There’s nothing quite like holding a newborn in your arms. Yet, what many women quickly realize is that those first few months after having a child are difficult for many other areas of life. That includes hair. It is normal and natural for new mothers to lose a significant amount of hair after childbirth. Understanding what is behind it – and that’s not always the result of lack of sleep – is important.
Why Do Women Lose Their Hair After Having a Baby?
Called post partum hair loss, losing hair after a baby’s birth is common because of the significant change in hormones. Most people lose about 50 to 100 hairs each day. However, when a woman is pregnant, their hormones help them retain hair longer. That means you have less hair loss during the months leading up to birth. You may notice this in thicker hair.
After birth, those hormones change again. This time, the change causes hair to fall out. In reality, your hair is just getting back to the normal hair growth cycle. That means all of the extra hair that you have in place begins to fall out.
How Long Does Post Partum Hair Loss Last?
This type of hair loss does not continue long term. Rather, it’s just getting back to its normal levels. That means that in the few weeks to up to three months after the child’s birth, you may notice your hair fall out. That will slow down during that time until you reach a more normal level.
For women who are breastfeeding, that may not change as much right away. Breastfeeding keeps hormones elevated for a longer period of time. As a result, a nursing mother may maintain her thick hair for much longer. Once you start to wean the baby off breastfeeding or start supplementing, you’ll notice your hair begins to fall out more.
It can take some time for your hair to catch up to your normal locks. The best thing to do is to enjoy it while it is there.
How to Manage Post Partum Hair Loss
Your body is going through a significant change after the birth of your child. As a result, you can expect your hair to begin to return to normal levels in the three months after the child’s birthday or after you stop breastfeeding. That timeframe is the normal hair growth cycle – most hair remains present for that length of time before falling out and entering a resting phase.
There are a few things you can do to help minimize the hair loss or at least help you enjoy it fully. First, be sure you are balancing your diet. You’ll want to keep taking your prenatal vitamins for the first year after your child’s birth. This can help to supplement the rapid changes occurring in your body during this time.
Take care of your hair, too. That includes shampooing with mild cleansing shampoos and using fewer harmful chemicals on your hair. It may also be a good time to skip the high heat treatments that can cause damage to hair. You don’t need anything extra to cause damage and lead to hair loss. This is also a good time to pamper your scalp and hair. Scalp therapy treatments can offer a big benefit to many women.
If you are experiencing excessive hair loss or you are worried you’ve lost more hair than you had originally, it may be time to talk to your doctor about it. There are some hormonal irregularities that can cause hair loss to continue during these months. It is always a good idea to talk to your doctor about all of your symptoms – especially if you are noticing fatigue or depression setting in as well.
The good news is most women will see a return to normal hair levels within the three to six months after giving birth. You may wish you could keep those locks longer – after all, pregnancy is the ideal way to enjoy them – but there’s no way to do that. Instead, work with your doctor to ensure your hormones are properly regulated to avoid any type of imbalances down the road.