Major hair loss in postpartum is NOT normal.
I always say, commonality should never equate to normalcy.
We’ve come to this idea that it’s okay to lose lots of hair, despite how worried and upset it makes you feel.
Generally speaking, with your increase in estrogen during pregnancy, you retain more hair in the months of growing a human.
Then in postpartum, your estrogen levels drop and you experience hair loss. This is exactly why so many claim this to be “just a normal hormonal thing”.
But women are losing far more hair than they gained in pregnancy, some to the point where they are balding in spots, or their hair line recedes dramatically, or thinning to the point of major concern.
Some hair loss is normal. Losing so much that you are clogging the drains or going as far as balding ISN’T NORMAL.
Here’s the thing.
Your hormones postpartum are in fluctuation. But we control much of that fluctuation (just as I share in all my posts).
Hormone regulation comes from sound sleep and proper nutrition. And those are the two things that women lack significantly in postpartum.
Most never get the sleep they need and walk around like a zombie… your hormones never having an opportunity to produce and regulate (which happens in your sleep)!
Then you fail to eat properly in a way that supports a postpartum body. You lack enzymes to break down your food so you should only eat foods that are easily digestible and nutrient dense. Otherwise you will get nada from food but gas and bloating.
Those nutrients support hormones and help with their regulation. So you eat well, those nutrients get to work in your sleep, and you wake up restored and hormonally in balance.
In some cultures, postpartum hair loss is minimal. Because they have strict sleeping and dietary patterns that support postpartum hormonal health.
If you find that you are losing more hair than you should, that it’s going on well after a year postpartum…
Your body is telling you that you are in a state of depletion.
And “healthy foods” like salads and smoothies, along with vitamins, are not going to help you, especially is you are unable to absorb the nutrients in the first place.
So what is normal postpartum hair loss? How do you know if you are losing too much?
Here are the details of NORMAL HAIR LOSS:
In this first photo, I am 4 months postpartum exactly with baby #4.
My hair is VERY thin at a few inches past shoulder length. But there is a lot of it (even outside of child-rearing) and it gives the impression that I have thicker hair than I do. Because of this, it’s almost always in a ponytail (my mom-do).
I generally wash my hair every few days. These photos were taken on Tuesday during a wash. My last wash was Saturday.
- The picture on the left is my hair loss after shampooing.
- The picture on the right is my hair loss after conditioning and INCLUDES the loss after shampooing.
If I would have wash days back to back, this would have been less.
If I would have wash days that were further a part, this would have been more.
If my hair was longer, it would contain longer strands that would give it the appearance of more hair loss.
The second photo is at 6 months postpartum. Same conditions apply. Same length between washes and all.
It’s important to note that I had recovered from Influenza B five days prior. It kicked my butt and took me nearly a week to recover from. I strongly believe this is responsible for the increase in hair loss.
The third photo is one day before 9 months postpartum. To be honest, I felt like I was trying to pull hair out of my head to make it more believable.
Side note: I exclusively breastfeed. We introduced solids around 7 months and she is still about 90% breastfed at 9 months.
Again, take in your length of hair, hair type, and length between wash days into consideration when determining if you have a nutritional deficiency that needs to be addressed.
Postpartum is a great opportunity to wear protective hair styles that don’t require daily care.
But during this time, your hairline and edges are fragile and are susceptible to traction alopecia ( the fancy term for hair loss).
Traction alopecia is a form of gradual hair loss, caused primarily by pulling force being applied to the hair. This commonly results from the sufferer frequently wearing their hair in a particularly tight ponytail, pigtails, or braids. (Also note to be careful of styling protective style too tight.)
Not only will you see the natural shedding once this style is taken down, but additional shedding may happen. Because hair loss is hard to see when worn this way, when the hair is released, you may see significantly more loss than normal.
This significant loss goes above and beyond the normal loss that naturally occurs from wearing ones hair in this way. If this is the case for you, know that it’s a sign that your hormones and nutritional levels need to be addressed as soon as possible.
What to do if you are experiencing major postpartum hair loss…
If you are not getting the nutrients your body needs to function, hair loss, hormone imbalance, and more become a problem.
It takes so much of who you are to grow a baby. Many women find themselves in a depleted state months or years after childbirth.
If this is you, you can learn more about the nutrition in postpartum here and how to begin the healing process.