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Natalie Clauss

Hormonal fluctuations after pregnancy

Both during and after pregnancy, enormous changes take place in the hormonal balance of a young mother. After birth, the body very slowly returns to its normal state, undergoing a series of changes due to fluctuations in hormone concentrations. Find out which hormones are at the center of this process and what changes can be expected.

Which hormones play a role after pregnancy?

Throughout the course of pregnancy, a mix of many hormones are partly responsible for preparing the body for pregnancy and birth.

After birth, the body goes through a gradual transition back to normal, where hormone levels slowly but surely settle back down.

Unfortunately, this does not mean that everything is the same after the birth. This transition usually takes place over several months and is often accompanied by some symptoms that are not pleasant for many new mothers. However, a better understanding of the processes that are taking place in the body at the moment can help to make this transitional period easier to cope with.

What is the impact of hormonal fluctuations after pregnancy?

The hormonal changes that many pregnant women notice after giving birth can be attributed in particular to the hormones estrogen, progesterone, prolactin and oxytocin. The rising and falling levels in a new mother's body entail a whole range of physical changes:

Skin problems and postpartum acne

Postpartum acne is not uncommon and has similar causes to pubertal acne. As the levels of the female sex hormones estrogen and progesterone decrease, the concentration of male androgens also increases. Among other things, these ensure increased sebum production within the skin, which leads to pimples, acne and blackheads. If postnatal acne cannot be combated with drugstore remedies, a dermatologist should be consulted under all circumstances, who can draw up a treatment plan with (prescription) medical active ingredients. Treatment approaches such as also allow pregnant women to avoid visits to the doctor's office, as the entire examination is carried out digitally.

Low mood and baby blues

The term baby blues is familiar to most. The low mood that sets in during the first days after birth has hormonal reasons, among others: Immediately after a birth, estrogen and progesterone levels in the body drop rapidly. Since estrogen stabilizes moods in the brain and counteracts depression, the lowered concentration becomes noticeable through mood slumps and severe dejection. Additional stress, such as complications during childbirth, intensifies this feeling.

As a rule, the symptoms subside on their own after a few days. Plenty of rest and an understanding environment can help new mothers recover quickly. However, if the symptoms do not subside even after several weeks, it may also be a case of so-called postpartum depression. Depending on the severity, professional help should be called in here. This can take the form of talk therapy, but family and partner therapies can also help new parents find their way in their new role.

Hair loss

About 3 months after giving birth, many mothers notice increased hair loss that lasts for about six months. Again, this is caused by changes in estrogen levels: the hormone prolongs the growth phases of the hair during pregnancy, which is why it appears about 10% thicker than usual. After birth, the growth cycle shortens, which means that all the "excess" hair also falls out again. The hair loss stops by itself and about 9 months after birth the hair is as dense as before pregnancy.


In addition to the breakdown of estrogen and progesterone, there is a simultaneous increase in the production of prolactin and oxytocin after birth, hormones that initiate the flow of milk and make breastfeeding possible. A high prolactin level also prevents ovulation and another pregnancy - but only if you breastfeed regularly. You should therefore also pay attention to safe contraception in the period after pregnancy.

When does hormone balance return to normal?

When exactly hormone levels return to normal varies from mother to mother. The physiological changes of the postpartum period usually take place in the 6th to 8th week after birth and serve especially to heal from the birth injuries. However, the conversion of the hormonal balance takes much longer: the body needs about 9 months until the hormone concentration in all aspects has returned to normal. In the meantime, a consultation with a gynecologist can also help you understand these changes and make an individual assessment of your own situation.

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