Postpartum Hair Loss: What to Expect

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March 26, 2019

Reviewed by Kimberly Langdon M.D.

It’s no coincidence that a lot of new moms decide to cut their hair short after having kids. You don’t have to worry about babies pulling it, it’s quick and easy, and it looks great! When celebrity mom Kristen Bell posted a gorgeous new photo of her new mom haircut, her fans loved it.

But there’s one additional benefit of shorter hair that might not be obvious. It also hides postpartum hair loss. Also called excessive hair shedding or telogen effluvium, this is when new moms (or those that were pregnant and are no longer) experience a reversal of the supermodel hair they had during pregnancy.

What causes postpartum hair loss?

Everyone’s hair has a pattern of growing and falling out. The average person loses 50 to 100 hairs per day, according to the American Academy of Dermatology. Thanks to those fun pregnancy hormones, this rate slows down during pregnancy and many women experience shinier, thicker hair. However, after childbirth, the hormone levels return to normal and so does your hair’s cycle of growing and falling out. Unfortunately for your hair, this means that the cycle resets all at the same time, so your hair falls out all at the same time.

When does postpartum hair loss occur?

This usually starts around 3-4 months postpartum and can last 6-9 months. In the meantime, you might have to deal with short “baby hairs” while they’re growing back. While there’s not a lot you can do to prevent it (yay, hormones), a shorter hairstyle and volumizing shampoo and conditioner can minimize the effects. Some say that taking prenatal vitamins help, but the effects haven’t been proven. If your hair doesn’t return to normal within a year, or if you have other symptoms, talk to your doctor.

Sources:

https://www.aad.org/public/skin-hair-nails/hair-care/hair-loss-in-new-moms

https://www.aad.org/public/skin-hair-nails/hair-care/hair-loss-vs-hair-shedding

https://americanpregnancy.org/pregnancy-health/hair-loss-during-pregnancy/

Kimberly Langdon M.D. is a retired University-trained obstetrician/gynecologist with 19-years of clinical experience. She graduated from The Ohio State University College of Medicine and then completed her OB/GYN residency program at The Ohio State University Medical Center. Recently, she founded a medical device start-up company that focuses on non-drug treatment for common maladies.

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