Hair Loss During Pregnancy

Postpartum hair loss is a problem affecting almost every woman who has given birth to a child. But if trusting the American Pregnancy Association, 40 – 50% of expecting mothers deal with hair thinning and loss. The reasons for this condition can be numerous, and each requires a different treatment approach. In the article, we’ll try to cover a maximum of those to give you a better understanding of the issue and ways to cope with it.

What Causes Hair Loss during Pregnancy?

One of the biggest surprises for mothers-to-be is their hair becoming thicker and healthier. And this is true for a lot of expecting mothers. Such a change in hair quality is related to the increased production of estrogen, a hormone that “wakes up” the resting hairs, thus making your hairstyle look as shiny and thick as ever.

Outside pregnancy, an average woman loses 50 – 100 hairs daily, and it’s normal. If your hair loss condition stays within these limits, there’s nothing to worry about. But if you notice your hair loss has become more intense, it’s time to talk to your doctor and start looking for the cause of the issue.


Nutritional deficiencies are among the most common causes of hair loss during pregnancy. The nutrients that may trigger hair loss in pregnant individuals include:

  • Zinc deficiency is another common cause of shedding hair. This mineral is vital for skin health and cell growth, influencing your hair quality.
  • Vitamin B12 is responsible for a healthy oxygen supply to the hair follicles. Its shortage immediately reflects on the quality of your hair, as new hairs cannot grow. Eventually, your locks will get thinner.
  • Fatty acids (Omega-3 and Omega-6) shortage can also cause hair thinning and loss.

Hormonal Changes

The peculiarity of hair growth is that it goes through the growth and rest (telogen) phases. When a woman gets pregnant, her body undergoes a real revolution of hormones, which is stressful for the entire female organism.

Stress received from hormonal boosts can trigger hair shedding. But due to the growth-rest cycles, a woman may not notice hair loss during pregnancy until the second trimester or even later.

Thinning of the hair during pregnancy may be caused not only by hormonal imbalance but also by a rapid drop in estrogen levels, which happens for the following reasons:

  • timely delivery of the baby;
  • miscarriage;
  • abortion;
  • stillbirth.

Thyroid Disease

A thyroid disorder, like hypothyroidism, will reflect on the quality of your hair. The hair loss will affect the entire scalp, making your locks look thinner and weaker than usual. When the problem is your thyroid gland, along with the hair fallout, you’ll also experience a range of other symptoms, including:

  • increased tiredness;
  • constipation;
  • weight gain;
  • brittle nails, and others.

These symptoms are common in pregnant women, so diagnosing hypothyroidism in expecting mothers may be tricky.

If you used to have thyroid issues before pregnancy or have been taking any meds for thyroid health, it’s worth talking to your doctor about adjusting your medicine doses to your increased demand.

Iron Deficiency

Iron plays an essential role in oxygen transport throughout our bodies. During pregnancy, the risk of developing iron deficiency is huge. Starting at the incidence rate of 12% in the first trimester, it grows to 65% by the final weeks of pregnancy.

A lack of this vital nutrient provokes iron deficiency anemia and significant hair loss. It appears because of poor oxygen supply to the hair follicles. Other symptoms you may experience include:

  • headache;
  • weakness;
  • tiredness;
  • shortness of breath.


Certain chronic health conditions may contribute to shedding hair in pregnant women. You may notice your hair getting thinner due to rheumatoid arthritis and polycystic ovarian syndrome. Both diseases affect the production of estrogen, which plays an essential role in hair growth. Low levels of this hormone promote poor hair growth, intense fallout, and thinning.

Other Causes

Based on scientific studies, around 12% of women suffer from androgenic alopecia. This medical condition involves thinning hair in the crown region and the frontal scalp. Female androgenic alopecia is very disturbing for the female psychological state. Luckily, it can be treated with specific medicines. However, during gestation, such drugs are not advised as they may be dangerous for the developing fetus.

Stress is another common reason for receding hairline during pregnancy. The condition it may provoke is called telogen effluvium. It’s when a lot of your hair follicles go into the telogen (resting) phase and stop growing.

Treatment for Hair Loss during Pregnancy

The medicinal hair loss treatments are contraindicated during pregnancy, as they can be toxic for the baby. Still, the psychological comfort of the mother-to-be is crucial, and receding hair doesn’t add to their self-confidence or self-esteem. Therefore, delaying treatment to postpartum is not a good idea. Instead, you can talk to your GP or dermatologist about treatment options while pregnant.

Shampoos and Conditioners

Hair loss Shampoos and Conditioners

Topical treatments for hair loss during pregnancy are effective and have zero impact on the fetus. Finding the best shampoo for hair loss during pregnancy may take time because many options promise to cut the problem and restore hair thickness. Still, not all of them may be effective in your particular case. Besides, it may take weeks to see any improvements. Anyway, changing your shampoo and hair conditioner is worth a try.

Special Hair Masks

Shedding hair might be caused by scalp dryness and a lack of vitamins and minerals reaching hair follicles. Some masks can help you enrich the hair with vitamins and minerals essential for its fast growth and glossiness.

Some of the most effective and nourishing hair masks can be homemade, so they are available to every expecting mother regardless of her financial situation. The best masks for thinning hair include:

  • egg mask, which is rich in vitamin B and protein;
  • banana mask nourishes your hair with natural oils, vitamins, and antioxidants;
  • strawberry mask contains antioxidants that prevent hair loss by protecting it from the impact of free radicals.

Nutritional Supplements

Taking prenatal vitamin complexes can also be helpful in your battle with hair loss. Packed with nutritional supplements, they can supply your hair with the entire spectrum of vitamins and minerals it needs for healthy growth, shininess, and thickness.

Stress Management

Severe stress is a common cause of hair loss. The splash of stress hormones in your body makes your hair follicles go into the resting phase of their life cycle, thus making your hair thinner. Luckily, this condition is temporary and doesn’t cause permanent hair loss. By taking control of your stress levels, you can restore not only your mental well-being but also your hair quality.

Scalp Massage

Poor blood supply to the hair follicles is a typical cause of hair shedding. Scalp massage can be an effective means of enhancing the blood flow in the scalp, thus providing your hair with more nutritional supplements and helping its growth.

Prevention of Hair Loss during Pregnancy

Prevention is always easier and better than treatment. So catch some tips on how to preserve your hair thickness during pregnancy.

Safe hair Styles

Some popular hairstyles may pull at your hair too intensely, thus making you lose more hair than usual. Besides, tight hairstyles may interfere with the supply of blood to the hair follicles, destroying your hair.

Tight buns, braids, and ponytails should be left for better times. Give your hair the freedom it needs. Refuse from hairstyles that require twisting, rubbing, or pulling your hair. They’ll only make the situation worse.

Healthy Diet

hair loss diet

A lack of nutrients significantly influences your hair quality. Enrich your diet with veggies, fruits, slow carbs, protein, and good fats. Ensure you receive as many vitamins and minerals from your meals as possible. Eat diversely, eat healthily, and it won’t take long to see the result.

Take Care of Your Hair Follicles

Hair follicles are part of your body as your arms, legs, or liver, so they require your care to stay healthy. Here’s what you can do to keep them in good condition:

  • wear sunscreen to protect them from UV rays;
  • moisturize your scalp skin;
  • head massage works well for proper blood supply to the follicles;
  • minimize stress.


Pregnancy brings along a lot of challenges, and thinning hair is one of them. Though unpleasant, this condition is temporary, and you will restore your pre-pregnancy hair thickness within 6 months to a year after delivering a baby. So even if none of the treatment and prevention methods work for you, don’t panic. Time is the best healer.


Is Hair loss Normal During Pregnancy?

Yes. In about 50% of pregnancies, women do experience hair loss.

How Hair Change During Pregnancy?

Due to the rise in estrogen levels, your hair quality may improve significantly, becoming thicker and shinier. The other scenario is your hair will become thinner and lose its shiny look.

When Do You Start to Lose Hair during Pregnancy?

Some women may start losing hair during their second trimester. Hair loss during pregnancy third trimester is also common, though.

Does Pregnancy Hair Loss Grow Back?

Yes. Pregnancy hair loss is temporary. Your hair follicles will “wake up” soon after delivery, so the hair will restore its quality within a year maximum.