Postpartum Hair Loss: How Much Is Too Much?

Postpartum Hair Loss: How Much Is Too Much?

One of the best pieces of advice I was given, prior to postpartum hair loss commencing with my first son, was... "get a shower hair catcher."  

Relayed to me with part sarcasm and part warning- it was foreshadowing for what would ultimately be self-described by me as "The Great Shedding."

Because no one gives you a playbook on "what crazy things your body is going to put you through postpartum," I was left to navigate with just me and good ole Google. 

There's a point when you are in the thick of it when you began to question everything. "Why Hair Why?" ... "Would I look good bald?" ... How much is too much? 


When does postpartum hair loss start? 

Let's start at the beginning of the hair loss cycle. 

Things still feel somewhat hopeful here.  You are likely anticipating the shedding.   "You didn't lose hair during pregnancy after all, so its time to pay your dues." 

While there is no master playbook for a start date- the majority of moms experience shedding starting between 3-5 months postpartum

However, for plenty of moms who breastfeed, this shedding can also be triggered post-weaning. 

Let's say you are right at the average though, and its 3 months postpartum. 

3 months postpartum

Where getting a hot shower in, used to be a form of absolute bliss and self-care, it can easily become a dreaded task as you feel clumps of hair slide down your back.


How long will postpartum hair loss last? 

Ok, here is the kicker about postpartum hair loss that no one explained to me. 

Say your hair starts shedding at 3 months postpartum.  While it may seem excessive, its likely only part of the hair follicles that have started shedding.   

We know hair moves in 3 month cycles of growth--> resting---> shedding.  You could logically estimate that if it started at 3 months postpartum - by 6 months postpartum you should be finished.

However, and its unfortunately a big however- not all your hair follicles will start shedding at the same time. 

Ultimately we should be grateful for this as we could easily look bald if it wasn't the case, but that only means that the hair loss can in actuality last from 6 months postpartum-to 15 months postpartum. 


When should postpartum hair loss stop? 

Once your hair has concluded its shedding phase- the regrowth should be the next immediate stage. 

This means new baby hairs in the spots that dropped. 

Unfortunately, and this is one of the most over-looked points when it comes to postpartum shedding: on its own- hair will likely NOT grow back as densely as before. 

Why is the regrowth thinner? 

Many factors can impact the thinner regrowth postpartum.  A few are not surprising- but these are some of the most common reasons: you are sleeping less, nutritional deficiencies or not getting enough of a certain vitamin and mineral, aging, wearing your hair pulled up or back constantly, your gut or immune system, stress.

To be honest, if you are postpartum you just might be checking the boxes for all of the above so it really isn't surprising when you are two years postpartum with the thinnest your ponytail has ever looked.

thin ponytail

How to support thicker regrowth?

Well, you can't stop aging- so that's out of the question.  Sleep... is another really tough one to recommend to moms as its ever elusive.

That said, one of the best things you can do immediately after delivery through 15+ months postpartum is to supplement.  

With your body sucking up and needing to replenish so many nutrients postpartum; ensuring hair has enough nutrients to grow in thick and healthy is a game-changer. 

Power growth ingredients like biotin and collagen in the Baby Blues Postpartum Hair Vitamins along with vitamins for absorption are key. 

I also like to recommend consuming more iron and protein in the postpartum diet along with testing for/ensuring mom is getting enough Vitamin D3

The second recommendation I always give is be gentle on your hair.  The majority of moms I see have their hair pulled back.  This can be in the form of the mom-bun or ponytail or braid etc. 

I get it, its near impossible to navigate motherhood with hair in your face.  However, if your hair is pulled back day after day it can easily start to thin, especially in the areas that are being pulled.  

If you are going to pull your hair back make sure you are using a silk scrunchie, a claw clip or a gentle loose braid. 

How Much Is Too Much?  

hair loss postpartum too much

Ok, if your postpartum hair shedding has not let up after 15 months all signs point to a bigger problem, in many cases pointing to the thyroid , low iron (anemia) or low vitamin D levels. 

I really urge new moms not to let it get to 15 months postpartum, with heavy shedding -to start investigating though.  

The truth is, you see enough moms suffer through postpartum hair loss that you start to advocate for these tests to be done so much earlier.  

My advice: ask your provider, your ob, your doctor to run a blood test to check your thyroid, your iron levels, and your vitamin D3 early on. 

This could be done within the first few months of postpartum, because wouldn't you want to get ahead of it?

Especially in the case of under-active or over-active thyroid which will often times require medication to control, but can significantly improve hair growth.

This is also why I advocate for new moms to supplement with Vitamin D3 from the get-go (as over 50% are deficient), and vitamins for hair growth

If in your gut you are feeling it could be too much shedding at any point in the postpartum period, a blood test in the scheme of things is a very small thing you can do, with big results and insight.






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