new momsBeing a mother is an exciting journey, particularly when it comes to your first child. But, motherhood is not without its stresses. Child care, diapers, feedings and sleep schedules are hard to cope with, but the changes your body makes postpartum can be shocking and somewhat scary. Postpartum hair loss is one side effect of pregnancy that can lead you to believe something is internally awry. However, approximately 40 to 50 percent of women suffer from hair loss after giving birth and most regain fullness by their child’s first birthday.

Postpartum Hair Loss

Hormone levels increase during pregnancy, which can make your hair appear fuller, shinier and healthier. Your elevated estrogen levels are essentially prolonging the anagen (active) hair growth cycle. Fewer hairs enter the resting cycle, which diminishes the total number of strands lost under normal conditions.

After delivery, however, your estrogen levels drop back down to their normal levels. More follicles enter the resting stage at once, which leads to a sharp and noticeable increase in shedding. This drastic shift can trigger hair loss just a few months into motherhood, but new moms often experience excessive shedding about four months after giving birth.

Typically, new moms with longer hair will notice their hair loss the most. Signs of postpartum hair loss include the following:

  • More hair on your pillowcase
  • Clogged drain
  • Thinner ponytail
  • Lack of volume

Fortunately, you can counteract post-partum hair loss relatively easily. Opt for a sulfate-free shampoo that won’t weigh your hair down and make it appear lifeless. Use a light conditioner and only apply it to the ends of your hair to counteract dryness and split ends.

Many new moms sport shorter hairstyles to cut down on styling time. And, a shorter style can also help conceal excessive shedding and minimize the extra clean-up caused by stray strands. Just remember, hair loss after pregnancy is totally normal. If your condition gets worse or doesn’t resolve itself within a year, you might have a more serious hair loss condition that requires treatment.