Hair and Pregnancy

Pregnant woman with long hair
Photo: Melnikof/Shutterstock
Coping with Hormonal Hair
Pregnancy changes people's lives in so many ways. It brings people together, it turns couples into families, and in some cases, it saves lives. Pregnancy also changes a woman's body in many ways. Don't forget to look past the obvious belly bulge and bulges in other areas. Pregnancy also changes one's skin and joints and may make or break their crowning glory...their hair.
The hormones associated with pregnancy may cause strange things to happen to your formerly normal body. Even before that second line or positive sign appears on the pregnancy test, your body is changing.
It takes a large influx of hormones from the moment the sperm enters the egg for that fertilized egg to survive its journey to the uterus. Once there, it implants itself into the thick, cushioned lining. If the proper hormones are not present, the formerly protective lining will be excreted from the body, along with the fertilized egg.
Anyone who has been pregnant and experienced morning sickness knows that there is a definite and unmistakable feeling of early pregnancy. The extreme fatigue, nausea and vomiting, sensitivity to temperatures and smells, and breakouts are all due to the increase in certain hormones.
People familiar with pregnancy also know about those wonderful prenatal vitamins. Before prenatals became so commonplace, there was an increase in birth defects due to dietary deficiencies. Little did the doctors know that these vitamins would not only improve the health of newborns but also improve the health of the mothers' hair and nails.
Many women experience increased hair and nail growth as well as thicker and shinier hair. However, some women experience the opposite. Dryness, breakage and hair loss are common complaints from pregnant women. The good news is, you don't have to wait for the birth of that bundle of joy to get your "normal" hair back.
To combat dryness, be sure to use a good conditioner and deep condition more often. To prevent breakage, there isn't a lot that you can do, but you can use styling products to hide the evidence. Hair generally breaks off about an inch or two from the root and can be very noticeable at the part.
Pregnant woman who is brushing her hair
Photo: Pixelshot/Canva
The last major complaint is hair loss. This doesn't happen exactly when you are pregnant, but rather after. With my first child, my already thick hair got even thicker and grew incredibly quickly. About three months after I gave birth, I noticed that my baby's hair was starting to fall out all over her head, not just in the cradle cap area. Then I noticed that not only was her hair falling out, but mine was too, at a rate that would make a grown man cry.
All of that extra hair that grew during pregnancy was now leaving, it felt as though my hair was thinner than before only because I remembered the extra thick version. Around the time that my daughter's hair was growing in nicely, my hair had also decided to cooperate. So if this happens to you, don't worry; it will eventually sort itself out. And just because this happens once does not mean that all pregnancies will result in baldness. Each bundle is different.
Just as all pregnancies are different, so are all opinions surrounding perming and coloring hair during pregnancy. There is no direct evidence that these treatments cause any harm to a developing fetus; however, many physicians suggest not doing these during the first trimester. After those initial three months, be sure to follow your physician's orders. Remember that it is only nine months if the doctor says no. It is vanity to you, but life to your fetus.
Don't let those pregnancy hormones make your hair go crazy while they are making your life crazy. There may not be much you can do about the tears that spring up at facial tissue commercials or country songs, but there is a lot you can do about changes in your hair. Don't panic if it changes. Take a moment to consider what needs to be done to cope with the situation until your hormones are back to normal. Your hair will grow back, but don't expect those tears to go away anytime soon!
See also:
More Hair Care Advice
Maternity hairstyles