Every pregnancy is different in its own way, but one of the most common physical side effects is postpartum hair loss.
This type of hair loss is especially jarring because new mothers are already under tremendous stress and had only recently watched their hair become significantly thicker and healthier-looking.
"There is a slowing of hairs in the growing stage — also known as the anagen stage — to the resting stage, known as the telogen phase," Florida OB-GYN Dr. Christine Greves told TODAY.com last year. “This creates an increase in the growing-stage hair, which results in the scalp hair appearing thicker or denser during pregnancy. During the postpartum period, however, hairs present in the resting phase increase, resulting in the hair loss and thinning of scalp hair."
Not Your Average Case Of Balding
Postpartum hair loss, or telogen effluvium, is caused by a series of hormonal changes that take place during and after pregnancy along with the incomparable stress of childbirth.
Estrogen levels increase throughout the duration of the pregnancy and decrease immediately after giving birth, causing hairs to become thinner and fall out over the next few months.
Earlier this summer, a user of social network Reddit revealed how different the outcome of postpartum hair loss can be compared to hair loss caused by old age.
“I look like I have a weird mullet,” the new mother said, “because my hair is long in the back, but I have short hair all around the front of my hairline.”
Her post prompted other Reddit users to share their unique experiences with postpartum hair loss. The responses showed that the condition can vary dramatically both in severity and duration.
New Moms Share Their Experiences
Doctors reportedly say that for most women, hair will stop falling out and begin to grow back approximately six months after birth.
The condition usually resolves after another six months or so but Redditor veggiesaur revealed “I am one year postpartum and I still have small, frizzy antennae all around my face.”
User 3HolePunchedJim said her hair is yet to fully return even though her son turned three last Spring.
Many Redditors reported to losing a great deal of hair around the temple, which, as luck would have it, is also the area that experienced the most growth during pregnancy.
In 2016, Lana Kimmich told TODAY.com that pregnancy-induced hair growth is so powerful that it managed to halt the hair loss she’s dealt with for many years.
The Reddit community also pointed out that having a second child one or two years after the first could disrupt the regrowth process.
“My son is 2.5, and it's almost caught up. Except I have some spots that stayed on the shorter side. But I gave birth 6 weeks ago, so I'm sure everything I've worked so hard to grow back will be gone in a month or so,” wrote one user.
A Blessing In Disguise?
Details of the regrowth process vary from woman to woman as well.
Alesandra Dubin, for example, wrote that the tiny hairs coming in around her hairline are “inconvenient when it comes to styling” while Sagan Tyana Condon said her hair “got way thicker after I had my daughter.”
It’s important to note that telogen effluvium is not only caused by child birth, and can even be primarily attributed to excessive stress.
New moms who are experiencing telogen effluvium are advised to consult a doctor if their hair does not begin to grow back within three to six months. Such individuals will likely be administered a blood test to check hormone levels.