How To Prevent Hair Loss Postpartum

Postpartum hair loss is a normal part of childbirth. You may have been blessed with thick hair during pregnancy. However, after having a baby, your hair may begin to shed excessively. This type of symptom is caused by hormonal changes in the body. So, how long does postpartum hair loss last, and can it be avoided? Continue reading to find out more.

Postpartum hair loss

First, we have to know what postpartum hair loss is and how it is different from other hair loss types. Did you know that Postpartum hair loss is not the same as true hair loss? Dermatologists refer to the condition as excessive hair shedding, which is caused by oestrogen levels dropping after childbirth. Because oestrogen levels are extremely high during pregnancy, hair remains in a growth phase known as the anagen phase. Hairs that would normally be shed remain during pregnancy, causing hair to be thicker and longer. However, once the baby is born, those oestrogen levels drop.1


Follicles, which are tiny pores in the skin on your scalp, are where hair grows. Your hair constantly grows and sheds. This hair growth cycle has three phases that repeat throughout your life:

  • Anagen is the active phase of hair growth. It can last anywhere from two to six years. At any given time, the majority of your hair (85% to 90%) is in this phase.
  • Catagen phase is a brief transitional period during which hair follicles shrink.
  • Telogen phase is a three-month resting phase. The follicle then releases the hair, and the hair falls out.

Many hairs in the anagen phase (the growing phase) suddenly enter the resting phase (telogen) as a result of pregnancy hormones. You lose that hair a few months later.

On average, your scalp has 80,000 to 120,000 hairs, and you can lose up to 100 of them every day. You lose more than 100 hairs per day when you have postpartum hair loss.2

Your body can be impacted by pregnancy hormones in a number of different ways. For instance, you might have noticed that your hair thickened during pregnancy. This was brought on by the hormone oestrogen, which causes your hair to grow more quickly and be less likely to fall out.

However, you might discover that all the extra hair you added during your pregnancy is now beginning to fall out and shed after giving birth to your child. This explains why in the initial months following the birth of your child, you might experience postpartum hair loss.

In essence, the extra hair that grew (or didn't fall out) while you were pregnant is now shedding. Although it may seem like "hair loss" in a way, it's just your body going back to how it was before you were pregnant.

By the way, during and after pregnancy, these same pregnancy hormones may cause you to notice that your hair is slightly different in colour and texture, or even oilier or dryer than usual.3

Warning signs and symptoms

In the six months following giving birth, you may notice a sudden shedding of hair, sometimes in clumps, if you have postpartum hair loss.

How does postpartum affect hair loss?

Postpartum hair loss is brought on by changes in the hormone oestrogen during and after pregnancy. The last trimester of pregnancy sees an increase in oestrogen levels. This stops the usual hair shedding. During this time, you might notice that your hair is thick and lush.

Oestrogen levels decrease following childbirth. As a result, a lot of hairs start their resting phase of growth. This hair begins to fall out after several months.

How to prevent postpartum hair loss

If the hormonal changes related to pregnancy and childbirth are the cause of your hair loss, it may simply stop on its own without any kind of treatment.

Nevertheless, it's critical to make sure you're getting enough of these nutrients as part of a healthy, balanced diet because some vitamins and minerals, like vitamin A, can support the growth of healthy hair.

If you're unsure that you're getting all the vitamins you require, speak with your doctor or a dietician; they may be able to suggest particular foods to include in your diet.

Don't start taking any supplements for postpartum hair loss without first consulting your doctor. Some vitamins and minerals may actually worsen hair loss if you take too much of them.

Be patient above all else. There may not be much you can do besides wait it out because you currently have a lot on your plate.3

How long does it usually last?

In most cases, hair loss peaks four months after giving birth. Most mothers regain their regular hair growth by the first birthday of their child. 

Treatments for postpartum hair loss

Hair loss after giving birth self-reverses. Some recommendations are:

  • Avoid overly vigorous combing, brushing, and any kind of scalp massage by handling the hair delicately.
  • Treat any identified hormonal imbalances or underlying scalp disorders.
  • Make sure your diet is nourishing by including lots of protein, fruit, and vegetables.
  • Restore thyroid function as well as iron, vitamin B12, and folic acid levels to normal.
  • It's important to consider the psychological effects of hair loss.2

It is important to know that the supplements and chemicals you consume impact both the health and appearance of your head hair. All of the vitamins—A, C, D, E, and zinc—help to lessen postpartum hair loss. This is where the naturally occurring vitamin B7, biotin, from foods like milk, eggs, and bananas comes in handy. 

These foods are abundant in prenatal vitamins, so continue taking them even after delivery to slow down the shedding process. Sweet potatoes and pumpkins naturally contain vitamin A, which encourages the production of sebum, the oil that keeps the scalp moisturised, as well as the development of new cells like those in the hair and nails. Vitamin C, which is abundant in citrus fruits, encourages the growth of collagen. Vitamin D, which you can get in large quantities from the sun, are directly related. In fact, those who have alopecia typically have low levels of this vitamin. Spinach, lentils and a number of seeds contain vitamin E and zinc, both of which encourage the growth of cells and follicles.4

When should you contact a medical specialist 

In some circumstances, a thyroid condition like an overactive thyroid may be the root of the hair loss. There is a connection between some thyroid conditions and pregnancy or the postpartum period. Your doctor will be able to suggest treatment if a thyroid condition is identified.5

An iron deficiency is another potential factor in hair loss. If left untreated, this can result in iron deficiency anaemia, which can cause additional symptoms like

  • fatigue and breathlessness
  • heart flutters
  • light skin.6

To treat the iron deficiency in your blood, your doctor will be able to investigate the causes of the condition and, if necessary, prescribe iron tablets.


Getting used to having a new baby can be difficult. Anxiety and stress can increase as a result of postpartum hair loss. However, hair loss after childbirth is both common and normal. While you wait for your hair to regrow, the appropriate hair products and hairstyles can help even though you can't prevent it. Your hair should be fully grown out again by the time your child turns one.


  1. Hair loss in new moms [Internet]. [cited 2022 Dec 7].
  2. Postpartum hair loss: causes, treatment & what to expect [Internet]. Cleveland Clinic. [cited 2022 Dec 7].
  3. Postpartum hair loss: how long does it last? | pampers [Internet]. Pampers-GB-EN. [cited 2022 Dec 8].
  4. How to relieve postpartum hair loss | honest hair restoration: honest hair restoration: hair transplant specialists [Internet]. [cited 2022 Dec 8].
  5. Overactive thyroid (Hyperthyroidism) [Internet]. 2017 [cited 2022 Dec 8].
  6. Iron deficiency anaemia [Internet]. 2017 [cited 2022 Dec 8]. 
This content is purely informational and isn’t medical guidance. It shouldn’t replace professional medical counsel. Always consult your physician regarding treatment risks and benefits. See our editorial standards for more details.

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Mariam Nikolaishvili

Bachelor of medicine, Tbilisi State University, Georgia

I am Mariam Nikolaishvili, a sixth-year medical student. I decided to become a doctor when I was 5 years old, and I haven’t changed my mind since. Being a dermatologist and helping people with various skin conditions is my primary objective. I chose to participate in the Klarity internship because I have always loved to write and wanted to learn more about writing for the medical field.

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