Pregnancy Hair: Loss, Growth, Texture, and Care

Wondering why your hair feels and behaves differently now that you’re pregnant? Hormonal fluctuations are are causing the changes in your ‘pregnancy hair’. But what causes these changes and how do you address them to help keep your hair healthy and strong in this special time?   Let’s take a look.

In a Nutshell

  • Hormonal changes during pregnancy can lead to diverse changes in hair texture and growth, often resulting in fuller, thicker, and shinier hair with less shedding.
  • Proper hair care during pregnancy involves using gentle styling methods, natural ingredient-based hair products, and avoiding harsh chemicals to ensure safety for both mother and baby.
  • Postpartum hair loss is a common but temporary condition, with most women’s hair returning to its pre-pregnancy state within a year after delivery.

Why Your Hair Feels Different

Illustration of a woman with different hair textures

There are so many changes during pregnancy, and your hair is no exception. It might feel like overnight, your once predictable hair has taken on a life of it’s own and you’re not sure what to do with it.  While some moms-to-be revel in thicker, shinier hair, others might struggle with drier, frizzier strands.

The Effect of Hormones on Your Hair: Hormonal Truths

Those pregnancy hormones are working overtime, and your hair is basking in the glow. Thanks to hormonal changes, elevated estrogen levels keep your hair luxuriously locked in the growth phase, which means:

  • Less shedding
  • A more voluptuous head of hair
  • Hair that looks fuller
  • Hair that shines with a lustrous sheen
  • Hair that feels more moisturized than before

However, these skin and hair changes in texture can vary from person to person, adding a unique touch to each pregnancy hair journey, and these skin changes, including stretch marks, are no exception.

From Lush to Less: Postpartum Hair Realities

But what happens when the hormonal symphony winds down due to hormonal imbalance? Postpartum hair loss is a common encore, as estrogen levels dip back to their pre-pregnancy state. This shedding typically starts around three months after delivery, when your hair decides it’s time to make up for lost time and begins to experience hair falls more than usual.

Yet, as daunting as it may seem, this phase is as temporary as pregnancy itself, with most women seeing their hair growth return to its original glory within a year after women lose hair during pregnancy.

Navigating Hair Care During Pregnancy

a pregnant woman brushing her hair after using hair care products

During this time of transformation, nurturing your hair requires a gentle touch and a sprinkle of know-how. Here are some tips to keep your hair healthy and beautiful, including hair treatments:

  • Look for hairstyles that are kind to your scalp, avoiding those that tug and pull.
  • Regular trims will keep split ends at bay.
  • Get involved with stress-reducing activities like leisurely walks or relaxing baths to promote your hair’s well-being.

And while the occasional use of hair products is unlikely to affect your little one, it’s worth exploring what styles and substances to avoid for optimal hair health during pregnancy.

Safe Styling: What’s In and What’s Out

When it comes to styling your hair during pregnancy, think simplicity and safety. Avoid professional hair removal methods that involve intense chemicals until after your baby arrives. Instead, lean towards natural ingredient-based products and DIY remedies like warm oil scalp massages to strengthen your hair at its roots.

And for those special occasions, consider temporary dyes that are gentler on your locks and less risky for your baby.

Choosing the Right Hair Care Products

Selecting hair care products during pregnancy is much like choosing food for your growing baby: you want the best, safest ingredients. Stick to gentle shampoos and conditioners, steering clear of harsh chemicals like retinol and salicylic acid. While there’s a minimal risk of chemicals affecting your baby unless you have damaged skin on your scalp, it’s always better to err on the side of caution.

Look for products that are as beneficial for you as they are harmless for your little one, and remember to wear gloves when necessary.

To Dye or Not to Dye: Using Hair Color While Expecting

A woman apply hair dye to her hair

The dilemma of whether to dye your hair while expecting is as common as morning sickness. With some hair dyes housing ingredients that could disrupt hormonal balance or raise health concerns, it’s understandable to hesitate. The general consensus? It’s best to hold off on the hair dye until after the first trimester, especially when it comes to treatments that involve direct scalp contact.

If you’re longing for a color change, highlighting techniques like balayage might be your safest bet, as they keep the dye away from your scalp.

Natural Alternatives for Hair Colour

For those looking to switch up their hair color without the worry, nature has got your back. Plant-based hair dyes are the gentle warriors of color treatment, offering to coat your hair without sneaking into your bloodstream or reaching your developing baby. Brands like Rodolphe&Co and Greenleaf Botanique take the lead with their certified organic formulas, ensuring you can brighten your locks without exposing yourself or your baby to harsh chemicals.

Managing Increased Body Hair

Illustration of a pregnant woman with changes in body hair

It’s not just the hair on your head that receives a pregnancy upgrade; your body joins in on the fun too. Many women notice a soft downy layer, known as hirsutism, making an appearance on their stomachs and other areas where hair was previously an afterthought. While this might seem alarming, it’s a perfectly normal part of the pregnancy package and tends to make a quiet exit within six months postpartum.

Hair Removal Techniques for Pregnant Women

When it comes to removing unwanted body hair during pregnancy, the mantra is ‘safety first’. Traditional methods like tweezing, plucking, shaving, and waxing are your go-to options, as they don’t pose risks to you or your baby. Although depilatory creams are generally safe when used correctly, always read the label and, if in doubt, consult your doctor.

On the other hand, treatments like bleaching and laser hair removal are best shelved until after your bundle of joy has arrived, due to the lack of comprehensive safety data.

The Lowdown on Nail Growth in Pregnancy

Drawing of a woman caring for her nails during pregnancy

Just like the hair on your head, your nails might also join the pregnancy rollercoaster. Some women notice their nails growing faster, while others see no change at all. The experience is highly individual, with some reporting increased brittleness or thickness.

But don’t fret if your nails seem different; these variations are usually just a pit stop on the way back to normalcy after childbirth, even if you’ve been using nail polish.

Keeping Your Nails Strong and Healthy

To keep your nails in tip-top shape during pregnancy, a little pampering goes a long way. Frequent moisturizing, protecting your nails from harsh chemicals by wearing gloves, and keeping them trimmed can all contribute to their strength and health. And while prenatal vitamins are doing wonders for your baby, ingredients like biotin may also give your nails the boost they need to stay strong.

Circling Back Around

Pregnancy brings incredible changes to your body, including your hair and nails. We’ve shared how hormones can make your hair grow faster and thicker, how to safely style and dye your hair, and how body hair usually returns to normal after your baby arrives.

Take care of yourself gently during this time, and remember that most of these changes are just temporary. Enjoy this special time as you bring new life into the world.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I still color my hair while pregnant?

Yes, you can still color your hair while pregnant, but it’s best to wait until after your first trimester. Consider using techniques like highlights or plant-based dyes for a safer option.

Will the increased body hair during pregnancy be permanent?

Don’t worry, the increased body hair during pregnancy is not permanent and usually goes away within six months after giving birth.

What hair removal methods are safe during pregnancy?

During pregnancy, it’s best to stick to safe hair removal methods like tweezing, plucking, shaving, and waxing. Avoid treatments such as bleaching and laser hair removal until after giving birth.

Are there any hair care products I should avoid while pregnant?

Avoid hair care products containing harsh chemicals like retinol and salicylic acid. Instead, opt for gentle, natural ingredient-based shampoos and conditioners for a safer hair care routine during pregnancy.

How can I maintain strong and healthy nails during pregnancy?

To maintain strong and healthy nails during pregnancy, moisturize your nails, wear gloves when using cleaning products, and ensure your diet includes prenatal vitamins with biotin to strengthen your nails. Healthy nails are an achievable goal during pregnancy.

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