Understanding and Managing Postpartum Hair Loss

Postpartum hair loss is a condition that happens three months after childbirth and can last up to six months. Read this article to learn about this condition’s causes, symptoms, and treatments.

What Is Postpartum Hair Loss?
Postpartum hair loss is excessive hair shedding a few months after giving birth. It is caused by hormonal changes that happen during and after pregnancy.

How Does Hair Grow?
Hair grows from spores in the skin on your scalp, known as hair follicles. It continues growing and shedding and has a three-phase cycle that repeats throughout your life:

  • Anagen phase: This is the phase of active hair growth and lasts between two to six years.
  • Catagen phase: This is the phase where your hair follicles start shrinking.
  • Telogen phase: This resting phase lasts for three months, after which your follicle releases the hair, and it falls out.

How Does Postpartum Hair Loss Happen?
Pregnancy hormones make many hairs in the anagen (growing) phase enter the resting (telogen) phase. This makes you lose those hairs a few months later.

You typically have 80,000 to 12,000 hairs on your scalp and lose up to 100 hairs daily. However, postpartum hair loss causes you to lose over 100 hairs daily.

How Long Does Postpartum Hair Loss Last?
Postpartum hair loss is temporary, and shedding should last less than six months. This means your hair should be full again when your child is one.

What Are The Signs of Postpartum Hair Loss?
The primary sign is seeing more loose hair than normal on your pillow, shower floor, or hairbrush. You may also notice more loose hair on your clothing.

How Is Postpartum Hair Loss Treated?
There’s no treatment for postpartum hair loss, but these steps can make your hair feel fuller and stop further hair loss and damage:

Use a shampoo and conditioner that adds volume: Using shampoos and light conditioners can add hair to your scalp. However, you must experiment to find what works best for you.

Try a different hairstyle: Shorter hairstyles can make your hair look fuller. They are also easier to maintain, which is advantageous when you have a new baby.

Treat your hair with care: You should use lower heat settings on styling irons and blow dryers to prevent further hair damage.

Postpartum hair loss can make you feel anxious and stressed out. However, it’s a normal occurrence that happens after childbirth.

While you can’t prevent it, you can successfully manage it with the right products and hairstyles that can help your hair look fine until it grows back. You should also talk to your healthcare provider if you keep losing hair for more than six months as this could be a sign of thyroid disease.