Why is my hair falling out now that I've given birth?
Sandra Johnson, dermatologist
All new moms experience hair loss, though some lose more than others.
Here's why it happens. During pregnancy, changes in your hormone levels cause your hair to stay in a resting phase for longer, so you lose less hair on a daily basis. (You may have noticed that your hair seemed thicker than usual.)
After you've given birth and your hormones have settled down — usually at about 12 weeks after delivery — more hair shifts into a shedding phase. You may be alarmed to find hair coming out by the handful.
Normally, you lose about 100 to 125 hairs a day, but after delivery, you may be losing about 500 a day. This can be very disturbing, but try not to worry too much — you won't go bald!
There's little you can do about the shedding, other than to be patient. The shedding tends to be most noticeable when you're shampooing or brushing your hair, so you may find that shampooing less frequently or letting your hair dry naturally instead of brushing and blow-drying helps slow the loss.
On the other hand, it's going to fall out at some point, and you might prefer that it happen in private. Regular washing and brushing may help you avoid leaving a trail of shedding hair behind you all day. Try using a thickening shampoo if you feel your locks are getting too thin.
You may notice fine "baby" hair growing along your hairline at the top of your forehead once the shedding phase has ended. Having bangs can do a lot to camouflage this wispy new growth while it's growing out.
Within another six months or so, your hair should be back to its normal pre-pregnancy thickness, but you may find that the texture of your hair is never exactly the same. It may be wavier or straighter or more dry or oily than it was before pregnancy. This is probably due to the hormonal upheaval you've just been through.
If the hair loss doesn't seem to be slowing and you're still losing lots of hair six or so months after delivery, check in with a dermatologist or your healthcare provider. It may be a sign that you're low on iron, which is not entirely uncommon for new moms.