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Coping With Postpartum Hair Loss

After childbirth, many women experience a temporary condition known as postpartum hair loss, where they notice excessive shedding and thinning of hair. This can be alarming for new mothers, but it’s important to understand that it’s a natural process caused by hormonal changes and other factors.

Understanding the Causes

Hormonal Changes

During pregnancy, high levels of oestrogen prolong the growth phase of hair, resulting in thicker and fuller locks. However, after childbirth, oestrogen levels drop significantly, causing more hair to enter the resting phase and eventually fall out.


The stress of childbirth and adjusting to a new routine can also contribute to hair loss. Elevated stress levels trigger hormonal imbalances, which can exacerbate the shedding process.

Nutritional Deficiencies

Pregnancy and breastfeeding place additional nutritional demands on the body, and deficiencies in essential vitamins and minerals can affect hair health. Iron deficiency, in particular, is associated with hair loss.

Recognising the Signs

Increased Hair Shedding

It’s normal to lose some hair every day, but postpartum hair loss involves a significant increase in shedding, often noticeable when brushing or washing hair.

Thinning Hair

As more hair enters the resting phase and falls out, women may notice that their hair appears thinner, especially around the temples and crown.

Receding Hairline

In some cases, postpartum hair loss can lead to a receding hairline or widening of the part line.

Coping Strategies

Maintaining a Healthy Diet

Eating a balanced diet rich in vitamins and minerals, including iron, zinc, and biotin, can support hair health and growth.

Managing Stress Levels

Practicing stress-reduction techniques such as meditation, yoga, or deep breathing exercises can help minimise hair loss associated with stress.

Using Gentle Hair Care Products

Select mild, sulphate-free shampoos and conditioners to avoid further aggravating the scalp. Gentle hair care products can help maintain the health of remaining hair.

Hair Care Tips

Avoiding Tight Hairstyles

Avoid hairstyles that pull on the hair follicles, such as tight ponytails, braids, or buns, as these can contribute to hair breakage and further loss.

Limiting Heat Styling

Excessive heat from styling tools like blow dryers, straighteners, and curling irons can weaken hair and contribute to breakage. Air-dry hair whenever possible, and use heat styling tools sparingly.

Using Scalp Massages to Promote Circulation

Gently massaging the scalp with fingertips can increase blood flow to the hair follicles, promoting hair growth and reducing shedding.

Consulting a Healthcare Professional


If postpartum hair loss persists or worsens, consult a dermatologist for personalised treatment options and advice. You can also find advice via the American Academy of Dermatology.


A nutritionist can assess your diet and recommend supplements or dietary changes to support hair health from within.

Embracing Hair Loss as a Natural Process

Understanding that postpartum hair loss is temporary and part of the body’s natural response to childbirth can help alleviate anxiety and stress associated with hair loss.

Postpartum hair loss can be a challenging but temporary condition for new mothers. By understanding the causes, recognising the signs, and implementing coping strategies and hair care tips, women can navigate this phase with confidence and support. Remember, prioritising self-care and seeking professional guidance when needed are essential steps towards maintaining healthy hair postpartum.


How long does postpartum hair loss last?

It typically peaks around three to six months after childbirth and gradually resolves within six to twelve months.

Can I prevent postpartum hair loss?

While it is largely inevitable due to hormonal changes, maintaining a healthy lifestyle and using gentle hair care practices can minimise its impact.

Will my hair grow back after postpartum hair loss?

Yes, in most cases, hair lost during postpartum shedding will eventually grow back as the hormonal balance returns to normal.

Are there any supplements that can help with postpartum hair loss?

Biotin supplements are often recommended for improving hair strength and growth, but it’s important to consult a healthcare professional before starting any new supplements, especially while breastfeeding.

Is postpartum hair loss the same as female pattern baldness?

No, postpartum hair loss is a temporary condition caused by hormonal fluctuations after childbirth, while female pattern baldness is a genetic condition that leads to permanent hair thinning and loss over time.

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