Pregnant woman looking down at her stomach.

What to Know About Postpartum Hair Loss

Experiencing postpartum hair loss? You're not alone. Throughout pregnancy, your body goes through a lot of changes. While it might seem like these changes will stop after delivery, postpartum recovery is accompanied by plenty of new occurrences. For many women, one of these occurrences is postpartum hair loss, a significant reality. Characterized by excessive shedding of hair following delivery, postpartum hair loss varies in degree from woman to woman. For some, it can cause more alarm than others. However, postpartum hair loss shouldn’t be a cause of sleepless nights. To help you better understand what’s happening, how long it will last, and how to navigate the process, here’s everything you need to know about postpartum hair loss.

What Causes Postpartum Hair Loss?

The primary cause of postpartum hair loss is the change in hormone levels after giving birth. Throughout pregnancy, your body increases the production of estrogen and progesterone to support your growing baby. However, these hormones can also nourish your skin and hair, which is one of the reasons many women have a “glow” during pregnancy. Specifically, estrogen triggers hair growth, disrupting a hair follicle's natural growth-shedding cycle. The result is that your hair is thicker and may even be shinier during pregnancy.

After delivery, your body will naturally readjust hormone levels to your pre-pregnancy state. This means your hair follicles will return to their natural growth-shedding cycle. However, the shedding can increase proportionally since your hair has been in super-growth mode for nine months.

In a normal growth-shedding cycle, women lose about 80 to 100 hairs daily. After pregnancy, this number can increase to 400 hairs per day! While it’d be nice to keep all those extra hairs grown during pregnancy, most of them will inevitably come out, and your hair will return to your pre-pregnancy volume.

This is the primary cause of postpartum hair loss, but other factors may also be at play. Women who are breastfeeding may not be getting all of the micronutrients their bodies need, which can further impact hair loss. Similarly, the stress and sleep deprivation of being a new parent may cause hair follicles to remain stagnant and stop growing.

When Does Postpartum Hair Loss Begin?

Typically, women will experience the highest degree of postpartum hair loss about three to four months after delivery, but each individual’s timeline may vary. Hair loss tends to occur most around the hairline, but it can also come from the middle of the scalp. You may also find that hair loss is more prominent during a shower, when you’re brushing your hair, or if you’re trying to style it.

How Long Does Postpartum Hair Loss Last?


For many women, postpartum hair loss will be the highest between three to four months and six to seven months postpartum. However, some women may notice that it continues after this time, while others may regain their volume earlier. Based on typical follicular growth phases, it usually takes about three months for new growth to begin (after the shedding phase). However, each hair goes through its own unique cycle, so it can be difficult to track.

Is Postpartum Hair Loss Normal?

Although it can be a little scary, postpartum hair loss is completely normal. In fact, according to the American Pregnancy Association, between 40 to 50% of women experience postpartum hair loss. However, even knowing you’re not alone, hair loss of any kind can have a big toll on your psychological well-being. This is especially true for women who are experiencing postpartum depression or another postpartum mood disorder. If you’re worried about your postpartum hair loss, have additional questions, or if it’s taking a toll on your mental health, don’t hesitate to reach out to your doctor.

Does Postpartum Hair Loss Grow Back?

For most women, postpartum hair loss will grow back. It’s considered to be a temporary condition that only occurs while your hair follicles normalize their growth cycle. Some women may experience lesser volume, but the changes are negligible. However, it should be mentioned that individuals with a genetic background of baldness may not experience the same regrowth as others. Similarly, if you continue to experience hair loss 15 months postpartum, it’s important to see a dermatologist or doctor, as this could be an indication of an underlying condition. If you’re worried about postpartum hair loss, don’t hesitate to contact your doctor and obtain your family health history to better understand your circumstances.

How to Address Postpartum Hair Loss

Unfortunately, there’s not much you can do to prevent postpartum hair loss altogether. Since it’s related to your hormones and hair follicle cycle, the best thing to do is stay healthy and try to be patient. Most women will return to their pre-pregnancy volume within about 15 months postpartum. However, that doesn’t mean that you can’t feel confident in your own skin. To help you address postpartum hair loss, consider some of the following tips.

Use Volumizing Products


You should avoid products high in sulfates, as these can cause further damage to your hair. However, plenty of volumizing products can add fullness to your hair without causing harm. Look for volumizing shampoos and conditioners, hair masks, or even leave-in treatments to provide your hair with an extra boost of nourishment. Choose products that are packed with protein to help protect your hair from further damage.


Be Careful About Styling


While it can be tempting to try and style your hair excessively in an attempt to hide postpartum hair loss, your hair needs some rest. Hairdryers, straighteners, and curling irons can put more stress on your hair follicles and can make them appear even thinner. Instead, try to wear your hair naturally and avoid brushing too roughly. You may also want to limit shampooing, as this can strip your hair of natural oils. If you want to wear your hair up, try using a hair clip instead of a tight, elastic hair tie.


Add Some Accessories


Scarves, hats, ribbons, bonnets… There are countless hair accessories that can help you feel more confident while experiencing postpartum hair loss. Just make sure to avoid putting too much stress on your scalp. Experiment with a few new looks, and don’t be afraid to step out of your comfort zone!


Eat a Nutritious Diet


Your hair health starts from within, so don’t neglect your diet. Although it can be difficult to balance a whole, nutritious diet with becoming a new parent, it’s worth the added effort. At the very least, stock your house with plenty of fresh fruits, whole grains, and lean proteins that you can snack on. Then, aim to eat plenty of vegetables during meals. Some of the best foods for hair growth include fish, eggs, Greek yogurt, sweet potatoes, and dark leafy greens.


Try to Reduce Stress


When we’re stressed, our bodies produce an excess amount of cortisol. While this is great for our fight-or-flight response, cortisol can disrupt or damage the follicle cycle. Newborns aren’t exactly stress-free, but do what you can. Accept help from others, give yourself permission to rest, and try to incorporate some postpartum workouts to help alleviate stress.


Use Supplements Safely


Another way you can support follicular growth from the inside out is to use a few supplements. Always talk to your doctor before taking any supplements, especially while breastfeeding. Some of the best options to support hair growth include B vitamins, biotin, vitamin A, zinc, and collagen.


Collagen has been shown to help boost hair growth, and many dermatologists find that it makes a notable difference in women experiencing postpartum hair loss. Focus on collagen type 1, but if you find a supplement that has all three, that’s good too. Collagen with hyaluronic acid and vitamin C may be even more effective but talk to your doctor for personalized recommendations.

Hair loss after pregnancy can be alarming, but it’s a completely normal occurrence that affects millions of women worldwide. It should subside over time, so the best thing to do is focus on your newborn and continue bonding with them. To help support a healthy breastfeeding journey, Byram Healthcare has plenty of resources, experts, and products available. We also have a large selection of insurance-covered breast pumps available to new and expecting mothers to help supplement their nursing sessions. To learn more, visit our breast pump comparison guide and start your order today.