Postpartum Hair Loss; When ...

The postpartum self is something difficult to accept and cope with. One of the most challenging yet temporary postpartum conditions is postpartum hair loss. Once you start getting used to your postpartum body, the cramps start settling down, your sleep improves a bit and you are back to routine, something sets-in. Postpartum hair loss it is!

Yes, you are certainly going to experience some postpartum hair loss 4 to 5 months after giving birth. Your hair starts to fall more frequently, and the brushes and sinks are clogged with more than routine hair. The process and experience are certainly uncomfortable and not welcomed at all. The idea of losing chunks of hair daily, having your hair get thin and brittle, and losing the volume can be incredibly scary. However, this is how nature works and it needs to be accepted as it is.

However, postpartum hair loss is not going to last forever. Sigh of relief! Isn't it?

When Does Postpartum Hair Loss End?

So now when you know that your loss is not a permanent one, you must be wondering when will you be able to enjoy your previous hair volume. Let’s have a deep insight into this topic.

Postpartum hair loss is not something that starts immediately the day next to the delivery of your child. It takes around 4 to 5 months to start developing the peak signs of it. Therefore, the hair loss will take some time to eliminate. However, it is not supposed to cause any damage to your scalp.

Many women regain the previous growth, volume, and fullness of their hair after postpartum hair loss once their baby reaches his/her first birthday.

Factors Exaggerating Postpartum Hair loss:

As discussed above, postpartum hair loss is likely to eradicate up to a year after delivering the baby. However, if it doesn't there might be some other medical conditions contributing to your postpartum hair loss. They might be:
Iron Deficiency Anemia
Iron deficiency can be a major contributor to your normal physiological postpartum hair loss. Iron and other mineral supplements are very important during pregnancy. This is because you are likely to get deficient in your iron reserves during pregnancy. A study conducted in 2019 shows that there are nearly 38000 pregnant women with anemia.

Moreover, blood loss during labor and the postpartum period can also lead to iron deficiency anemia. Breastfeeding can also be a reason for your declined iron reserves if you are not supplementing them in an adequate amount.
Iron deficiency anemia can present itself as:
Shortness of breath
Persistent fatigue

Postpartum Thyroiditis

One major reason for not getting your normal hair volume back even after a year of childbirth can be postpartum thyroiditis. It is a condition where there is an excessive inflammation of the thyroid gland after childbirth affecting around 5 to 7% of postpartum women. It can be in the form of transient hypothyroidism, transient hyperthyroidism, or both followed by one another.

You can notice these symptoms in case you are suffering from postpartum thyroiditis.
Excessive weight loss or gain
Increased/decreased heart rate

Another symptom of postpartum thyroiditis is excessive hair loss as well. So make sure you are keen about this factor as well in case your postpartum hair loss has not gone or is appearing in a severe form which is not normal.

Emotional Stress

The phase of pregnancy followed by childbirth is no less than a challenge. Be it the first time or not, pregnancy and postpartum are difficult to handle and get used to. These overwhelming responsibilities can result in getting you stressed and overworked especially during the first year after delivery. You can notice the following symptoms in case of excessive emotional stress:

Sleep disturbance
Persistent headache
Lack of energy
Sadness and mood swings

Stress can also be a contributor to the hormonal balance of the body. Since hormonal levels are the major cause of postpartum hair loss, any factor causing their imbalance can result in long-lasting hair loss or exaggeration.
When to See a Doctor for Postpartum Hair Loss?
As discussed above, postpartum hair loss can vary when it comes to the frequency and quantity of hair loss. However, there are certainly some checkpoints that you need to take care of. If you are experiencing hair fall since the 4th or 5th postpartum month, it is most likely due to the estrogen levels falling and coming back to balance after pregnancy.

Nearly around the first birthday of your child, you will experience a reduction in hair fall and your hair coming back to its normal volume and fullness.
However, in case your postpartum hair loss has been a continuous struggle for more than a year after you have given birth, it is something that needs attention. You should visit your doctor and discuss hair loss in detail.

Most likely, they are going to get your medical history, followed by some blood tests and investigations to rule out any other cause which can be contributing to or causing this excessive hair loss.

The Takeaway Message

Every new mother to parenting and postpartum body finds it extremely stressful and challenging to face hair loss. Most of them are depressed about it and desperate to know when will it stop. However, they should rest assured that this is not something of concern as long as it is within control and stops until the first birthday of their child.

However, keep a keen eye on other symptoms like thyroiditis and postpartum iron deficiency anemia. In case your hair loss hasn’t stopped until the time it is supposed to be, we recommend consulting your doctor to rule out any other cause.