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Postpartum Hair Loss: How Long Does It Last and When to Seek Help

Many new moms experience hair loss a few months after giving birth. This article will discuss why postpartum hair loss occurs, how long it lasts, tips for managing the condition, and when to see a healthcare provider.

Key takeaways:

What is postpartum hair loss?

Postpartum hair loss is a common condition that occurs approximately three months after childbirth. It is characterized by excessive shedding of hair, usually first noticed when brushing or washing the hair. Some new moms experience noticeable thinning and even bald patches.

The normal amount of hair to lose for people not experiencing postpartum hair loss is around 100 hairs per day. People with postpartum hair loss lose much more than that per day, but the exact amount varies from person to person. The average is around 300 hairs per day.

Postpartum hair loss can be upsetting to some new mothers, but it is important to remember that it is only temporary.

How long does postpartum hair loss last?

Postpartum hair loss usually resolves within six months but can sometimes take longer. It almost always resolves by the child’s first birthday. By that time, the mother’s hair typically returns to its pre-pregnancy fullness, although some women feel that their hair is still thinner than it was pre-pregnancy.

What causes postpartum hair loss?

Postpartum hair loss is caused by hormone changes after childbirth. During pregnancy, a surge of the hormone estrogen often causes hair to grow thicker and fuller than normal. As estrogen levels decline after delivery, the hair begins to shed. Unfortunately, postpartum hair loss cannot be prevented, as it is a natural part of the postpartum experience.

Treatment for postpartum hair loss

There is no treatment that can slow or prevent the hair shedding associated with postpartum hair loss. Postpartum hair loss usually resolves on its own, but it can take months to improve. In the meantime, here are some practical tips to help manage the condition:

  • Gentle hair care. Be gentle when brushing and combing your hair to avoid breakage and increased shedding. Avoid tight ponytails or other hairstyles that can add unnecessary tension to your hair. Avoid heat styling.
  • Healthy diet. Eating a diet rich in healthy proteins, fruits, and vegetables can help improve hair health. Foods with iron, Vitamins C & D, beta-carotene, omega-3s, and magnesium may be especially helpful.
  • Vitamins and supplements. Biotin and coconut oil are both known to help strengthen and thicken hair. If you are breastfeeding, be sure to check with your healthcare provider prior to starting any vitamins or supplements.

Best products for postpartum hair loss

Many products on the market claim to help with postpartum hair loss and hair regrowth. The truth is, the only thing that truly helps with postpartum hair loss is time.

However, some products can help give hair a fuller appearance, such as volumizing shampoo and conditioner. Other hair products, such as certain serums and mousses, are specifically designed to help add body to hair. Look for products marketed for thin or fine hair for best results.

If your hair is noticeably thinner, you may also consider getting a haircut. Short hairstyles tend to appear fuller than longer ones.

Can postpartum hair loss hurt your baby?

Temporary hair loss due to estrogen decline is a normal part of the postpartum period and does not affect your baby in any way. However, it is important to watch out for hair tourniquets during this time of increased hair shedding.

Hair tourniquets occur when strands of hair become wrapped around a baby’s fingers or toes. They are a rare occurrence, but they can cause pain and cut off the blood supply if not removed quickly. If you notice a hair tourniquet on your baby and cannot remove yourself, you should seek medical attention immediately.

When to see a healthcare provider

Postpartum hair loss is a completely normal part of the postpartum period. It cannot be prevented, but rest assured that it is only temporary.

Recommendation
If your postpartum hair loss lasts longer than six months, you should visit your healthcare provider to rule out an underlying condition, such as iron deficiency or thyroid disease.

In the meantime, consider using gentle hair care methods, trying hair products formulated for thin hair, and prioritizing a well-balanced diet. If you have specific concerns, it is best to reach out to your healthcare provider.

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