There are a lot of things no one ever really tells you about having a baby—mesh underwear, stretch marks, leaking boobs, sore nipples… shall we continue? Then just when you think you’ve finally got the whole baby thing figured out, your hair starts coming out in clumps. Lovely. As it turns out, postpartum hair loss is very common and, thankfully, not usually permanent.
Still, we know how unsettling it can be to see piles of your luscious pregnancy in the shower drain or collecting in your hair brush. So, in this post, we’ll unpack:
- What postpartum hair loss is
- Why postpartum hair loss happens
- How long it lasts
- Plus, how to treat postpartum hair loss naturally
Want the Full Story on Postpartum Hair Loss?
This article contains some great tips for combating postpartum hair loss, but if you want to learn as much as possible, check out my brand new ebook called Hair Rescue: How to Grow Thicker, Stronger Hair Naturally. In it, you’ll learn how I went from having clumps of hair fall out in the shower to having the thickest, strongest hair ever.
What Is Postpartum Hair Loss?
Postpartum alopecia—more commonly referred to as postpartum hair loss—is when you experience an unusually high volume of shedding after giving birth, typically around 3-4 months postpartum.
Although it may feel like it, you are not going bald. In fact, the American Academy of Dermatologists doesn’t even consider postpartum hair loss true hair loss, but rather “excessive shedding.” (So, we’ve got that going for us!)
What Causes Postpartum Hair Loss?
It really is true that pregnant women have fuller, more luscious locks! Though most people shed approximately 100 hairs per day, pregnant women lose significantly fewer strands per day. This is because the increase in hormones necessary to sustain pregnancy and help baby thrive send hair into a resting phase.
But once a woman gives birth, the drop in hormones causes the body to resume its normal patterns of hair growth. As a result, all that hair her body had been holding onto begins to fall out. When this first occurs, women may lose up to 500 hairs per day.
How Long Does Postpartum Hair Loss Last?
In most cases, your hair will stop falling out excessively around 6 months, though it may take up to a year.
But for some moms, this hair loss may be excessive and hair may never go back to its pre-pregnancy state. That’s when you’ll want to take charge and implement proven strategies from my ebook to restore your hair!
Of course, if you continue to have excessive hair loss past baby’s first birthday, it may be time to consult with your primary care physician or dermatologist to rule out certain conditions like anemia or hypothyroidism that could be contributing to your hair loss.
How to Treat Postpartum Hair Loss
The good news is there are plenty of things you can do to strengthen your hair shaft, stimulate hair growth, and even reverse hair loss.
The important thing to remember is that treating postpartum hair loss is a multi-prong approach. You want to attack hair loss by:
1. Eating a “pro-hair” diet
As an exhausted mom of a newborn, a healthy, nutrient-dense diet might go out the window. However, to really support healthy hair growth, you need to boost your nutrition. The number one macronutrient you should incorporate is protein, since this is exactly what hair is comprised of.
Three important protein sources to help postpartum hair loss include:
- Soy-free, pastured eggs due to their biotin content, a pro-hair nutrient
- Whole fermented dairy products, like kefir and yogurt, due to their calcium content, which is vital for healthy hair
- Grass-fed red meat, like beef and lamb, which are rich in iron and B vitamins that combat hair loss
Want more information about adapting a “pro-hair” diet? I go into much more detail in my ebook, plus do a deep dive on special superfoods that are especially powerful for hair restoration.
2. Making Lifestyle Changes
Studies show that stress makes your hair fall out. Unfortunately multiple night wake-ups and all of the adrenaline rushes of keeping a precious baby alive, happy, and well, greatly affect the adrenal system. And the prolonged stress of raising a baby throws off the HPA (hypothalamus pituitary adrenal) axis, which creates a negative cascade throughout the entire body, particularly the endocrine system (hence the hair loss!).
Here are a few simple things you can do to reduce your stress and restore balance:
- Get at much sleep as you can. Easier said than done with young children, but if baby is still waking you at night, consider napping when baby naps, or even better, try to go to bed before 9 p.m. Sleep is so important, because that’s when the body repairs and regenerates. You should also limit stimulating blue light once the sun sets, since it shuts down melatonin production, our master hormone, which can affect hair growth. If you need more sleep tips, click here.
- Practice self care. Hop into a bubble bath. Soak your feet in Epsom salt to boost your calming magnesium stores, diffuse Lavender essential oil, and learn how to meditate. Studies prove that prayer and meditation can also significantly reduce stress levels. All of these practices will help your body return to homeostasis and support healthy hair growth.
- Reduce stress. You can try to reduce the demands on your life (family, work, etc.), but that can be tough when you have a newborn. If there’s not much you can cut out, you can also practice these these tips to help destress.
3. Using Natural Hair Products
While it may be tempting to buy “hair growth” products for postpartum hair loss, they usually contain chemicals that, in studies, lead to hormone imbalance, skin disease, smaller placentas in pregnant women, cancer, and more. (Learn more about natural beauty products for help separating the bad from the good.)
Instead, try these five simple, all natural hair treatments that are basically safe enough to eat!
- Healthy egg mask: Eggs are high in protein, have fatty acids that can improve scalp health, and vitamin A to help reduce dandruff.
- Mayonnaise hair wrap: If you’re wary of raw eggs, mayonnaise is an excellent alternative. It has the same fatty acids that can help moisturize and improve you hair’s health.
- Stimulating castor oil mask: Castor oil, another product rich in fatty acids, also acts as an antimicrobial to decrease dandruff and promote healthy hair growth.
- Avocado hydration treatment: Avocado is one of the best first foods for baby for good reason—they’re full of vitamins, fatty acids, and proteins that are good for your scalp and hair, too.
Want to know more about how to use these revitalizing ingredients? I’ve got special hair growth elixirs, hair gels, and shampoo recipes in my ebook!
4. Avoiding harsh hair products…
When it comes to combating that postpartum hair loss, what you don’t do can be just as important. Avoid…
- Heat tools: Hair dryers, curling irons, and straighteners can damage already struggling post-pregnancy hair.
- Frequent washes: Extend time between shampoos to give your hair a rest.
- Tight hairstyles: Pulling your hair up into tight ponytails, braids, or buns can put strain on your hair follicles and cause further damage.
- Brushing your hair when wet: When combed, saturated hair is much more prone to breakage.
Can Rogaine Help Postpartum Hair Loss?
The short answer: NO!
Remember, postpartum hair loss is not really hair loss at all—it’s excessive shedding. And Rogaine, a medical treatment for actual hair loss, has some pretty scary potential side effects.
“Minoxidil [the active ingredient in Rogaine] was originally developed by scientists as an oral treatment for high blood pressure. But it had an undesirable side effect: it stimulated the growth of hair all over the body… Unfortunately, some of the drug can be absorbed through the skin on the head and can enter the bloodstream, where it can lower blood pressure, speed up the heart rate and cause dizziness and fainting spells.” — The New York Times
In fact, Canada has banned the use of Minoxidil in products. And more recent research indicates the ingredient can cause skin irritations, in addition to the following side effects:
- Nausea and vomiting
- Breast pain or tenderness
Want More Natural Tips to Support Thick and Healthy Hair?
Hair Rescue-Grow Thicker, Healthier Hair Naturally by Genevieve Howland aka Mama Natural tilted
I know personally that postpartum hair loss can be more than just annoying—it can be scary. And seeing your hair come out by the handful can even feel demoralizing. That’s why I created a special ebook called Hair Rescue: How to Grow Thicker, Stronger Hair Naturally.
If you’re struggling with excessive hair loss—whether postpartum or otherwise—this ebook will teach you:
- What causes hair loss (hint: it’s not just genes)
- How your lifestyle affects your hair growth
- The best supplements for hair growth
- Special superfoods that make hair thicker
- What to eat to encourage hair growth
- Evidence-based hair care practices that transform your scalp and hair
- How to make special hair growth serums, elixirs, and shampoos
- Plus, much more!
And the best part? I know it works, because the entire book is based on my own personal experience with postpartum hair loss and how I learned to naturally restore healthy, thick hair.
Ready to get healthier hair? Buy my ebook to get started TODAY.
How About You?
Did you struggle with postpartum hair loss? Please feel free to share your experiences, offer encouragement, ask questions, or shock us with your hair horror stories below.