Your body goes through so many changes when you are expecting a baby. Most of the side effects are well-known and discussed. But, few, if any, people tell you about the effects it has on your hair and your normal hair-coloring routine. Yes, you read that right; it can cause some crazy changes to your hair! As a hairstylist with nine years of experience, I have seen it all. The pros, the cons, and the “oh, craps”! Keep reading to educate yourself on pregnancy hair loss and learn some important tips to avoid postpartum hair thinning!
Does Your Hair Get Thicker or Thinner When Pregnant?
Not only does your body go through so many changes, but your hair does also. Some women feel as if their hair is thicker and healthier during their pregnancy. Some women feel like their hair is thinning, a different texture, and dull during their pregnancy. It really all depends on the individual.
Most of the time, from my experience, clients’ hair will be healthy, long and thick during the pregnancy. Since there is an overload of hormones, these hormones will actually prevent your hair to fall out as it would normally. Typically, you will lose about 100 strands a day, but when you’re pregnant, those strands won’t fall out as they usually would, resulting in thicker hair. After your baby is born, your hair will start to change, again. Typically, after they stop breastfeeding, if they chose to do so, or roughly six months postpartum, your hair will start to fall and thin out. They call it post-pregnancy hair loss. Sometimes this happens slowly and painlessly, and sometimes this happens in clumps, or you lose most of your hair around the hairline! Don’t stress, though – your hair should be back to normal around a year after the baby is born. This isn’t forever! Whewww!
7 Hair Care Tips for Pregnant Women
Morning sickness, gas, bloating, constipation, fatigue, frequent urination … you name it! Pregnancy can be a stressful period for your hair. To help with the transition period, there are a few things you can do to improve the situation for your hair:
- Keep taking your prenatals, and make sure you’re eating a balanced diet. Nutrition has a lot to do with hair health.
- Make sure you are using a good shampoo and conditioner, salon-quality preferably, and try keeping the washing to a minimum. Color WoW is my go-to shampoo and conditioner because it doesn’t have all the extra ingredients that build up on your hair and scalp.
- Try to keep the hot tools to a minimum. It won’t hurt to give your hair a break! If you are going to wash your hair before bed, make sure you do blow dry it out, though. Hair is more susceptible to breakage when it is wet, so rolling around when you are asleep won’t do it any good.
- Avoid super-tight hairstyles like braids, cornrows or ponytails. They can pull your hair activating the hair falling-out process.
- Control your stress, since it can be very destructive for your body during pregnancy and after delivering. Stress triggers pregnancy hair loss and makes your hair quality worse. You can try different coping mechanisms to deal with stress (e.g., fun hobbies, breathing work, meditation, light yoga, therapy sessions, etc.).
- Massaging your scalp (with or without oil) activates hair growth and prevent hair from falling out.
- If, for some reason, the pregnancy hair loss is extremely excessive, more than typical, it doesn’t hurt to discuss it with your doctor. There are conditions that can develop postpartum, and it is best to rule those out, too.
Is It Safe to Color Your Hair During Pregnancy?
Another important thing you should know about is how pregnancy can also affect your hair color. I have had many clients who have had issues with getting their hair colored, at each appointment, but the color does not “take” the same way it did pre-pregnancy. In some pregnant women, the (previous) hair color won’t come out enough. If you have blonde hair and usually get highlights, the lightener used is not able to remove more than the orange or yellow phase, even though the color formula/mix is the same as it was pre-pregnancy. Sometimes your grays won’t cover completely the first time; it’s frustrating, right? There have been a few times when the color will “take” lighter or darker than normal, and the toner will be dull and extra ashy, even though we used gold. The list goes on and on.
Although some doctors do not recommend getting your hair colored during pregnancy, it is typically pretty safe. Most research indicates that the chemicals found in color are not highly toxic. I would say 98% of my clients continue to color their hair during pregnancy. If you are concerned about absorbing too many chemicals, you can wait until after your first trimester to get a little extra reassurance. So little is absorbed by the skin, especially if you are not doing an all-over color directly on your scalp.
After all is said and done, your hair will be OK. I promise! With everything going on in your body as a whole, your pregnancy hair loss will probably be the least of your worries. Being aware of the changes in your hair should help you handle them with ease. For more hair information and inspiration, follow me on Instagram at @TheColoristChronicles. Feel free to DM me with any of your hair-related questions! I’d love to chat with you!