What happens to your hair during pregnancy? We've all heard about the mystical 'amazing pregnancy hair' and the horror stories about it all falling out, but what actually happens? We found out...
We’ve all heard about the mystical ‘amazing pregnancy hair’ that’s so good it makes K Midz’ blow-dry look poor by comparison. But why is being pregnant the secret to epic hair and how can you keep it that way before, during and even after the blessed bundle of joy appears?
We quizzed trichologist and expert on how to be Becky with the good hair even in your third trimester, Iain Sallis…
The Good News
‘When you become pregnant your body starts producing increased amounts of Oestrogen and Progesterone (as well as many others) which spikes at around 70 days into the pregnancy. This increase has a very good effect on hair growth!
Scientific studies have shown that the increase in female hormones leads to a longer growing phase of the hair (anagen phase) and so not as many hairs go into the dying phase when they’re meant to. This is the main reason why women often feel as though their hair is thicker, fuller or even growing longer. A longer growing phase means longer hair and if hair falls out less it’ll soon ‘bulk’ up and feel thicker.’
The Bad News
‘Your body during pregnancy can become severely chronically ill with problems such as anaemia, diabetes or even temporary hypothyroid states! These cause the hair cycle to be stimulated in a negative way, forcing more hairs into a shedding phase than should naturally occur which is when some women suffer from excessive hair loss whilst pregnant.
Not to mention, your eating habits may change dramatically due to morning sickness etc. Then you may have other problems like preeclampsia, high blood pressure etc.
Basically, your body may come under serious medical stress that will influence your hair and so to an unlucky few they may have worse hair than when you started.’
What To Do… Before You’re Pregnant
‘Your general health is key to the quality of your hair before you’re pregnant. Ditch the booze and cigarettes and make sure you’re getting loads of Iron, Zinc, Vit B12 and Vit D before getting pregnant.
Ensure your GP is monitoring your iron levels specifically and eat lots of protein. Protein is the key to hair growth and repair and makes up the vast majority of what your hair is made from!
This sounds like basic common sense, but you’re essentially putting your body through the most stressful time it will ever have to go through.’
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What To Do… While You’re Pregnant
‘Diet wise, keep up the good work from before. If your hair starts to shed, go and see your GP. Your hair is a very sensitive barometer of health so can be the first sign of low iron levels or a thyroid issue.
Product wise, there’s no reason to change what you were using before but if you want to treat yourself with a pamper, go for it! De-stressing and enjoying yourself is key to a healthy pregnancy and in turn key for healthy hair!
I regularly get asked, ‘Can I dye my hair when I’m pregnant?’. So far there’s no scientific evidence to say the chemicals in hair dye affect your baby. That said, for the safety conscious mums that still want fabulous hair, avoid applying the dye directly on to your scalp. Chemicals can only transfer through skin, not hair, so applying dye to the lengths and ends is safer - you can still get those highlights!’
What To Do… After You’ve Given Birth
‘After childbirth (and everything that goes with it; loss of blood, the sheer physical and mental trauma of it all) comes a drop-in hormone levels which usually happens 3 days after labour.
All of this causes a ‘shock’ to the body which stimulates a percentage of growing ‘anagen’ hair to go into a ‘telogen’ shedding’state. This is called acute telogen effluvium or ‘post-partum’ hair loss and usually starts between 2 and 4 months after giving birth.
Thankfully this usually stops after 3 months. New mums might feel as though all of their hair will fall out, but it won’t!
Eat well with lots of protein and iron rich foods to replace what you might have lost in labour and try to get some sleep!
Supplements like Hairjelly are amazing and ensure you get all the nutrients your body needs for growing great hair.’