Why does your hair fall out after having a baby?

I've been noticing more hair coming out and my front hairline is receding.

Dear Is This Normal,

Why does your hair fall out after having a baby? I’ve been noticing more hair coming out and my front hairline is receding. My child was born over a year ago, too. Any advice would help please.


Losing It

Dear Losing It,

Ohhhhhh yes. The dreaded postpartum hair loss! It’s just another one of those delightful side effects of pregnancy and childbirth. And I realize there is no sarcasm font, but just so you know, I am using “delightful” VERY sarcastically. No one likes to lose their hair, especially all at once. Unfortunately, it is totally normal. But there are some things we can do to lessen the blow, so to speak.

Let’s talk a bit about why our hair falls out after we have a baby. See, one of the NICE things about pregnancy is that it gives thick, luxurious hair. We’re taking these amazing prenatal vitamins, for one thing. Plus the hormones our body is producing actually keeps our hair from falling out. The average person loses about 100 strands of hair a day, but not during pregnancy! That hair stays put, it’s all shiny and beautiful, and everyone is happy.

But then … you have the baby. And those pregnancy hormones come to a screeching halt. You see where I’m going with this, yes? So you have your baby, your body starts getting back to normal, and all that hair you’ve been hanging onto has to go somewhere. It can definitely be alarming, because it doesn’t come out in wisps. For a lot of women that hair falls out in chunks, consistently, for weeks and months. Plus you’re tired and stressed and maybe your diet isn’t so great. All of these things can contribute to the problem. If you breastfed your baby and recently weaned or switched to formula, you may notice the cycle start all over again, albeit not as bad. Some women hang onto that extra pregnancy hair during breastfeeding and start to lose it when they stop.

While there’s nothing you can do to keep it from happening (SO SORRY), there are some things you can do to help. Eating well and taking your prenatal vitamin (even after you’re no longer … natal) can improve the health and strength of your hair. Don’t wash your hair too often. Use a good quality shampoo and conditioner. After washing your hair, use wide-tooth detangling combs to comb your hair out and try to avoid putting your hair up in tight rubber bands. Scrunchies are all the rage teens right now, and they’re much gentler on your hair! During the shedding phase, skip the chemical processes at the salon and try to minimize heat styling.

If you’re still experiencing significant hair loss more than 12 months postpartum, make an appointment with your doc to see if there might be something else going on. Hair loss, when accompanied by other symptoms, can be a sign of other postpartum conditions like hypothyroidism or iron-deficiency anemia. A blood test can determine if there’s something amiss with your thyroid or iron levels, and the sooner you get that addressed, the better you’ll be in the long run!

In the meantime, try to be as gentle as you can with your hair. And don’t stress over it too much. Stress can also cause hair loss, which is just so rude.

Thin-Haired Moms Unite,

Is This Normal


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