What happens to your hair during pregnancy

What happens to your hair during pregnancy

Leading trichologist Iain Sallis explains how pregnancy hormones can affect your hair


When you become pregnant your body starts to produce increased amounts of oestrogen and progesterone, which leads to a longer 'growing' phase so not as many hairs go into the 'dying' phase when they ought to. This is why women often feel as though their hair is thicker 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. However, an unlucky few may find that their bodies come under medical stress, and so may have worse hair than when they started.

Look after your health

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 that may affect hair after childbirth.

Can I dye my hair when I'm pregnant?

At present there is no scientific evidence to say that the chemicals used in hair dyes affect the foetus. 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). If you’re unsure then get highlights rather than a full head of colour.

If your hair is falling out after the birth

Postpartum hair shedding is a natural process. It can start around three months after the birth as hormones revert to normal (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.

Should I change my hairstyle if I get postpartum hair loss?

Most patients I see who are suffering from postpartum hair loss tend to just put their hair up, because either they can’t do anything else with it or 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.


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