Up to 90 percent of mothers may experience some level of postpartum hair loss.
And, even though losing some amount of hair after giving birth is normal, it can be distressing and take a toll on your self-esteem and confidence.
Below, we will cover just what is happening in your body when postpartum hair loss occurs, as well as six ways to help conceal or reduce its effects.
Why Does Postpartum Hair Loss Happen?
Hair loss after giving birth stems from the hormonal changes that your body is going through.
While you were pregnant, your progesterone and estrogen levels were sky high which helped to reduce the overall usual shedding of hair while also probably making your locks look healthy and shiny.
But, after you give birth, those hormone levels settle back down to normal, and the hairs that were not shed as usual may not start coming out rapidly.
For some, this can lead to seemingly excessive levels of shedding.
Postpartum hair loss tends to occur within 6 months of giving birth, with the peak normally occurring after 4 months.
However, luckily, many women find that shortly after this period hair growth and shedding rates return to normal, and you may be on your way back to your usual hair by the time you are celebrating your baby’s first birthday.
1. Use Volumizing Shampoos and Conditioners
While your hair is shedding more than usual, and probably a little thinner than you are used to, it may have different needs when it comes to shampoos and conditioners.
Highly conditioning and moisturizing formulations can be overly heavy on thinner strands and make your hair lay flat across your head, accentuating any thinness.
While you are going through postpartum hair loss, it may help with your hair’s appearance if you switch over to more lightweight formulas for hair care that are for volumizing or thin hair.
2. Keep Conditioners Focused on the Ends of your Hair
In addition to switching over to more lightweight formulations, it is a good idea to focus the application of your conditioner only on the mid-lengths to ends of your hair.
Your roots can be easily weighed down by conditioners, and they are close enough to your scalp that they are able to be conditioned by your natural scalp oils anyway.
Focus your shampoo on the scalp, and then focus your conditioning on the ends to help give your hair a more lifted appearance while it is thinner.
3. Avoid Excessive Heat Styling, Coloring and Brushing
Excessive heat styling, tight styles, and harsh colorants can lead to extra hair losses and breakage even when it is not dealing with shedding excesses from having a baby.
Take this time to be extra gentle with your hair, and opt for heat-free styling, avoiding chemical colorants, and going with loose up-dos or styles.
4. Experiment with a New Cut to Make Your Hair Appear Fuller
Very long hair can start to look stringy and weighed down when hair becomes thinner for a period of time.
Talk to your stylist or flip through a few hair magazines to find some styles you like that emphasize volume — either by shortening the hair or adding layering.
Shoulder-length or chin-length cuts can be easy to maintain while adding tons of volume to hair that is going to be a little thinner for a while.
5. Relax and Be Patient with Regrowth
Even if a year may seem like a long time to see your hair get back to normal, this time will likely fly by while you are taking care of your new baby.
Try not to stress too much about postpartum hair loss by reminding yourself that this is most likely just a temporary situation.
Excess stress and worry about your hair may worsen hair health or take a toll on your confidence.
6. Eat Well and Continue Your Prenatal Vitamins
Part of giving your hair all the needed attention and TLC during this time includes ensuring that it has all the protein, vitamins, and minerals that it needs to thrive and grow.
Even though you are busy with a new baby, take the time to prepare healthy and nutritious meals for yourself to help cover all the macro and micronutrients needed for a healthy head of hair.
If no matter how hard you try to plan out meals you still feel like your diet is lacking, you can continue taking your prenatal vitamins, or other multivitamins, during this time to help cover all of the bases for hair care.
Just be sure to run any new supplements by your doctor before starting on them if you are still breastfeeding.