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How Pregnancy Affects Your Hair

March 4, 2021

3 Min read

As if new moms don’t have enough on their plates, postpartum hair loss is a reality for 40 to 50 percent of women, according to the American Pregnancy Association. So if you notice extra hair in your brush or shower post-pregnancy, it’s perfectly natural: your body is just responding to hormonal changes and you will re-grow. To answer all the FAQs on why postpartum hair loss happens, how long it lasts, and how busy moms can support healthy hair growth during this time, we spoke with Dr. Lucky Sekhon, a board-certified obstetrician and gynecologist who practices in New York City.

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What causes postpartum hair loss? 

During pregnancy, higher estrogen levels cause the growth phase of the hair growth cycle to flourish and the resting (or shedding) phase to diminish. “Many women notice thicker hair from their second trimester on,” says Dr. Sekhon. “It’s not that the hair itself is thicker, but that we lose less hair in pregnancy and the growth phase is lengthened due to the effect of estrogen being produced from the placenta.” When estrogen levels naturally decline after pregnancy, a large number of hair follicles go into the resting or shedding phase. Many women notice their hair thinning within a few months after having a baby.

How long does postpartum hair loss last?

The American Academy of Dermatology (AAD) notes that most new moms see their hair return to its pre-baby fullness by their child’s first birthday. But hormones, stress, and poor nutrition can delay hair returning to its full glory. “How long postpartum shedding lasts depends on the person, their hormonal fluctuations, and their baseline hair thickness and rate of hair loss,” says Dr. Sekhon. “It could be prolonged for some women who have nutritional deficiencies and if their hair just takes longer than average to grow back.” 

Many wonder if breastfeeding worsens postpartum hair loss. Dr. Sekhon says as long as you eat a healthy diet and take prenatal vitamins or a multivitamin, breastfeeding generally doesn’t impact hair loss. 

How can I support healthy hair postpartum?

Firstly, Dr. Sekhon recommends biotin and a vitamin B complex to boost hair and nail health postpartum. That’s why Prose Root Source™ custom hair supplements use concentrated brewer’s yeast, a complex of eight B vitamins, including biotin. Unlike other hair supplements that target and block hormones, Root Source™ supports hair growth with a proprietary blend of clinically-proven millet, wheat, and coriander to stimulate hair growth at the bulb of the follicle, while thickening collagen to anchor and secure the hair*.

A healthy lifestyle and good self-care are always supportive of a well-oiled hair growth cycle. Dr. Sekhon recommends new moms take a multivitamin, stay hydrated, get adequate sleep, and avoid cigarette smoking to help get their hair back on track. Other doctor tips from the AAD include adjusting your hair care routine: Use products customized and tailored to your hair type, as many drugstore options use heavy ingredients that can coat the hair and weigh it down. Another tip is to apply conditioner only on the mid-shaft and ends of your hair so your crown retains more volume. 

Although postpartum hair loss is totally natural, if your hair doesn’t return to normal after one year, you may want to see a board-certified dermatologist.

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*These statements have not been evaluated by the food and drug administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

April Walloga is a beauty and lifestyle editor who’s written extensively on hair health and the root causes of hair loss. She is the former and founding editor in chief of Revelist.com and has been a lead editor at publications like Business Insider, Gotham magazine, and xoVain.com. In her spare time you can find her perusing what’s new at Sephora or enjoying Riverside Park with no less than her third cup of coffee that day.

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