Postpartum Shedding- Just the Bad and the Ugly…Because there is no good!

by kcurly on June 12, 2011

in Post Partum Shedding,Uncategorized

Sorry, Fido, I've STILL got you beat...!

Since I never experienced this PP shedding before, I decided to do some research on the subject. You always hear people rave about how pregnancy makes the hair just grow and grow.However,  in the next breath, they bemoan the massive hair loss after the baby makes an entrance.

So, is it true? Does the hair grow more when a woman is pregnant? Does the hair all fall out after she pops out the little one? Will her hair ever be the same again?

You can’t handle the truth! Body and scalp hair.

First things’s first.

We all know that pregnancy can jack your body up. Let’s just be honest with ourselves. That beautiful baby can cause a lot of ugly for mama.

Your body does things that you never thought (and never hoped) that it would do. One of those things involves hair growth. Before we get into the hair on your head, let’s talk about the hair on your body.

According to Obstetric Dermatology: A Practical Guide
, some pregnant women will experience something called hirsutism. Hirsutism pretty much means you have hair growing in places you don’t really want it to grow if you’re a woman…like your face, etc.

I didn’t experience this. If you do experience this, things generally get back to normal soon after.

On to the head hair. What happens to the hair on your head while pregnant?

  • The diameter of the hair becomes bigger very early in the pregnancy.
  • In one study, it was found that the anagen phase (or growth phase) of the hair is altered by pregnancy. Normally, 85 percent of a person’s scalp hair is in anagen phase. By the second trimester, 95 percent of the pregnant women’s scalp hair was in the growth phase. This percentage lasts until the end of pregnancy and sometimes into the first week of postpartum.

So, yes, pregnancy can cause your hair to grow thicker and longer. Some of ya’ll are probably thinking “duh” but with all of the assumptions about hair that I’ve heard in my lifetime, I just had to know if this was true!


According to Obstetric Dermatology: A Practical Guide

  • Postpartum, many women experience telogen effluvium (telogen is the resting phase right before the hair sheds that can last 3 months), which is a swift change from anagen to telogen phase brought on by stress, hormones, etc.
  • PP shedding usually lasts from 1 to 5 months after the baby is born.
  • The duration and onset varies from woman to woman. It can start as soon as the baby is born and last up to 15 months after!
  • In one study, 90 percent of hair loss occurred between 8 and 16 weeks postpartum.
  • The hair loss may occur from just one part of the scalp with most women losing hair from the anterior scalp.
  • Complete regrowth usually occurs. However, in some cases the hair may not be as thick or dense as it was pre-pregnancy.
  • Some women also complain of changes in hair color, curliness, and texture.
  • Twenty five percent of scalp hair must be loss before noticeable thinning occurs (holy….!!)

Update on my shedding experience

My daughter is now 6 months old and things have gotten much better. At one point, wash day would result  in my hand coming away with handful after handful of hair. Luckily, I have very dense hair so it has not really been noticeable (with the exception of my edges) though it’s been a bit distressing. And that’s from someone who is naturally a heavy shedder.

With my son, I did not notice much PP shedding. I think it may have been because I was relaxed. Straight hair shed hair can just fall out pretty easily once it is let go from the scalp. My natural hair, on the other hand, is not released as easily due to being highly textured. Compound this with the fact that I was wearing my hair in the same twists or resulting twistout for 2-3 weeks at a time and we have the formula for disaster in the form of tangles and matting.

I don’t know if I mentioned it here, but I had a small matted section so bad near my nape that I could not work it out even after 45 minutes of uninterrupted attempts. I ended up having to snip it out. :(

My solution has been to still keep my hair in twists, but redo them every 6-7 days. Here was my routine, which I really wish I’d been doing since the shedding started.

  • Wash or rinse twists
  • Deep condition twists
  • Undo and detangle (ie getting the shed hair out) each twists  one by one, reapplying moisturizer or butter
  • Retwist

Retwisted twists

This got the shed hair out, allowed me to do my hair in sections, which saved on time because I could do it throughout the day, and let my edges rest. As I’ve mentioned before, I’d usually put the twists in a bun. I just recently put an end to the above cycle and wore the resulting twistout.

Got a tip for post partum shedding? Share it in the comments section!

{ 2 trackbacks }

Emergency Hair Kit
May 9, 2012 at 7:45 am
An update from Kcurly
August 2, 2013 at 9:55 am

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