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Woman holding brush experiencing hair loss.

What Women Can Do About Postpartum Hair Loss

September 26, 2014

New mothers have a lot of changes they have to handle after giving birth. Perhaps one they weren’t expecting is hair loss, but about 50 percent of women reportedly do experience this, usually starting around the third month after delivery. Postpartum hair loss is due to a fluctuation in estrogen levels. Estrogen, which increases during pregnancy, stimulates hair growth.  And the drop in estrogen levels that women experience after pregnancy can cause some hair loss.  This loss is temporary and women can expect to return to a normal rate of hair growth and shedding around one year after delivery.

However, if hair is coming out in clumps or bald spots appear, then it’s a good idea to see a doctor.  You may need to be tested for postpartum hypothyroidism. Things you can do to minimize hair loss:

  • Avoid using fine-tooth combs and ponytail elastics, which can pull out your hair
  • Eat lots of fruits and vegetables; they contain antioxidants and will help promote healthy hair growth
  • Try hair care products that contain biotin and/or silica
  • Don’t wash your hair as often
  • Avoid using blow dryers, hot iron curlers and straighteners; if you need to use one, try a cooler setting
  • Continue taking your prenatal vitamin
  • Breast-feeding may help
  • Avoid harsh chemicals on your hair, such as with dyes or perms
Loyola Medicine OB/GYN physician Mary Lynn, DOMary Lynn, DO
General Obstetrics & Gynecology