It can be pretty unnerving when, just several months into motherhood, you run your fingers through your hair and only to find clumps of hair clinging to your hand. Or you find scary amounts of hair on your pillow, or can’t wash your hair without clogging the drain.
Is this normal? Yes, for many women, it is.
Many new moms may find that they start losing lots of hair between 3 and 6 months after giving birth. This shedding is really just your body catching up on its normal hair loss cycle. We typically lose around 100 hairs a day anyway, but remember all those pregnancy hormones that did so many weird and wonderful things to your body? They also stopped a lot of that normal shedding of hair, which is why many women enjoy a thick lush mane of hair during pregnancy. But as those hormones drop down to their usual non-pregnant levels, your normal shedding returns, only now you have lots more to shed.
You’ll likely find that your shedding will be back to normal 6 to 12 months after birth.
So far, according to PubMed, “no specific treatment has been studied well enough with sufficient treatment to justify recommendation or to be termed effective.” And recommendations are essentially limited to “education about hair cycles and reassurance to minimize anxiety.”
In other words, it’s totally normal and nothing to worry about, even if you fully expect to wake up with bald patches one of these days. I know I did!
There are some things you can do to help the situation though. Above all, make sure that you are still enjoying a nutritious diet and taking a good quality supplement. Don’t wash your hair every day, brush excessively or pull your hair into a tight style.
I thought it was interesting that while addressing postpartum hair loss, the American Academy of Dermatologists recommends that: “New mothers also should watch out for hair tourniquets. A hair tourniquet forms when a strand of hair falls out and wraps around a baby’s toe, finger or other body part. A single strand can wrap so tightly that it cuts off circulation or causes an infection.” My second child had this once. I finally identified the reason for his crying… it was one of my long hairs wrapped very tightly around a toe in his footed pajamas. Now I always check for this, especially during this heavy shedding time when my hair is everywhere.
If you truly think your hair loss is excessive and you’re concerned, check with your health care provider. There are rare cases when it may be related to a thyroid issue or have another cause.
For more information on postpartum alopecia (hair loss), visit:
- Kellymom’s FAQ: Does Breastfeeding Cause Postpartum Hair Loss?
- American Academy of Dermatologists: Hair loss common after childbirth
- Post Pregnancy Hair Loss – Time For A Change
Did YOU experience postpartum hair loss?