Postpartum Hair Loss is Common AND Normal
I vividly remember postpartum hair loss after my first child—the memory is so real, so painful even, thinking I did something wrong or didn’t eat healthy enough. My hair loss after pregnancy was extreme and took over 2 years postpartum to grow back.
Thankfully with my second, I made some intentional changes to my postpartum nutrition plan and have had so much more energy and hair re-growth! I still experience quite a bit of hair loss after my second baby, but experience more hair growth all at the same time, which is the goal!
While hair is simply just hair, for many of us it can also be part of our identity—a womanly badge of honor. And the loss of that beauty can be extremely emotional.
Hair loss after pregnancy is both common and normal—don’t let anyone tell you that you are doing something wrong or need to “eat healthier” to avoid it, don’t allow that guilt or shame to permeate your life even for a second. It’s a normal hormonal process.
But there are also SO many things you can do to boost hair growth and help balance your hormones and energy in the process. It’s best to look at the root causes to attack the issue at the source.
Postpartum Hair Loss Causes
During pregnancy, everything is about growth! Your hair has natural growth cycles—seasons of growth and seasons of shedding—but during pregnancy, your hormones put your hair into a constant state of growth. Glowing locks are one of the beauty benefits of pregnancy!
Immediately after birth, hormones, in particular estrogen, rapidly decline. As estrogen drops, your hair goes back into the normal cycle of growth and shedding. Since your hair hasn’t shed in 9+ months, you may experience more loss than normal—clumps falling out as you shower.
Don’t think you’ve done anything wrong, these causes of hair loss after pregnancy are common and normal. But it’s equally your body’s beautiful way of signaling you, we have some things to work on!
What’s the Root Cause of Hair Loss after Pregnancy?
This is always what we should be asking. When we address the root cause we will encourage wellness through our entire body, both physical and emotional.
Adrenal fatigue is truly the root cause of hair loss after pregnancy (and hair loss in general).
Adrenal fatigue happens when the body has experienced heightened stress and can’t fully keep up with the demands. Your body is designed to handle short periods of stress—pregnancy and postpartum although a beautiful miracle, are both seasons of intense and prolonged stress.
In a weakened stress state, your hormones require more energy to make cortisol and therefore have less energy to focus on hair growth.
Your body brilliantly prioritizes where to send energy, healing and nutrients and your hair isn’t top of the list.
Some signs of adrenal fatigue postpartum:
- difficulty falling asleep
- difficulty staying asleep (even if baby is sleeping)
- hair loss
- unexplained weight gain
- brain fog
Your hair is ‘non-essential’ compared to keeping your baby alive or your heart beating. When our bodies are in a weakened state of energy and depleted in nutrients (you just created a human!), your body prioritizes essential functioning over non essentials. During pregnancy, baby takes what baby needs, which is a beautiful part of creating life but also comes at detriment to mom’s health long term. That ‘drained’ feeling is indescribable postpartum.
Hair health and growth is low on the priority list, as your body directs resources towards helping you regain your strength, heal and balance hormones postpartum.
This is a reality of having little ones, especially the first year of life. In the moment when you can barely keep your eyes open or even think because you are so tired, it seems like it will never end, but it truly is only a season.
As our hormones continue to change postpartum, our brain also changes—reforming to be more in tune with our baby’s needs, one of many reasons why motherhood might make you into a lighter sleeper overall.
The Solution(s) to Postpartum Hair Loss
Adrenal fatigue is something many women, not just postpartum struggle with and unless addressed the symptoms can continue, worsen and even create additional issues.
Sweet mama, you just created a baby—you are allowed to be exhausted but that doesn’t mean you have to stay there forever!
Practical ways to balance your adrenals:
- Get into bed earlier: Even 10 minutes can set your nighttime up for more deep restorative sleep. The best sleep happens earlier, so aiming for bedtime no later than 9:30 is best.
- Ditch the high intensity workouts: Postpartum is not the time to push your body or your adrenals—high intensity workouts like running can spike your cortisol and we want to save all of that for when you actually need it!
- Work with me one on one: Get a nutrition + lifestyle plan specific to your needs that will impact you, your hormones, your energy, your family and your responsibilities long term! Book your appointment >
Our cells, in particular our hormones, need the raw materials to perform their jobs effectively. Your body prioritizes nourishing your baby over you, so it’s up to YOU to intentionally replenish nutrients postpartum. Be patient with this process—it will affect not only your hair growth but your wellness for decades to come.
Practical ways to replenish nutrients:
- Focus on one nutrient dense meal per day: Stressing about every meal isn’t productive—focus on ONE. Choose what time of day is most realistic for your responsibilities and schedule. Think about your work schedule, your baby’s schedule and when you feel like you need a nutrient dense meal the most. Guard that time to prepare and eat.
- Continue taking your prenatal: postpartum (especially if breastfeeding) requires more nutrients than pregnancy. Natural Prenatal Vitamin Guide >
- Add in Majka’s replenishing powder: This nutrient dense powder helps rebuild your body’s nutrient stores. It’s a game changer for any woman, not just postpartum. It always gives me SO much energy!!
Begin to restore sleep
Replenishing nutrient stores and supplementing is SO important during this season of sleep deprivation to make up for what we have little control over, lack of sleep.
A few ways to catch up on sleep during this season of motherhood:
- Power nap: 15 minutes can go a long way to refresh you
- Take a night ‘off’: if you have a spouse or partner, choose one night a week (or every few weeks) when they can be on watch so you can get good, deep restorative sleep. Clearly this would be once baby is going longer stretches through the night if you are breastfeeding.
- Guard baby’s nap time for you: Afternoon naps at home are a non-negotiable for our family, most days. This means that I can either do something I need to do or take a much needed nap. Prioritizing this has been a long-term lifesaver.
Holistic Supplements for Hair Growth
Mane & Nails: Help your hair, skin and nails grow like a weed with biotin, silica, hyaluronic acid and herbs – the building blocks of beauty. You’ll see and feel the difference quickly. You only need 1-2 capsules too! If you’re having air loss after pregnancy or not, this would be my top suggestion for any hair loss.
Pure Radiance Vitamin C: This helps address the root cause, adrenal fatigue. The highest concentration of Vitamin C in the body is found in the adrenal glands. In periods of stress, Vitamin C is used up more rapidly to make cortisol and the stress related hormones.
Postpartum Hair Loss Q & A
Q: How long should postpartum hair loss last?
A: You may continue to experience hair loss after pregnancy, but if your hair starts to grow back at the same time, that’s a good sign. If you aren’t experiencing any hair growth at 10-12 months postpartum, that’s a red flag.
Q: Does postpartum hair loss grow back?
A: YES. When we focus on nourishing your body from the inside out you’ll be amazed by how not only your hair recovers, but also your energy and hormones balance. Due to hormone changes, your hair might change texture a bit, I know mine became a bit more silky and straight actually!
Q: What shampoo is best for postpartum hair loss?
A: The best approach is actually to wash your hair LESS as frequent washing can make your hair brittle and more vulnerable to breakage. The more you wash your hair, the more your hair overproduces oils that lead to greasy hair and dandruff. It may take some time to ‘train’ your hair but eventually you’ll be able to increase time between washings. Choose a shampoo that deeply cleanses (see below for our picks), give it a thorough scrub, possibly even a double wash, and avoid harmful ingredients like parabens, phthalates and fragrances as those damage your hair (and hormones).
Flourish hair favorites:
- Goop Salt Shampoo: perfect for a weekly deep cleanse, especially helps with your scalp health
- Beautycounter Daily Shampoo: the best clean shampoo, it lathers and works!
- Daily Conditioner: your hair will be silky soft for days to come
- Primally Pure Dry Shampoo: great for extending time between washes, gives your hair volume too
- Nessa Crowning Glory Hair Oil: love this for a scalp treatment to encourage growth at the roots and to nourish dry ends
- Milk Anti-Frizz Treatment: apply a few pumps after you shower for soft hair. Can also be used each morning to the ends if your hair is on the dryer side.
Q: How does getting your hair cut frequently actually help it grow?
A: Regular hair maintenance won’t help your hair grow faster, but it will keep your ends healthy which helps your overall hair look healthier. Split ends cause breakage which makes your hair look shorter and more damaged.
Q: I’m exhausted, depleted and need a plan for postpartum energy. How can you help with a postpartum plan for me?
A: I’ve been in your shoes—know that you are not alone. The exhaustion is real. As a Functional Nutritional Therapy Practitioner, I work to address the root cause of your personal symptoms and create a plan that will serve you long term, energy + wellness for life not just for the current moment.