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What Is the Cause of Postpartum Hair Loss?

Cause of Postpartum Hair Loss

Giving birth changes a woman’s body in many ways. Postpartum depression is a well-known example of how a woman’s hormones can change drastically after childbirth. A lesser-known condition is postpartum hair loss in which women lose significant quantities of hair.

How Does Postpartum Hair Loss Happen?

Postpartum hair loss varies in severity. Some women pull out huge clumps of hair each time they shower, while others notice a more gradual but steady decrease in their hair volume. Either way, losing hair is always a negative experience, especially when it results in noticeable bald spots.

Not only does the amount of hair a woman can lose vary, so does the timing of the hair loss. Some women start losing clumps of hair in the first few months after giving birth, however, sometimes the hair loss happens a year later. Also, it may be experienced after every pregnancy or just one in particular.

What Causes Postpartum Hair Loss?

During the nine months of pregnancy, the estrogen and progesterone in your body are produced at accelerated levels. An unexpected side effect of the increased estrogen and progesterone is that these chemicals also cause women’s hair to grow rapidly. The hair that grows during pregnancy is often more thick and lustrous than the hair that grows normally.

During the first trimester, the sudden increase in estrogen is responsible for the nausea typically associated with pregnancy. In the second trimester, these hormones play a crucial role in the development of milk ducts and enlarged breasts. Though morning sickness and fatigue can be incredibly challenging, an advantage that many people enjoy during pregnancy is a boost to the hair’s thickness. About 15 weeks into a pregnancy, many women notice their hair becoming much fuller. This added thickness is caused by a hormonal change which impacts the normal hair cycle.

Typically, the hair cycle goes as follows:

  • Anagen phase – The active growing phase, which lasts about two to six years.
  • Catagen phase – The transitional phase where the follicle shrinks, this lasts 10 days.
  • Telogen phase – The resting phase before the cycle restarts, this lasts about 3 months.
  • Exogen phase – The shedding phase in which old hair falls out and new hair emerges.

During pregnancy, estrogen extends the length of the telogen phase. For this reason, hair is resting for significantly longer and does not shed as quickly. While added thickness and fast growing hair is a perk for many pregnant people, once the child is born and hormones recalibrate to their normal levels, the hair cycle will also return to normal. Telogen effluvium is the medical name for postpartum hair loss.

In the months following childbirth, hormones begin to level out. For approximately three months afterwards, your hair will remain in a state of rest. This is what causes hairs to fall out before new growth shows itself. Typically, regrowth begins as thin bangs around the hairline.

What Treatments Work for Postpartum Hair Loss?

Caring for a newborn is inherently stressful. Although there is no way to stop postpartum hair loss completely, there are some things you can do to mitigate the condition. First and foremost, monitor your intake of zinc, vitamin D, and iron. These vitamins all play a role in healthy hair production. Second, do everything you can to mitigate stress. Having a baby is inherently stressful work, but avoiding extended hours of stress will do a lot to help your body heal after a pregnancy.

While some hair loss is normal, it’s important to know that there are some things you can do to facilitate the strength and growth of your hair following the birth of your child, such as:

  • Eating a balanced diet
  • Regularly take a prenatal vitamin or supplement
  • To avoid excessive tugging, skip rubber bands and opt for clips or berets to put up your hair
  • Be gentle as you shampoo and condition
  • Use a wide-toothed comb to detangle
  • Avoid heat treatments and blowdrying
  • Stay patient, postpartum hair loss doesn’t last forever

If your postpartum hair loss leaves you with permanent thin patches, it may be time to consider scalp micropigmentation, a permanent hair loss solution. We offer Scalp Micropigmentation in over 50 US cities. Call or text us today at 833-HAIR-INK (833-424-7465) to schedule an appointment, learn about our pricing, or get a free quote!

Picture of Written by The Hairline Ink Team
Written by The Hairline Ink Team

Our team of experts is committed to delivering accurate, up-to-date, and unbiased information through our blog and informational service pages. We understand that empowering our clients with knowledge is essential for making informed decisions about their scalp micropigmentation (SMP) journey. By conducting extensive research and maintaining open lines of communication with industry leaders, we ensure that our content is both reliable and informative, giving you the confidence to take the first step towards transformation.

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