Your hair during pregnancy
Leading trichologist Iain Sallis explains how pregnancy hormones affect your hair – and how you can style it out on bad days
When you become pregnant your body starts producing increased amounts of oestrogen and progesterone - this spike peaks at around 70 days.
This leads to a longer 'growing' phase (anagen phase) so not as many hairs go into the 'dying' phase when they ought 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 hair that falls out less, which means the hair will 'bulk' up and feel thicker... great news!
Well. That's if you're one of the lucky ones. Your body may come under serious medical stress that will affect your hair, and so an unlucky few may have worse hair than when you started.
How to work it
Ensure your GP is monitoring your iron levels specifically, eat lots of protein, and generally stay healthy! If you take care of your body, it has a better chance of bouncing back from any problems, which may affect hair after childbirth.
What if it goes the other way?
If you are unlucky enough to suffer from post-partum shedding (hair shedding after childbirth), three months after the birth hair starts to shed excessively (it's three months because it takes that long for a dead hair to work its way out of the hair follicle and fall out). Thankfully this usually rectifies itself after about another three months.
Can you dye your hair when pregnant?
At present there is no scientific evidence to say that the chemicals used in hair dyes affect the fetus. That said, you might just want to play on the safe side and not use a hair dye directly on the scalp (it's only the skin that can transfer such chemicals, hair itself is a dead appendage and cannot react or transmit).
For the safety-conscious mums who still want fab hair, get highlights rather than a full head of colour.
To style or not to style?
Most patients I see who are suffering from post-partum hair loss tend to just put their hair up, because of two reasons:
1) Because they cannot do anything else with it
2) Because they are new mums and haven't got time for anything else!
Changing your style or going for the chop may be a mistake as it restricts what you can do with it.
Read more about Iain and trichology at Hair Medic.