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Postpartum Hair Loss : why it happens and what you can do to help

Brunette woman seen from behind holding a baby to her face and smiling

I’m five months into postpartum round number two and feel like I’m wading in quicksand. 

I can’t remember what I ate for breakfast let alone where I’ve been. I’m breastfeeding the baby for what seems like 27 hours a day and I just want to pull my hair out… but I don’t need to, nature has arranged this for me. I wake up and there’s fistfuls of my hair on my pillow, the sink and the baby – it’s become my calling card.

Hair loss after birth is disconcerting but actually a very common postpartum experience, affecting over 90% of women. It usually begins to fall from around 2-4 months post birth and can last between 6-12 months. This can look like big chunks of hair continuously falling out – after every shower or hair brush, or like me, whenever really.

Why do we lose so much hair after a baby? 

  • During pregnancy high levels of the hormone oestrogen, which also is involved in the stimulation of hair growth, prevents hair from falling out at its normal cycle. Hence why hair may feel fuller and thicker. 

Fast forward to after the birth, oestrogen levels drop which causes the hair to fall out. The texture may be different too and can feel brittle. 

  • Other causes of postpartum hair loss can be due to nutrient deficiencies, such as low iron, or thyroid hormone imbalance and adrenal fatigue (prolonged stress). Breast feeding mums are particularly affected by this.

What can we do to treat postpartum hair loss?

  • It is important to maintain a nutrient dense diet that incorporates good quality animal protein and fatty acids. This will provide a plethora of minerals that help to support hair growth like iron, zinc and biotin. A whole foods diet will also help to balance blood sugar levels and promote normal cortisol levels – supporting adrenal health.

  • Request a blood test from your health care provider that includes a full thyroid and iron panel to see where your levels are. Work with a practitioner who can help navigate this with you. 

  • Carve out time to find a sense of calm through movement and breathwork. This can help to address stress and shift into a relaxed state to relieve nervousness and lower blood cortisol levels.

  • Be gentle when using high heat directly on the hair. Invest in heat protection and consult with your hairdresser on a good cut and more natural shampoo.  

  • Supplementation with a good quality collagen powder as well as silica can support hair growth. Adaptogens such as ashwagandha can be incorporated to uplift mood and reduce stress.

Although this is one of those annoying phases of postpartum, like all phases they don’t last and hair will regrow. If it is causing thinning or feeling more severe it is recommended to seek professional advice and work together with a health practitioner. 


Hasan R, Juma H, Eid FA, Alaswad HA, Ali WM, Aladraj FJ. Effects of Hormones and Endocrine Disorders on Hair Growth. Dec 2022

Hirose A, Terauchi M, Odai T, Fudono A, Tsurane K, Sekiguchi M, Iwata M, Anzai T, Takahashi K, Miyasaka N. Investigation of exacerbating factors for postpartum hair loss: a questionnaire-based cross-sectional study. Int J Womens Dermatol. Jun 2023 

Portrait photo of registered nurse Julia Quinn with baby in a sling

About the author

Julia Quinn is a Registered Nurse and Certified Consultant in Postpartum and Baby Nutrition. To find out more or to work with Julia, you can find her at


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