Postpartum Hair Loss: Another Totally Normal Thing that Nobody Told You About
Toward the end of my first pregnancy, I felt like a complete goddess. My hair was long, full, voluminous, and even enviable. Flash forward to 12 weeks postpartum and the inside of my shower looked like Cousin It just washed up. One of the many things that nobody tells you (nobody told me, at least) to expect when you have a baby is that some of your long, full, voluminous, goddess-like pregnancy hair will likely fall out at some point during the first 8-16 weeks postpartum. For some, it may even feel like you are losing most of it. While it can be alarming to pull out fist-fulls of hair (as well as causing a plumbing problem), it is yet another totally normal and perhaps not-so glamorous reality of the motherhood transition.
Postpartum Hair Loss: How Common Is It?Research shows that approximately 88.7% of women experience some degree of hair loss beginning 2-4 months postpartum. In 59.1% of cases studied, the hair loss occurred toward the front of the scalp. 20.4% of participants had hair loss spread over the entire area of the scalp and in 11.2%, only the frontal regions of the scalp were involved. 66.65% of these women returned to their normal thickness and distribution of hair by four to six months postpartum (1).
Postpartum Hair Loss: What is actually happening?
While we are pregnant, our hairs simply stop falling out at their normal rate (2). Therefore we won’t shed hairs like we normally would. As a result, our locks are thicker, more luscious, and more voluminous. Once baby arrives and our hormones shift, our hairs start shedding again. Sometimes, the rate of shedding increases until our hormones level back out.
Postpartum Hair Loss: What to do about it
Postpartum is the perfect time to reset and get in touch with yourself and your new body since a woman’s body is in a state of healing for about 12 months postpartum. Support your postpartum healing by eating a diet rich in color and nutrients from a wide variety of animals, fish, plants, fruits, fats, and starchy tubers. Continue to take a high quality prenatal vitamin and add in a collagen and omega-3 supplement that can support your overall health and hair regrowth.
Postpartum Hair Loss: How to work with it
Perhaps it’s time to experiment with a new hairstyle, clips, or headbands. For me, this meant getting a sassy new haircut to help all the wispy new growth hairs blend in. Texturizing, volumizing, and dry shampoo styling products can help to bulk up your hair as well. If your hair has not started to regrow within 6 to 12 months postpartum, check with your doctor about other things that could be contributing to the deficit growth.
Connect with other mamas in your area and women in your tribe to hear what their healing journeys were like and what helped them. The early postpartum period is an opportunity to get to know yourself again after giving birth, since there is no going back, only forward. Your local BIRTHFIT Regional Director, BIRTHFIT Professional or BIRTHFIT Coach will be a wealth of knowledge on all the ways your healing can be supported, or connecting you to other professionals in your area.
Breanne Coates, DCBIRTHFIT Boulder @birthfit_boulder_co
- SCHIFF BL, KERN AB. Study of Postpartum Alopecia. Arch Dermatol. 1963;87(5):609–611. doi:10.1001/archderm.1963.01590170067011
- Lynfield, Y. (1960). Effect of Pregnancy on the Human Hair Cycle**From the Section of Dermatology, School of Medicine, University of Chicago, Chicago, Illinois.Presented at the Twenty-first Annual Meeting of The Society for Investigative Dermatology, Inc., Miami Beach, Florida, June 13, 1960. Journal of Investigative Dermatology, 35(6), pp.323-327.