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Hair Loss After Pregnancy: Causes, Tips And Home Remedies

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During pregnancy, some women are at their natural best with thicker hair and glowing faces. This is generally due to increased levels of the pregnancy hormones estrogen and progesterone. However, the period after pregnancy may bring about various physical changes, including hair loss.

Hair loss after pregnancy is a form of telogen effluvium, a temporary hair loss pattern triggered by a specific event. This condition is triggered by a sudden drop in estrogen levels, which is normal after giving birth. Such hair loss is usually temporary and rarely requires treatment (1) (2).

Read this post to learn about postpartum hair loss and its causes and remedies.

When Does Postpartum Hair Loss Start?

Postpartum hair loss usually occurs three to four months after birth and can last for 12 months. Around 60% of the hair shifts to the shedding or telogen stage during this period. Some women may experience regrowth and reduced hair loss before 12 months (3).

What Causes Postpartum Hair Loss?

The hair growth cycle proceeds in three phases: the growth or anagen phase (2–6 years), the transitional or catagen phase (2–3 weeks), and the shedding or telogen phase (3 months). During pregnancy, the progesterone and estrogen levels increase by nine and eight folds, respectively. This spike in hormone levels causes the cycle to stay in the growth phase for longer durations, hence the thicker and fuller hair (2).

However, with the removal of the placenta post delivery, the hormone levels begin to return to normal. This sudden decrease causes all the excess hair in the growth phase to shed at an abnormal rate. The rapid loss of a large volume of hair may cause anxiousness, but it is temporary, and your hair will most likely return to its normal state within a year (4).

How To Deal With Postpartum Hair Loss?

Postpartum alopecia, being a natural and common occurrence, typically does not require medical treatment. If the hair loss seems concerning or proceeds at an abnormal rate for long, your dermatologist may recommend a blood test to check for abnormal thyroid hormone levels or anemia (5).

Incorporating these measures into your hair care routine may help cope with hair fall (5) (6):

  • Change of shampoo: Use a volumizing shampoo and a lightweight conditioner. Do not use shampoos with intensive conditioning properties, which may make the hair seem thinner and limp.
  • Handling of hair: Use gentle motions while washing and brushing your hair.
  • Styling: Do not style your hair in pigtails, tight braids, or ponytails, which may pull on your hair, causing them to break.

You could also consider a shorter hairstyle during this period to give the appearance of fuller hair and lessen the weight on the scalp.

What Are Some Home Remedies To Support Hair Growth?

Here are some useful home remedies that may help promote and support hair growth:

  • Adequate nutrition: Besides hormones, deficiencies of vitamin D, niacin, zinc, essential fatty acids, oriron can cause hair loss (7).

Consume a healthy diet with nutrient-rich foods such as leafy vegetables, soya, sprouts, curd, peas, and oranges. Various multivitamin supplements are available and can be consumed after consulting a doctor.

  • Egg white mask: This classic remedy for hair fall can be prepared with one tablespoon of honey and olive oil mixed with an egg white. Leave it on for 30 minutes and rinse thoroughly. The vitamins and egg albumen help repair damaged hair, while honey and olive oil account for shinier and conditioned hair (8).
  • Castor oil: Castor oil mainly comprises ricinoleic acid, which promotes blood supply to the scalp, thus increasing hair growth and preventing hair fall. Castor oil can be used with coconut oil, known for its antibacterial properties, as a hair mask for about three hours. Then, rinse it off thoroughly with water (9).
  • Curd: It is among the most popular ingredients to prevent hair fall while promoting healthy hair growth. Curd contains vitamin B3, calcium, lactic acid, and fatty acid, among other nutrients. Mix two to three tablespoons of curd and one tablespoon of lemon juice and apply it to your hair for around 30 minutes before rinsing (10).
  • Fenugreek seeds: Soak the seeds in water overnight, make a paste out of it, and apply it to your scalp. Rinse it off after 30 minutes with the water used for soaking followed by normal water (11).
  • Massage: Massaging your scalp before hair wash increases the blood circulation to the scalp and strengthens the roots while relaxing the mind. It also increases the uptake of nutrients (12). Massage your scalp for about five to ten minutes with essential oils in carrier oils, such as coconut or almond, and rinse thoroughly.
  • Biotin supplements: The deficiency of keratin can lead to hair loss and breakage. Vitamin H or B7, also called biotin, facilitates the synthesis of keratin (13). Try including biotin-rich foods, such as egg yolks, meat, milk, nuts, and vegetables, in your diet. You may also take biotin supplements after consulting your doctor.

Does Breastfeeding Cause Postpartum Hair Loss?

No, postpartum hair loss is not a result of breastfeeding, and you shouldn’t be concerned about increased hair loss due to breastfeeding (14).

Hair loss after pregnancy is common and often not a cause for concern. Although losing your hair can be stressful, your hair will start growing in its normal cycle with time. Meanwhile, you can try home remedies and measures to cope with hair loss and obtain healthier hair.

References:

MomJunction's articles are written after analyzing the research works of expert authors and institutions. Our references consist of resources established by authorities in their respective fields. You can learn more about the authenticity of the information we present in our editorial policy.
  1. Hair loss in new moms.
    https://www.aad.org/public/diseases/hair-loss/insider/new-moms
  2. Oriol Mirallas and Ramon Grimalt; (2016); The Postpartum Telogen Effluvium Fallacy.
    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4908443/
  3. Pregnancy and hair loss.
    https://americanpregnancy.org/healthy-pregnancy/pregnancy-health-wellness/hair-loss-during-pregnancy/
  4. Hair changes in pregnancy and postpartum: What’s going on?
    https://www.lamaze.org/Giving-Birth-with-Confidence/GBWC-Post/hair-changes-in-pregnancy-and-postpartum-whats-going-on
  5. Postpartum hair loss.
    http://www.canadianhairlossfoundation.org/post-partum-hair-loss
  6. The truth about postpartum hair loss.
    https://www.lancastergeneralhealth.org/health-hub-home/motherhood/fourth-trimester/the-truth-about-postpartum-hair-loss
  7. Emily L. Guo and Rajani Katta; (2017); Diet and hair loss: effects of nutrient deficiency and supplement use.
    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5315033/
  8. 15 Best Natural Home Remedies For Dry and Damaged Hair.
    https://medical-news.org/15-best-natural-home-remedies-dry-damaged-hair/6245/2/
  9. Yogesh S Kolekar; (2021); Medicinal plants used in cosmetics for skin and hair care.
    https://www.ijpca.org/html-article/14382#R114440522585156
  10. How to apply curd on hair?
    https://howto.org/how-to-apply-curd-on-hair/
  11. GholamrezaDehghanNoudeh et al.; (2011); Formulation of herbal conditioner shampoo by using extract of fenugreek seeds and evaluation of its physicochemical parameters.
    https://academicjournals.org/article/article1380887334_Noudeh%20et%20al%201.pdf
  12. The benefits of scalp massage for hair loss.
    https://www.pacificcollege.edu/news/blog/2015/02/01/benefits-scalp-massage-hair-loss
  13. Zuzanna Sabina Goluch-Koniuszy; (2016); Nutrition of women with hair loss problem during the period of menopause.
    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4828511/
  14. I gave birth a few months ago – why is my hair falling out?
    https://mywishformoms.org/2514/q-i-gave-birth-a-few-months-ago-why-is-my-hair-falling-out/
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Aneesha Amonz

Aneesha holds a Bachelor's degree in Biotechnology from USTM, Meghalaya and Master’s degree in Applied Microbiology from VIT, Vellore. She has worked on different research projects in the field of Food Sciences. In addition, she has an internship experience in Oil India Limited as an R&D project trainee. As a writer at MomJunction, Aneesha ensures her content is engaging and... more