Whether it’s thicker, thinner, falling out or changing texture, your hair can get a little weird during pregnancy. Hormonal changes can turn straight hair curly or curly hair straight.
These hormones affect the normal growth cycle of your hair. When you aren’t pregnant, hair is either in a resting phase or a growing phase. At any given time, about 90 percent of your hair is growing, while about 10 percent tends to rest. Once the hair is finished with the resting phase, it gradually falls out, and the growth cycle begins again. During pregnancy, your hair stays in the resting phase longer than normal, which makes hair seem thicker and fuller.
Some women may see hair growth on other parts of the body while they’re pregnant—the chin, upper lip, cheeks, arms or legs may all see new hair growth. Again, pregnancy hormones and new cortisone are to blame.
Post-Pregnancy, Less Hair?
The good news is that most women’s hair returns to normal within six months postpartum, including any hair growth in new areas of the body. However, the hair that has not fallen out at the end of the resting phase may all fall out at one time. It can be scary to feel like your hair is falling out, but the hair thinning that occurs post-pregnancy is usually not enough to cause bald spots or indicate permanent hair loss.
If you are losing quarter-size patches of hair or see prolonged hair loss, talk with your physician. You may have a vitamin deficiency or a medical condition unrelated to your pregnancy.
Care for the Hair
If pregnancy hormones are causing stress on your hair, there are several ways you can make sure you have a healthy mane before, during and after pregnancy:
- Eat well. Fruits and veggies are good for your body and your hair. The better your overall health, the more hair growth will be encouraged.
- Be gentle. Don’t use brushes or fine-toothed combs on wet or damp hair. Stick to a wide-toothed comb, and avoid unnecessary pulling on any tangles. To prevent breakage, avoid tight braids, coiled rollers and other styles that physically stress the hair.
- Keep cool. Blow dryers, hot rollers and straighteners can be your best friend, but they can also seriously damage your hair. Use the cool setting on your blow dryer or explore heat-free options for hair styling to keep your locks shiny and healthy.