Damn You, Post-Partum Shed! (Photo)

I ignorantly thought I’d be exempt from the post-partum shed this time. With my first son, I shed profusely between 7-20 weeks of pregnancy, and then again starting at about four months post-birth. With my second, I didn’t shed at all while pregnant–I thought that since I was already pretty advanced with my hair loss that this could be why. I also thought that *maybe* if I didn’t shed during the pregnancy I’d get a pass when it comes to the post-partum shed. Wishful thinking. Around 13 weeks post-partum, it began…about seven weeks later it’s still in full-swing.

If you’ve landed here by Google-search, please know my experience isn’t normal for 99% of women – while many women experience the post-partum shed, the hair loss stops after a few months and it’ll regrow. There’s nothing you can do to stop the post-partum shed. Vitamins and other supplements, special shampoos, hair products, none of that will help the shed; you just have to let it run its course. Supposedly, the hair that is shedding is hair that your hormones made you retain while pregnant. Technically, you should’ve lost it during the normal cycle but since you were pregnant you got to hang onto it a little while longer. This didn’t really work out in my favor with my first because I didn’t keep any hair–I only lost it–and I still shed a ton. But, what I described is what is supposed to happen. What isn’t supposed to happen, however, is a bald spot. Or four. Blech.

So, I was already at a disadvantage coming into this, but it’s now much, much worse. I have bonafide bald spots right now!

post partum shed

How’d I get to be so lucky, eh? The front shot almost makes it look like the very worst of it is at the front, right behind my hairline. While that is true, you can see in the next photo that the loss is actually quite widespread, now.

Post Partum Shed Bald Spots

Whereas I used to be able to comb the hair towards the back of my head back, tease it (to create a little bump/volume), and not use any concealers to help with my hairloss, that’s now totally not going to work.

If I had to estimate, I’d say that I’ve lost anywhere from 15-20% of my hair since the post-partum shed started. Unfortunately, there doesn’t appear to be an end in sight. If I recall with my first, however, it just randomly stopped one day around my baby’s 6-month mark, so I’m hoping I have about another month MAX for this to continue. Fingers crossed.

Note, too, the texture of my hair. I’m not sure if you can get a good feel for it by looking at the photos, but it has turned a weird color (still brown, but much more ashy than ever…and I have ashy hair to being with, but I almost feel like it has less pigment than what it used to) and the texture is like cotton candy.

My concern, now, is that I am rapidly running out of hair in which to clip my topper to. I’m finding it harder and harder each morning to get my topper to grip.

So…guess what I am looking into next?!

37 thoughts on “Damn You, Post-Partum Shed! (Photo)”

  1. Hi Lauren,

    I know this is a pretty old article but I hope you will see my message.
    First, I admire you for have the courage to post those pictures. I can imagine how difficult it is to share this part of you with unkown people and i find it very brave.

    I don’t think I have androgenetic alopecia but I have had a hair loss problem ever since I came off birth control 5 years ago (I also had very sever cystic acne). My hair was finally getting fuller and thicker when I got pregnant… and oh my god! My hair started falling out like crazy! And it did throughout the pregnancy until the 8th or 9th month.

    After i gave birth, my hair became full and beautiful again. It was growing really fast for about 3 months until it started falling out in clumps AGAIN. Now my baby is 13 month-old and I am still shedding A LOT. So I ‘ve had 10 months of diffuse shedding… Actually, I thought it was getting better because I had a lot of baby hairs but the shedding has worsened over the past 3 weeks. and now I have bald spots around the temples.

    This is very depressing especially since I am not sure what the cause can be…
    I had a pretty bad year (sleep deprivation, a lot of stress, tragic personal events, several diseases such mononucleosis and the flu, etc.) so I think that many factors can play… including the end of breastfeeding recently…
    I will be doing a new blood test but until now it seemed that I didn’t have any thyroid problems nor vitamins/iron deficiency. So I am lost…

    My questions are:
    – did you breastfeed and if so did you notice any increase in the shedding after you stopped breastfeeding?
    – did you notice hair loss all over your scalp or only on the top of your hair and on the edges
    – how is your hair doing now? Did it get better after some time?
    – do you think that 10 months of intense shedding is the sign of androgenetic alopecia?

    Thanks a million times for your help!
    Cheers

    • Hi! Your hair-loss-while-pregnant story sound alike like mine! 🙂 For me, I think being on birth control for so many years actually masked my hormonal issues. To answer your questions:

      1) I did breastfeed – I did not notice any shedding when I stopped (with either child). With my first, I BF for a year, and with my second, much longer.
      2) It was probably diffuse/all over, but most noticeable on the top while pregnant. After giving birth for the post-partum shed, all over, but the temples were the worst.
      3) Right now it’s stable. I’d say my hair is every-so-slightly worse than before I had my second child. So, pretty stable in the past 5 years.
      4) No, intense shedding is usually a sign of something else as AA is gradual. BUT, hormonal issues, as I’ve had, can expedite things and be a sort of gateway into AA.

      I’d recommend getting your labs done again, and makes sure you do it on the proper day of your cycle. I think it’s day 3 that’s recommended. I’d try to go to a doc that specializes in hormones and their relationship even deeper than a typical endo. For me, my testosterone was in a normal range but on the high side of it. So I’d never trigger anything on paper, but when I was on Spiro to control some of the issues that excess testosterone produces (my main pain point was acne), I responded really well to it.

      • Hi Lauren,

        Many thanks for your reply and sorry for my belated response!

        I saw a dermatologist a a couple of weeks ago and he thought I should not worry about the shed. He thought that the hair regrowth was a good sign and that the shed was probably due to hormonal changes, fatigue and stress and it should get better over time. He did not mention AA.

        However, he suggested that I start Spiro if things do not get better in a few months’ time and if it really bothers me (and it does!). But I am scared of being on this medication . After what the pill did to my hair and skin I am extremely cautious. about potential side effects of any medication… The pill triggered all my hormonal problems (acne and hair loss) so I do not want to take any risk… I may just try plants and see if it works.

        I am glad that your shed has been stable over the past year! I guess it is a good sign, right? I assume you have tried pretty much everything to treat your hormonal problems but have you tried hormone-like plants such as vitex, maca or yarrow? The latter helped me treat the acne after I came off the pill and trust me, my post-pill acne was horrible. Maybe one of these plants could be an option for you if you have not tried them yet and feel like starting something new and natural…

        Thanks again for your tips and suggestions!
        Cheers

  2. Thank you so much for posting about this. I was diagnosed with female pattern baldness about 8 years ago, I’m now post partum and would make your topperless shot look full & luxurious. I don’t know if I’m ready for a piece yet, or ever will be, but thank you for making me feel normal.

  3. Thanks for sharing your pregnancy & hair journey so honestly Lauren. I too have ended up with really thinned out hair after having two babies in 18 months. I have always had fine hair and was fortunate to not have lost any during both pregnancies, but afterwards….oh my word..I seriously thought I was going to end up bald! Both times the hair loss started about 2 months post birth and stopped around 5 months post. I am currently taking some chinese herbs (at 6 months post birth) that are meant to assist with hair regrowth and also to balance out my hormones as I have also struggled with acne on and off since my teenage years. I’ve been taking the herbs for 3 months and can’t really tell yet whether anything’s happening with my hair but when I pull it back there are a few fuzzy wisps around the hairline so I think maybe it’s slowly growing back. My skin on the other hand looks so good and I’m not getting any breakouts. Another thing I did was cut my hair short as this gives the hair more body. I often also use dry shampoo for dark hair (as mine is dark) and it also disguises the scalp a bit which helps. It’s so reassuring to see that there are others in the same boat as me and I really hope that your hair will grow back too. None of my friends seemed to have suffered any hair loss after their pregnancies – grr!

  4. Hello, I am so grateful to read your blog. I am slowly going bald postpartum. My baby is 7 months old. I have a massive receded hairline on the left with a few 1-2 inch hairs growing through (thin and few) and it has thinned out massively all around the right hand side. I can no longer wear a ponytail and have cut in a side fringe. It looks awful and makes me so very upset. I am terrified of going bald. I had such beautiful hair before. I saw a dermatologist and he thinks is breast feeding so I am starting to wean my little man (I didn’t want to stop but I will if it stops me going bald). I am so scared.

    • I had to come and answer this immediately – no, no, no, breastfeeding does NOT cause hair loss, nor does it prolong or intensify it. Post-partum hairloss happens in like 90% of women. I’m a part of a very large Facebook group of women, all who had babies in October/November/December of last year. Almost ALL of us are experiencing this – and at least half of those moms formula-feed! Regardless of how you feed your babe, your hair is going to fall out. Mine is already starting to taper off; it’s just a matter of time. Most women experience this from anywhere from 6-12 months post-partum (so if you were to wean now and the hair loss did stop, it is likely purely a coincidence as it would’ve stopped anyways), so, you could have a few more months to go. I’d hate to see you give up giving your baby the *best* nutrition possible because of a misinformed derm. If you need a second opinion, seek one from an endocrinologist or even an OB/GYN.

      I know it’s scary wondering if it will ever stop, but, it will. It’s just part of the process. Here are some resources to help you – I have not been able to find ANY (I repeat, ANY) studies out there that says breastfeeding has anything to do with this. In fact, some say since breastfeeding can help keep the hair on your head.

      Kellymom.com – Does Breastfeeding Cause Hair Loss?
      La Leche League – Forum Post
      What to Expect – Post Partum Hair Loss

      Please, please, please don’t stop breastfeeding because of the hair loss – I promise it’s not causing it. If you’re looking for a product to really beef up your hair, several of my readers can attest to Big Sexy Hair Root Pump Plus. It’s an amazing mousse-type product that makes even MY crappy hair (you’ve seen my pics) look a million times better and thicker, especially at the scalp.

  5. So grateful to have come across your site! I’m 38 years old, mother of two boys. Started thinning in my early 20’s. Worse since pregnancy. Tried several toppers. Always different issues with how they look and the clips are uncomfortable. I am now looking into neo-graft hair replacement. Have you heard of that? It’s less invasive than the usual hair transplant method. Not sure what I’m going to do…just desperate! Glad I’m not alone!!!

  6. Hi lauren
    have u heard of the no poo method? what it is is u wash ur hair with baking soda and apple cider vinegar & works well..I have hairloss and have been doing it for a week and notice major difference & fullness right away..u can get this information on pcos diva and hear about women who have hairloss like ours

    • Yes, I’ve done it. It was fine for cleaning but I preferred (at least at the time) to use products on my scalp that are supposed to help with regrowth, like Nioxin. I still have a ton of that shampoo left so maybe once I am out I’ll go back to it.

  7. Lauren,
    You blog helped me take the leap and I recently got a human hair topper. I spent several years doing Laser hair therapy 2-3 times a week, taking special vitamins, and using special product morning and night. My hair still fell out with all that work!! I was afraid that getting a topper would mean I had crossed that invisible line from hair to no hair. However, I was so tired if thinking about my hair and seeing my hair fall out.
    After I got the. Topper I felt so self conscious-like I had to confess to everyone that I was wearing hair!
    To my question, how often do you wash a topper and what should I be doing for my topper daily to take care of it. I am so afraid I will ruin it. Any suggestion or ideas? And I have a hard time fixing or washing it! Help 🙂
    Thanks!!

    • I know, I know, I really need to do a post on the products that I use for both synthetic and human hair. I promise it’s coming! But, the good thing is it’s easy. I really like the Enjoy line of products, specifically the Hydrating, sulfate-free line. It’s great for both human hair and synthetic, and came recommended to me from the owner of a studio in Tampa that specializes in hair loss/wigs/toppers. I’ve linked to it so you can see the picture of it; I think Ulta carries it as well.

      For human hair, you’d probably need to wash about 1x/week. Followed by conditioner, of course. In between washings, you can spray a leave-in conditioner or use some oil on the ends. The Macadamia line is awesome and the Deep Repair Mask is great to use every few weeks to help bring it back to looking like new.

      After washing, roll it in a towel then wring the towel with the hair enclosed to remove excess water. Hang upside-down to dry. Done and done!

      Just make sure to remove the tangles daily with a gentle brush and keep it well-conditioned. Since it’s not attached to the head it doesn’t get the benefit of natural oils.

      What topper did you get??

    • I know, I know, I really need to do a post on the products that I use for both synthetic and human hair. I promise it’s coming! But, the good thing is it’s easy. I really like the Enjoy line of products, specifically the Hydrating, sulfate-free line. It’s great for both human hair and synthetic, and came recommended to me from the owner of a studio in Tampa that specializes in hair loss/wigs/toppers. I’ve linked to it so you can see the picture of it; I think Ulta carries it as well.

      For human hair, you’d probably need to wash about 1x/week. Followed by conditioner, of course. In between washings, you can spray a leave-in conditioner or use some oil on the ends. The Macadamia line is awesome and the Deep Repair Mask is great to use every few weeks to help bring it back to looking like new.

      After washing, roll it in a towel then wring the towel with the hair enclosed to remove excess water. Hang upside-down to dry. Done and done!

      Just make sure to remove the tangles daily with a gentle brush and keep it well-conditioned. Since it’s not attached to the head it doesn’t get the benefit of natural oils.

      What topper did you get??

  8. You would think that science by now would have figured out a way to prevent or at least mitigate the trauma of hair loss. Last October some researchers found a way to implant hair follicles, hopefully in the near future (10yrs or so??) it’ll be a viable treatment option

  9. Hi Lauren,

    Sorry to hear you are going through this. Everyone thinks issues with pcos stop when you have a baby but it’s not true!

    Do you feel like the spots are where your topper clips are? Do you think the topper has contributed at all?

    Hope it stops soon.

    (Ps I got my first topper yesterday. Got a synthetic one but now need to get it thinned out a bit more and make it less shiny!)

    Best wishes,

    Cassie

    • Yes, I think the topper clips contribute a bit to the loss, however, it’s independent of the post-partum shed. That part is inevitable, unfortunately. It’s no big deal as I’ll never be without hair again. One way to prevent any additional loss from clips is to sew additional clips in and rotate which ones you use. I should’ve done that from the start! What topper did you get? Exciting!

      • I got a Jon Renau synthetic one with the silicone clips as featured in your blog! My only issue with it now is making it less shiny and making the fringe/ parting look more like mine (i have a natural wave in the front of my hair) so agonising over fringe options at the moment! Also going to get it thinned out later.

        It doesn’t add any length and I will actually be wearing it up all the time through style choice so hoping there will be less tension. Though I am not wearing it today and I can “feel” where the clips were yesterday. Though I could be imagining that.

        Your blog has really helped me out. I didn’t even know about toppers before and I have now had no hair for a larger part of my life then I had hair so its great to find this solution.

        Very much appreciate this place to read info and comments 🙂

        • When I first started wearing hair, I could “feel” it the day after where the clips were; I don’t think you are imagining it. It takes some getting used to. Good luck with getting it “just right” – that’s always the hardest part!

  10. Hey there. I totally understand what you’re going through. I unfortunately don’t have enough hair at the back of my head to wear a topper, so I have to skip that step. I ordered my first wig last week, and I’m nervous to try it. Hopefully it doesn’t look TOO bad.

    Also, thank you for recommending the root pump plus. It actually made my hair feel semi-normal again.
    Hair loss is such a bummer, isn’t it?

  11. Hi Lauren,
    Not sure if I have just missed this somewhere in your blog, so forgive me if I have. The loss of hair on top, the loss of pigment and the cotton candy feel…. I thought you were talking about my hair 🙂 Have you been checked for or diagnosed with Androgenetic Alopecia? I was diagnosed with this in January, after having a scalp biopsy. The two things I am doing are Rogaine and HairMax. I do think it has helped. Again, thank you for all you do to help others.

    • I’ve never been formally diagnosed with anything, but I know that’s what I have. 🙂 I found that Rogaine helped a little, as well, and plan to start that again after I’m done nursing. What’s HairMax?

        • Ah, yes! I knew I had heard of it. One of my other readers was using it to and had some marginal success, I believe. I haven’t heard from her in awhile, though — maybe she will update!

  12. Hi Lauren!
    I just want to thank you for this blog. It makes me feel less alone with my problem. Im a 33 year old living in Sweden and I also have really thin hair which got even worse after my son was born in may. Now I decided to do something about it. I love your toppers, they look great on you. I just hope I can find something that works that well for me.

    • Nope, no different! The beauty of toppers is that your hair always looks great on the top, nice and full. The majority of even the post-partum shed seems to be occurring on the top of my head so the bottom of my hair is visually unaffected, as far as I can tell.

Leave a Comment