Dealing with Postpartum Hair Loss

Minimize the trauma that can accompany hair loss.

Why You Lose It

Pregnancy Skin Problems: Hair Changes
Pregnancy Skin Problems: Hair Changes

During pregnancy you may have been thrilled with your thick and lustrous mane of hair. Except for some dryness (which a little deep conditioning takes care of) you may have thought, wow, pregnancy has finally given my hair some life! But then once you have your baby -- poof! You're alarmed, even shocked, to find that your hair seems to be falling out.

No, you're not going bald. This is a temporary phase. In the normal cycle of hair growth, some hair is lost every day. But during pregnancy the increased levels of estrogen in your body freezes hair in the growing (or "resting") phase of the cycle. Hair that would normally fall out stays put, resulting in thicker hair. After you give birth and your estrogen levels decline, however, all that hair that was resting starts to fall out. This usually starts the third or fourth postpartum and ends by six months, says Joanne Stone, MD, an ob-gyn at Mount Sinai Medical Center in New York City and coauthor of Pregnancy for Dummies (John Wiley & Sons). But some women say it can last for a year. This temporary hair loss doesn't mean you're deficient in nutrition or vitamins, says Dr. Stone. It's simply hormonal.

Sometimes hair falls out all over your head. Or clumps may come out when you brush it, or in the shower. However, often women just lose a lot around their hairline, so that their hair looks very fine in the front, or as if they're going bald, says Stephanie Scuoppo, a hairstylist at the Elizabeth Arden Red Door Salon and Spa in New York City.

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