Hair. Hair. Everywhere.
Are you noticing more hair loss during pregnancy? Clogging your drains, hairbrush, and all over your clothes? If so, you’re not alone.
Hair loss can be an annoying side effect of pregnancy. But why does it happen? And will it ever go back to normal?
In this guide, you’ll learn about pregnancy hair loss and 5 remedies to make your hair appear fuller again.
Hair Loss During Pregnancy
When you’re expecting, your hair may change during pregnancy thanks to the myriad of other changes your body is going through. Some people experience pregnancy hair growth while others have hair loss during pregnancy.
Hair loss during pregnancy is somewhat common. Hair shedding affects between 40 and 50% of pregnant women, according to the American Pregnancy Association.
You may notice your hair thinning or falling out easier, more frequently, or in larger amounts. Signs of hair shedding/hair loss during pregnancy include:
- Seeing more hairs on your hairbrush or pillow
- Seeing more hairs on the floor or your clothing
- Your shower is clogged with hair more frequently
- Your vacuum is clogged with hair more frequently
Some people wonder if hair loss is a sign they’re pregnant. Hair loss should not be considered a typical sign of pregnancy. Although it could be caused by pregnancy hormones, it can also be the result of other factors, like stress.
Also, keep in mind that everyone loses hair. Fun fact: Shedding between 50 and 100 hairs a day is normal, according to the American Academy of Dermatology Association (AAD). When a person loses significantly more hairs, they may have “telogen effluvium”—an excessive hair shedding condition.
Causes of Pregnancy Hair Loss
There’s a few possible causes of pregnancy hair loss. Some are directly related to pregnancy while others are not.
Pregnancy hormones may be responsible for your hair loss, particularly early on. The rapidly changing hormones can trigger hair shedding (TE). When someone has TE, 30% or more of their hairs are moved into the “telogen phase.”
Stopping Birth Control
If you’ve stopped birth control to conceive, your hair loss could also be a result of your body adjusting. Some people experience shedding within 4-8 weeks after stopping. Typically, hair returns to normal within 9-12 months.
It’s true that stress can cause your hair to fall out. A 2021 study confirmed that chronic stress impairs hair follicle stem cells. And during pregnancy, you have a lot to be stressed about. Your life is changing forever and you have so much to prepare for before the baby comes. Even if you’re not affected by pregnancy hormones, the stress alone could be enough to cause pregnancy hair loss. Chronic stressors such as a bad workplace or toxic relationship could also cause hair loss.
If you’ve been doing your hair the same way before and during pregnancy, this isn’t likely the cause of your pregnancy hair loss. However, it’s a possibility and it could make hormonal hair loss even worse. Tight hairdos can pull on hair, causing it to fall out. Harsh hair products can also cause strands to fall out.
If you’re taking your prenatal vitamins and eating well, this isn’t likely the cause of your pregnancy hair loss. However, hair loss can be a sign of a vitamin or mineral deficiency.
If you’re experiencing more hair loss now than before, it’s most likely pregnancy-related. However, hair loss could also be a sign of a condition, like a thyroid disease. If you’re worried, talk to your doctor and have them rule out other causes.
5 Remedies for Pregnancy Hair Loss
It may be impossible to completely prevent or treat pregnancy hair loss. However, there’s a few things you can do to minimize its impact.
Be Mindful About Hair Products
Harsh hair products may be contributing to your pregnancy hair loss. Avoid products that use strong chemicals.
While you can’t necessarily stop pregnancy hair loss by discontinuing use of products, there’s a few things you can do to mask it. The AAD recommends:
- Using a volumizing shampoo, which coats the strands and gives hair a fuller appearance
- Avoiding heavy conditioners and using formulations for fine hair to weigh your hair down less, making it look less limp
- Using conditioner only on the ends of your hair to avoid weighing it down, which limits fullness
Be Mindful About Hairstyles
You might want to avoid hairstyles that pull on your hair. For example, a tight ponytail or bun loosens your hair, encouraging it to fall out. After a day of wearing your hair up, you might pull your hair tie out with several strands of hair. If this happens, try loosening your hair tie or avoiding the hairstyle altogether. When you’re looking to get your hair away from your face, clips can do the job without as much tension on strands.
If you’re still unhappy with the appearance of your hair, work with your frequent shedding instead of against it. Consider a new haircut to make your hair appear fuller and less limp. A good hairstylist can offer suggestions to transform your look.
Stress can cause a variety of conditions, so relaxing more is not only good for pregnancy hair loss, it’s good for your overall health.
To limit your stress levels, first, find what you’re most stressed about. For example, you might be stressed about baby preparation. Or, the majority of your stress could be coming from a toxic relationship that’s growing more problematic. Try to be honest about what’s causing the majority of your stress and take steps to minimize or eliminate the stressor.
Proven ways to lower stress include:
- Seeing a therapist to learn healthy coping mechanisms
- Mindfulness exercises
- Gain social support
- Gain support from your partner
- Set boundaries
- Have a laugh at a funny video or movie
We know, you’re not going to like this one. Sometimes, there’s nothing you can do to treat normal pregnancy hair loss. If pregnancy hormones are causing your hair loss, you may need to wait until those pregnancy hormones have left your body. Since hormones don’t automatically go back to normal after labor, this could take some time post-birth.
If your hair loss is caused by stress, it could also take some time to return to normal. The AAD says most people notice excessive hair shedding a few months after a stressor. Within 6 to 9 months, your hair should return to its fullness. On the other hand, if the stress is never eliminated, the problem will continue.
Although pregnancy hair loss is normal, excessive amounts may point to an underlying cause. If you suspect this, contact your doctor. For hair loss with underlying causes, medication may be recommended. Keep in mind that some treatments, like minoxidil, aren’t safe while expecting. If you need medication for hair loss, your doctor will help you find a pregnancy-safe alternative.
After-Pregnancy Hair Loss
Although it’s possible to experience pregnancy hair loss, more people experience shedding after pregnancy. The reason this happens is that your hormones are returning to normal levels. According to the APA, hair loss that was delayed throughout pregnancy may come out at once. After-pregnancy hair loss typically peaks about 4 months after delivery and is only temporary, according to the AAD.
Is Pregnancy Hair Growth Possible?
Some people also experience better hair during pregnancy. While pregnancy hormones can create hair shedding, they can also trigger hair growth. You might notice that your hair and nails are growing faster than usual. Your hair might also be thicker and shinier. Of course, quick hair growth can have its downsides too: hair in unwanted places.
Summary: Pregnancy Hair Loss
Pregnancy hair loss is somewhat common and is usually nothing to worry about. It can be caused by new pregnancy hormones, stress, or a side effect of your body adjusting after stopping birth control. Even more common is after pregnancy hair loss, which peaks about 4 months after delivery.
Although pregnancy hair loss can be annoying, you might not be able to fully prevent or treat it. To limit hair loss, find ways to de-stress and be mindful about your hair products and hairstyles. Most importantly, give your hair time to recuperate. Remember that pregnancy hair loss is temporary and should go back to normal within 6 to 9 months.
Do You Have a Fetal Doppler Yet?
Fetal dopplers are amazing devices that allow you to hear your baby’s heartbeat before she’s born. The device fits into the palm of your hand and is easy to use. Once detected, you’ll hear your little one’s heartbeat through speakers. Many parents say it’s a magical experience that helps them bond before birth.