hair loss after birth pregnancy

Hair Loss after Pregnancy and Delivery

Many new mothers experience a noticeable increase in hair loss a few months after giving birth. This phenomenon, known as excessive hair shedding, is entirely normal and not indicative of permanent hair loss. The root cause of this excessive shedding lies in the declining levels of estrogen after childbirth. Fortunately, the silver lining is that this heightened shedding is temporary and does not require any specific interventions. In fact, for most women, their hair returns to its usual fullness by the time their child reaches their first birthday, with many experiencing this recovery even sooner.

Pregnancy and Unusual Hair Loss

Hair loss related to pregnancy typically happens after childbirth. During pregnancy, more hair enters the resting phase as part of the natural hair loss cycle. This situation is generally not severe enough to result in bald patches or permanent hair loss, and it should start to improve within 3-4 months following delivery. If you suspect you’re undergoing abnormal hair loss during pregnancy, it could be attributed to a deficiency in vitamins or minerals.

Dealing with Hair Loss after Delivery

  • If you find the excessive hair shedding concerning, here are some tips that may help until your hair returns to its normal fullness:
  • Choose the Right Shampoo and Conditioner: Choose products that add volume to your hair. Follow these guidelines:
    • Use a volumizing shampoo, as these often contain ingredients like protein that coat the hair and create the illusion of fuller hair.
    • Avoid shampoos labeled as “conditioning shampoo,” as they may contain heavy conditioners that can weigh down your hair, giving it a limp appearance.
    • Select a conditioner specifically designed for fine hair, as these tend to have lighter formulas that won’t weigh down your hair.
    • Apply conditioner primarily to the ends of your hair to prevent it from weighing down the roots.
    • Steer clear of conditioners labeled as “intensive conditioners,” as they can be too heavy for fine hair.
  • Experiment with Hairstyles: Consider trying a new hairstyle that can make your hair appear fuller. Experienced stylists can provide recommendations tailored to your hair type and preferences.
  • Short Hair Options: Many new mothers find that shorter haircuts can give the illusion of fuller hair. Short styles can also be more manageable and time-saving, which can be a valuable convenience when caring for a baby.
  • Consult your healthcare provider to ensure hormonal balance.
  • Consume a diet rich in fruits and vegetables, as they contain flavonoids and antioxidants that can support hair follicles and promote hair growth.
  • Consider taking Vitamins for hair loss including:
    • Vitamin B complex
    • Biotin (Usually safe when taken orally and as directed)
    • Vitamin C
    • Vitamin E (Likely safe within recommended daily amounts, potentially safe in higher doses)
    • Zinc (Most likely safe when taken orally and as directed, potentially unsafe in excessive doses)

Beware of Hair Tourniquets

New mothers should also be vigilant for the possibility of hair tourniquets. A hair tourniquet can form when a single strand of hair falls out and accidentally wraps around a baby’s toe, finger, or another body part. In some cases, this strand can wind so tightly that it restricts circulation or even leads to an infection. While the occurrence of a hair tourniquet is extremely rare, knowing what to do in such a situation can be invaluable.

If you happen to notice a loose strand of hair wrapped around your baby’s finger, toe, or any other body part, it’s essential to take action promptly. Here’s what you should do:

  • Carefully search for a loose end of the hair and gently unwind it from the affected area.
  • If you cannot locate a loose end, you may need a tool like a small knife or scissors to gently cut the hair away.
  • If you find that you are unable to remove the hair due to it being wound too tightly or embedded in your baby’s skin, it’s crucial to seek immediate medical assistance. Contact your baby’s doctor or take your baby to the emergency room. Sometimes, a doctor’s expertise is needed to safely resolve a hair tourniquet.

Hair Loss Can Occur for Various Reasons

There are numerous factors that can contribute to hair loss. For many women, it’s common to experience significant hair shedding following pregnancy. Typically, this shedding reaches its peak around four months after giving birth. However, by the time their child reaches their first birthday, most women notice that their hair growth has returned to its usual state. If, for any reason, your hair has not fully recovered its normal fullness even after a year, it might be a good idea to consult a dermatologist. There could be an underlying cause for your hair loss that requires professional assessment. Hair loss can result from a wide range of factors, and obtaining an accurate diagnosis is crucial for determining the most effective course of treatment.


Dr Sara Rauf

Consultant Paediatrician and Certified Aesthetic Physician, MBBS, MRCPCH (UK), Level 7 Diploma in Aesthetics Injectables (UK)

Dr Sara is an experienced Paediatrician and is a member of the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health UK. She also has special interest in Medical Aesthetics and has Level 7 training in Aesthetics Injectables from London, UK. She has a vast experience of both non-invasive and invasive medical aesthetic procedures and is an expert in managing Aesthetic emergencies.