Postpartum hair shedding is very common for women in the months after giving birth. And, while this is startling and frustrating, it is perfectly normal and most women can expect their hair to bounce right back.
Sometimes, part of the frustration from hair loss can be not knowing what to expect, or how long shedding will continue.
Below, we will outline some of the most common timelines for postpartum hair loss including when it normally begins, how long the shedding tends to last, and when you can expect your hair to look relatively back to where it was pre-pregnancy.
Part of the reason why postpartum hair loss happens is the exact same reason why your hair probably looked so good during pregnancy.
When you are pregnant your hormones are surging, including estrogen, progesterone, oxytocin, and prolactin. When these hormones are riding high, they can boost healthy hair growth while also pumping the brakes on the hair loss cycle that normally allows for 50-100 hairs per day to shed. Basically, it can boost growth while stopping normal shedding rates -- great, right?
In addition to these hormones peaking, your blood volume may increase around 45% on average, and your circulation is great during pregnancy. These two things can also contribute to hair follicles getting a lot of extra oxygen, nutrients, and general TLC during pregnancy, making that pregnancy hair even better.
After giving birth, however, your hormones tend to level back down to normal, and your blood volume and circulation return to normal. This tends to trigger a shedding event of all of the hair that you have not shed as usual during the 9 months of your pregnancy.
The official term for hair loss after giving birth may be referred to as telogen effluvium, which means that a higher percentage of hair follicles shift out of the growing phase and into the resting/shedding phase.
It normally takes a little while for hair to transition from the growing (anagen) phase into the telogen (resting/pre-shedding) phase. So, don’t expect to be in week 1 with your new baby with clumps of hair falling out (thank goodness).
Normally, your telogen hairs will hang out in the resting phase for a few months before hairs start shedding. Most women that experience postpartum hair loss will start noticing a ramping up of the shedding 2-3 months after giving birth.
This shedding also tends to peak at around 4 months after birth.
Every woman who gives birth will have a different hair loss presentation (if they have one at all). If you do experience shedding, most women can expect it to continue shedding for a few months. This can mean 3 months for some women, 6 months for others, and very rarely it can last a year or more.
If you are still noticing increased hair shedding after around a year (or any amount of time that is worrying you), it may be a good idea to speak with your doctor. Excessive shedding can be a sign of nutritional deficiencies, thyroid issues, or other health conditions, so it is important to rule those out and ensure it is just normal postpartum hair loss.
As a general rule of thumb for postpartum hair loss, you can normally expect your hair to look more or less the same as pre-pregnancy by your baby’s first birthday.
For some women, their hair may even be back to normal within 6 months. So, if you are stressing over postpartum hair loss, take comfort in knowing that postpartum hair loss is normal, and most women will have their hair back to its usual thickness relatively quickly.
Of course, it may take a while for the regrown hairs to reach their same length if you had pretty long hair before your baby. So, you may want to take this time to have fun trying out some shorter styles to give those “baby hairs” time to catch up to the length of the rest of your hair.
At Strut Health, we offer prescription medications for men and women who are experiencing hair loss.
Our hair loss medications for women are not suitable for women during pregnancy or those who are breastfeeding. But, if your hair is struggling to recover from hair losses and you are not pregnant or breastfeeding, our topical formula containing minoxidil and spironolactone may be able to help.