You’ve made it through the first couple of months after giving birth. Gradually getting your body back into shape. Suddenly your hair starts falling out in what seems like handfuls.
Hair loss can start around 3-4 months postpartum.
You find yourself shocked and staring at a bath plug blocked up with strands of hair. It can seem like strands and strands are just falling out whilst you are washing your hair, ending up tangled around your fingers. Or your hairbrush is full of hair after brushing.
It can be quite alarming at first, especially if you didn’t know about postpartum hairloss before.
But don’t worry!
Postpartum hair loss is a very normal phase, just another postpartum symptom, that happens starting around 3-4 months after giving birth. In fact, dermatologists (aad.org/new-moms) refer to it as hair shedding, which is different to hair loss (meaning more permanent hair loss).
Am I suffering from alopecia? Why am I losing so much hair?
Get used to hair everywhere! Your hair is going through a resting phase, which means hair falling out all over the place:
Clogged plug holes and shower drains
All over sofas and chairs
On the floor
All over your clothes
Stuck with static to car seats
In your food
Why does your hair fall out after having a baby?
Hair growth and hair loss always happens in regular cycles. However, during pregnancy, these regular hair cycles change.
Remember that wonderful pregnancy hair fullness and glow you had? Your hair never looked better. You can put it down to hormonal changes and the extra hormone levels in your body which stimulate hair growth.
Normal Hair Growth Cycles*
3-5 years growth (Anagen Phase)
Short 10 day transition phase (Catagen Phase)
3 months resting phase (Telogen Phase)
Normally, 85% of hair is in the growth phase (Anagen)
and 15% is in the resting phase (Telogen)
According to Bauman Medical an average human has 100,000 hair follicles on their head (it varies slightly depending on your hair type). The average amount of daily hair loss varies between 50 – 100 hairs according to the American Academy of Dermatology Association (https://www.aad.org/). It will be more noticeable if you have longer hair or thinner hair.
Does postpartum hair loss grow back?
Regrowth of your hair after it drops out postpartum:
Hair loss occurs within a space of a few months postpartum
Eventually the hair loss phase and process will calm down as hormonal changes settle back down
This means that much regrowth will happen at the same time, leaving you with hair fuzz for a good few months
How long does hair fuzz last for postpartum?
Most likely for a year or more, until your hair lengthens.
Hair grows around 0.3 to 0.4 mm per day or up to 1.25 cm a month (info from www.webmd.com)
Week by week your hair will gradually grow. Leaving you with strange short sprouts of hair.
Follow my postpartum care tips below for hair follicles and hair loss to help you through this phase of the postpartum period.
Does everyone’s hair fall out after pregnancy?
The amount of hair shedding will vary from woman to woman. It depends on hormonal levels and how each body reacts to the changes in hormone levels.
According to the American Pregnancy Association 40-50% of women will experience increased hair loss postpartum.
9 Tips for Caring for Postpartum Hair Shedding
The “mum cut”- cut it shorter, especially towards the front, to disguise regrowth better – preferred by celebrities (see this Cosmopolitan article)
Check the labelling on your shampoos and conditioners
Avoid conditioning shampoos and intensive conditioners – these products can weigh down your hair, thus increasing hair shedding (advised by the American Academy of Dermatology)
Brush or comb your hair gently, avoid pulling or tugging it as this will pull more out of already loose hair follicles
Maintain a healthy diet; eat lots of fruit and veggies. Nourish yourself with proteins, irons and vitamin C*2
Opt for a volumising shampoo to help to boost thinning hair
Use a scalp treatment to reanimate your hair follicles and support healthy re-growth
Take daily hair loss vitamins specifically for hair growth
Make sure you buy a hair catcher for your shower and/or bathtub to catch any excess hair. As you could be shedding hair in a short period of time, your drains could get easily blocked if you don’t catch the hair
Visit my web page on hair loss for postpartum care products for your hair.
Watch out for Baby’s Fingers and Toes
Important for baby health during the hair shedding postpartum period is to regularly check your baby’s hands and toes.
A small strand of care could get wrapped around a small baby finger and tighten, stopping the blood supply or hurting their skin. This is called a hair tournequet.
Healthline.com report that this phenomenon occurs frequently simply because a baby’s fingers and toes are so small, making it easy for a strand of hair to wrap around them.
Note: If you think your hair loss is abnormal – perhaps more than a clogged up plughole – then consult your doctor to ensure that you don’t have an iron deficiency or thyroid disorder.