both demand from hair growth is increasing and supply is decreasing because of the nutrients taken across the placenta to your little one. Vitamin supplementation can offset that placental loss.
If your hair loss is extreme, or doesnt seem to resolve, talk to your doctor. He or she may request a blood test to ensure there arent any medical issues at play.
Shop postnatal vitamins to offset postpartum hair loss now. Plus, learn about the three things an OB/GYN wants you to know about the fourth trimester.
Postpartum Hair Loss Is Totally Normalbut There Are Things You Can Do To Stop It
Your hair is falling out in clumps, and youâre starting to panic. Hair loss after pregnancy is quite common. Hereâs when it will stop and what you can to slow down the shedding.
A few months following the birth of her third child, amid the sleep deprivation and endless nursing sessions, 29-year-old Alicia Mideys hair started coming out in alarming clumps. It really started to accelerate three months after I gave birth, says the Chesapeake, Va., mom. I knew it was a part of the postpartum process, but that didnt make dealing with the bald spots around my hairline easier. It was worse than it had ever been with my first two children.
Stephanie Black, a 38-year-old mother of one from Charlton, Ont., had a similar experience, though her hair loss was delayed. In my case, it didnt start until about a year after I had my son, and it happened so fast I thought I was going bald, Black says. My doctor said it was likely pregnancy related, but I was surprised that it took so long to take effect, since I only breastfed for a few months and didnt go back to work until months after my hair started falling out.
Shedding hair at a noticeable rate in the first two to six months after having a baby is not unusualonline parenting groups and social media status updates are full of new moms posting, Is this normal? Im freaking out! But the experience can vary among women.
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When Should I See My Healthcare Provider
Talk with your provider if you continue to lose hair for more than six months. You might have another condition that causes hair loss, such as iron deficiency or thyroid disease.
A note from Cleveland Clinic
Adjusting to having a new baby can be stressful. Postpartum hair loss can cause additional stress and anxiety. But hair loss after childbirth is normal and very common. And while you cant prevent it, the right hair products and hairstyle can help while youre waiting for your hair to grow back. By your babys first birthday, your hair should be full again.
Last reviewed by a Cleveland Clinic medical professional on 06/13/2022.
- American Academy of Dermatology Association. Hair Loss in New Moms. Accessed 6/13/2022.
- Hughes EC, Saleh D. Telogen Effluvium. . In: StatPearls . Treasure Island : StatPearls Publishing 2022 Jan-. Accessed 6/13/2022.
- Murphrey MB, Agarwal S, Zito PM. Anatomy, Hair. . In: StatPearls . Treasure Island : StatPearls Publishing 2022 Jan-. Accessed 6/13/2022.
Cleveland Clinic is a non-profit academic medical center. Advertising on our site helps support our mission. We do not endorse non-Cleveland Clinic products or services.Policy
How To Cope With Pregnancy
While there are products on the market that pledge to help with hair regrowth, you should talk with your healthcare provider before using them, as they may or may not be safe for your developing baby.
If you recall commercials for products that promise to regrow hair, you might also remember a warning for pregnant people to avoid using some of these items.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration assigns medications a safety rating on a scale from A to X .
Products known for promoting hair regrowth, such as topical minoxidil, which is designed to be applied to the scalp, fall into Category C, which the FDA warns, Animal reproduction studies have shown an adverse effect on the fetus and there are no adequate and well-controlled studies in humans, but potential benefits may warrant use of the drug in pregnant women despite potential risks.”
Dr. Said steers her pregnant patients away from this type of treatment altogether, explaining that its not worth taking the risk to address a temporary hair loss situation.
We want to be safe, and there are things that we just dont have enough data on during pregnancy, says Dr. Said.
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Why Do We Lose Our Hair After Pregnancy
Becoming a mother is a milestone in a womans life, both physically and mentally. Your hormones go through huge changes after giving birth and life can be hectic welcoming the new baby. Most women lose some hair in the first few months after giving birth, leaving many mothers wondering why. We take a look at hair loss after childbirth.
Almost all young mothers agree that hair loss after childbirth can be dramatic. Hair may come away in handfuls when brushing or stick to your hands when shampooing. Whats the explanation for this completely normal and temporary phenomenon1?
Maintaining A Healthy Diet
Nutrition is an important part of postpartum recovery. Eating a variety of fruits, vegetables, and healthy proteins helps ensure the body is getting the nutrients it needs to function and promote healing.
The Trichological Society recommends the following foods for hair growth:
- fish, including salmon and mackerel
- dark, leafy greens, including spinach, Swiss chard, and broccoli
- legumes, such as kidney beans and lentils
- nuts, such as Brazil nuts, walnuts, pecans, almonds, macadamia nuts, and cashews
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How Bad Is Postpartum Hair Loss
In some cases, postpartum shedding can uncover or trigger a more serious and lasting form of hair loss known as alopecia. Rarely, telogen effluvium can be a long-term problem. Chronic, serious stress and nutritional deficiencies are common culprits when this issue doesnt resolve itself in less than a year.
How Your Hormones Change During Pregnancy And Postpartum
During pregnancy, your hormones change dramatically.
One of the first to spike is human chorionic gonadotropin, or hCG. Thats the hormone your pregnancy test measured and its rising levels indicated that you were pregnant. Pregnancy also causes several other hormone levels to rise, including estrogen, progesterone, oxytocin, and prolactin. Your blood volume also rose during pregnancy, to as much as 50 percent greater volume than normal by your due date.
Immediately after your baby is born, several of your hormone levels drop quickly, including estrogen and progesterone. Those hormones will be almost back to normal levels within 24 hours after birth, although prolactin will stay high as long as youre breast-feeding.
Your blood volume also decreases, but its drop is more gradual. It gets back to normal a few weeks after your baby arrives.
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Do Dogs Look Different After Having Puppies
Yes, a dogs body also undergoes many changes, just like a woman. The only significant difference between them is that these changes occur in dogs for a shorter period than in women.
The changes that occur in a dog after giving birth to puppies are also known as whelping. After whelping, there are a lot of physical changes that occur in the body of a dog.
Dogs during and after pregnancy tend to consume more and more food. This often results in weight gain, and now this weight gain is low or high depending on your dog.
Another physical change in their body is that post-pregnancy pain. Due to this pain, your dog might cry or squeal. The best solution is to try to medicate your dogs properly.
Is It Normal To Lose Hair During Early Pregnancy
It is normal in some cases to experience hair loss during pregnancy, particularly early pregnancy. This is largely due to either the stress and/or shock of experiencing pregnancy. Rather than being directly tied to pregnancy, this is actually telogen effluvium.
Telogen effluvium largely occurs during the first trimester of pregnancy and should discontinue further into the pregnancy. If you are experiencing hair loss after the first trimester, you should talk to your midwife or GP about this, as it can be a sign of an underlying health condition
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Hair Loss After Pregnancy
Losing hair can be upsetting at any time, but it can be especially distressing if youve just gone through childbirth.
You may have noticed that your hair was thicker during pregnancy, when you shed less hair than usual. However, it can then start to fall out more and get thinner a couple of months after giving birth.
Known as postpartum hair loss, this can feel alarming. But its actually just your hair going back to its usual cycle of growth and loss after the changes of pregnancy. Its completely normal, and temporary.
Here, we explain why postpartum hair loss happens, how long its likely to last and what you can do about it as well as looking at other possible causes of hair loss after pregnancy.
When Does Postpartum Hair Loss Start
“Generally with telogen effluvium, there’s some sort of eventin this situation it’s giving birth, but there can be other causes. Basically, a larger amount of your hair than normal is triggered to enter this resting/shedding phase,” says Dr. Shah. It takes about three months for that hair to shed out, she adds, which is why most people notice postpartum hair loss around three months after delivery.
Hair might fall out all around your head, or clumps may come loose when you brush it or shower. Some people simply lose some strands around their hairline, so their mane looks very fine in the front, as if they’re going bald, says Stephanie Scuoppo, a hairstylist at the Elizabeth Arden Red Door Salon and Spa in New York City.
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When Does Postpartum Hair Loss Start And Stop
During pregnancy, you likely experienced a full head of hair. This is due to how pregnancy hormones affect the hair cycle along with your nutritional state from prenatal vitamins. However, once you are no longer pregnant changes occur.
It is estimated that at least 50% of women will experience some degree of postpartum hair loss. The medical term for this hair loss is telogen effluvium. The hair loss typically begins occurring around 10-16 weeks postpartum.
How Is Postpartum Hair Loss Treated
There’s no treatment for postpartum hair loss, but these steps can help your hair feel fuller and prevent further hair loss and damage:
- Choose a shampoo and conditioner that add volume. Volumizing shampoos and lighter conditioners can add body to your hair. You may have to experiment to find products that work best for your hair type.
- Treat your hair with care. Be gentle when washing and combing your hair. Use lower heat settings on blow dryers and styling irons to prevent damage. Avoid tight ponytails and braids that can add tension to your hair and lead to more hair loss.
- Try a different hairstyle. Shorter cuts may give your hair a fuller appearance. They are also easier to take care of, which can be helpful when you have a new baby.
Also make sure youre getting the nutrients you need for hair growth with a healthy diet. Talk to your provider about vitamins to supplement your diet.
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Why Do Women Experience Hair Loss After Pregnancy
Pregnancy is one of the most common sources of temporary hair loss in women. The reason is that during your pregnancy, hormonal changes can cause your hair to stay in the resting phase for a longer period of time instead of shedding as it normally would. This can often result in fuller, thicker hair during pregnancy.
Once your hormone levels return to normal, usually about 12 weeks postpartum, youll start noticing more shedding than usual. If youre noticing more hair loss than normal after giving birth, its only natural to wonder whether its related to your pregnancy or being caused by something else. Another worry is whether the hair loss is temporary or will eventually grow back.
Typically, when hair loss is caused by the normal hormonal changes during pregnancy, your hair should return to its normal growth cycle after a few months, and you should start to regrow much of your lost hair. If your hair loss continues and you dont experience any significant hair regrowth after six months, see your physician to determine whether your hair loss is being caused by something else.
Bosley Medical Director Dr. Ken Washenik explains the potential for hair loss in women during pregnancy and related to other hormone changes.
What To Do About Postpartum Hair Loss
You can’t prevent postpartum hair loss. It’s a normal part of the recovery from pregnancy. There aren’t any treatments to stop telogen effluvium or to speed up new hair growth. Doctors recommend eating a healthy and balanced diet. This may help hair grow after the shedding phase ends.
The hair you shed after having a baby will grow back over time. However, you may notice that you have a lot of new hairs that are much shorter than the rest of your hair. These are the new strands growing in, and they are a normal part of the postpartum hair growth process.
You may not like the look of your hair during the shedding and regrowth phase. In that case, you can use styling products or techniques to improve the way your hair looks. Try lightweight conditioners to avoid weighing hair down and making it look limp. Volumizing products can make your hair appear fuller. A fresh cut or new color can also improve how your hair looks. Your stylist might be able to suggest styling tips that would help as well.
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Hair Supplements And Postpartum Hair Loss
Its best to get the nutrients you need for hair health by eating a
Certain vitamins are important for hair growth. If your hair loss is thought to be caused by something other than hormonal changes after pregnancy, your doctor may do blood tests for iron, B12 or folate, and suggest a supplement if your levels are low.
Some other vitamins, including zinc, biotin and selenium, have also been linked to hair loss, but theyre not usually tested for.
If you don’t think youre getting all the nutrients you need from your diet and youre not breastfeeding, you could consider taking a multivitamin that contains a balanced amount of these nutrients. If youre breastfeeding, you could try a supplement thats designed for breastfeeding mothers.
Unless recommended by your doctor, its best not to take a large amount of any 1 nutrient, as occasionally this can lead to you getting too much, which can be harmful.