Hair might not be the first thing people think about when it comes to getting pregnant. In fact, it's probably the last thing on a mom's mind compared to how she'll need to change her habits, invest in prenatal vitamins, set up a nursery, buy maternity clothes, etc. For some women, though, hair becomes a major tell-tale sign that she's in her first or second trimester of pregnancy because of all the hormonal changes she is going through. It might seem weird and unusual but yes, hair goes through plenty of changes when a woman becomes pregnant.
This doesn't mean that a pregnant woman's hair will radically change, fall out, or become ultra thick. It also doesn't mean that any of these can't happen. Many women will notice minor changes, such as greasier than normal hair, frizz in places it wasn't there before, or even a slight change in color or texture. Some women might even notice hair growing in places that it previously wasn't...And we're going to explain why this all happens, and what moms-to-be can do to turn their pregnancy hair into a positive thing. Pregnancy hair doesn't have to be something that pregnant moms constantly throw into a ponytail to avoid dealing with and a mom knows what to expect, she can be better prepared for looking and, in turn, feeling her best through the next nine months. Pregnancy is a beautiful thing, and there's no reason hair shouldn't reflect that!
20 Estrogen Makes You Think Hair Is Fuller
Increased estrogen levels during pregnancy really help to make your hair feel volumized because of its hormonal effect on your body. Higher estrogen levels keep hair from growing at a normal rate which isn't a bad thing, but a result of this is less hair shedding. In turn, this makes women think they've grown more hair, but the real reason is that you just haven't lost any. After you give birth, you might notice an even more drastic change in your hair as it begins to fall out, but don't worry -- This is all part of the natural cycle of your hair, and it just means that your body is getting back into its routine and growing, shedding, and regrowing your hair.
19 You Will Get Hair In Unexpected Places
It's true, ladies. Pregnancy certainly does weird things to your body and while it can be awkward and somewhat embarrassing for women who were previously hairless, it's completely normal. You'll be amazed to find that these hormones that are now surging throughout your body are responsible for just about every physical change you're going through, unwanted hair is no different. Androgens are a potential cause of excess hair since their levels increase during pregnancy, but this is temporary. It might begin to grow on your stomach, face, or in other vulnerable places, and you might even see more of it in places you've already had hair. This is just a natural part of pregnancy and the good news? You're totally fine to shave and/or wax it.
18 Better Safe Than Sorry, Avoid All Harsh Hair Chemicals
One of the biggest questions we've heard during pregnancy, and possibly one that has the most myths surround it, is whether or not you can dye your hair. The studies surrounding this posed question are sketchy at best and while there has been nothing definitive to state that it's good or bad, it's best just to stay away from it. Many doctors will recommend waiting until after your first trimester, while some will recommend staying away from harsh chemicals altogether. What you can do to touch up is use semi- or demi-permanent hair products without pre-lightning -- They're temporary (usually six to eight weeks) but will do the trick until your nine months is up.
17 Diameter Makes A Difference
As opposed to growing more hair, if you feel that your hair is definitely, undoubtedly getting thicker, this might be due to a change in diameter rather than actual growth. It's likely that during your second trimester, you'll begin to have what are referred to as "blossoming" days. This is when your hair will probably feel and look at its best and the culprit is probably the change in your hair's natural width. Don't underestimate a minute change in your hair's overall girth; even the slightest of an increase can help your hair look healthy, full, and vivacious. Take advantage of it and let your hair be free on these days!
16 Keratin Hair-Straightening Is A No-No
There's a gray area here with keratin hair-straightening. A lot of treatments do contain formaldehyde, which is obviously something that you definitely want to avoid while you're pregnant. Because this is a harsh chemical that can lead to significant health issues, especially for an already-compromised body, it's just better to avoid them altogether. There are treatments that don't contain formaldehyde which you can ask your stylist about, but overall, doctors recommend waiting until a safe amount of time post-pregnancy to engage in serious hair treatments. This doesn't mean that you can't manually straighten your hair for the time being or try all-natural treatments, but be wary of others that seem too potent.
15 Be Wary Of Medicated Shampoos
If you're using a regular, off-the-shelf shampoo, in all likelihood, you're just fine. Those shampoos don't contain anything that would be detrimental to you or your baby's health, at least nothing that science has ever proven. It's always a good idea to use shampoos free of sulfates and parabens just for the general, overall health of your hair, but it's not necessary. On the other hand, some medicated shampoos -- like those for dandruff -- can have other side effects for pregnant. It's always best to check with your doctor before you continue using anything prescription while pregnant, and shampoos are no different.
14 Your Normal Routine Is Just Fine
It's a common misconception that you'll need to completely overthrow your previous hair routine when you become pregnant. There have been no studies that have done or shown any outstanding negative effects on pregnancy due to normal, everyday hair products that you'd find on the shelves. It's not something to worry about (but you can always ask your doctor if you are) and, in fact, continuing any hair care you've been doing prior may actually help your hair through its upcoming pregnancy stages. Your hair goes through a lot when you're pregnant, so things such as oils and extra conditioners are a great, natural way to keep your hair balanced and healthy.
13 Hair Loss Is Natural
Some women will notice that their hair will go completely dry and brittle during pregnancy. Don't panic; this is perfectly normal and, again, is just due to various hormone levels fluctuating in your body. When your hair gets too dry, breakage is a common occurrence which is why it may seem like your hair is just simply falling out. If you notice extra strands while you're showing, brushing, or combing your hair, there are some easy things you can do to combat it. For starters, don't wash your hair as often. This might seem gross and weird, but I promise you it's not -- You hair will produce natural oils to lubricate and protect your hair. If your hair is extra dry, washing it often can throw off your body's natural PH and make it even drier, which is when you notice it more. Hair oils will always naturally collect at your roots, so while you're in the shower, try gently massaging your hair from the roots down to the ends. Hot water can help to make oils more "spreadable", thus lubricating the dry parts of your hair. If this isn't an option for you, try finding some vitamin E, coconut oil, or shea oil to make your hair shiny and strong again.
12 Consider Alternative Hair Treatments
We've already touched on this with the hair-dying and no keratin treatment topics, but it's really best to just avoid any hair treatments during pregnancy. While many experts will say there's no significant risk or reason to worry, avoiding them is more for your own health due to fumes, potentially harmful ingredients you might not be aware of, etc. There are alternatives though, such as natural hair dyes. Always read or inquire about the ingredients used first, but these are a good option for hair dying. For highlights, try lemon juice and some (sunscreen-protected) sunbathing. Sun-in was made for this and though we know it's a serious 90s flashback, it works! For combatting frizziness and curly hair, a straightener or diffuser, some calming oils, and a little leave-in conditioner should do the trick. These are all things that are naturally healthier for your hair anyway!
11 Allergy-Related Test Patches Are So Important
We can't say it enough: Your body goes through some serious changes while you're pregnant. Not only physically, but internally as well. Test strips before dying your hair or going through with a doctor-approved hair treatment are so important because you might be more sensitive. Pregnancy can increase your sensitivity to a lot of things and you might notice that you're more susceptible to various smells during your first or second trimester. Hair chemicals can make this even worse. You may even be more sensitive physically, and your skin -- especially in already sensitive areas like your scalp -- can react differently while you're pregnant. Always do a test strip before covering your head.
10 Don't Skip The Gloves
Yes, okay -- This is common sense. Unfortunately, a lot of women won't don gloves when it comes to hair products, especially ones that seem safe or relatively natural. It's not a matter of what the product will do to bare skin (although this can quickly become a concern), it's about how your skin will react to the product. Things that you may not have been allergic to prior can have a different effect on your when you're pregnant, and it can easily catch you off-guard during a routine hair dying, treatment, etc. Even things like oils and conditioners might need to be diluted if they cause any type of sensitivity to your skin.
9 Your Hair Is Going Through Hormonal Changes Too
Those tiny little hormones called androgens are what's responsible for changing hair throughout your life. The presence of extra estrogen can have either a profound impact on them, or it might not alter your hair in the slightest. Regardless, androgens are there to basically regulate your hair so that it grows at a steady rate and at the right thickness. When this changes and androgens go on the fritz, that's when you might notice things like thinning or thickening of hair, hair loss or what seems like thicker, more voluminous hair. All of this will return to normal by three to six months after pregnancy, but be patient with your hair -- it's stunning no matter what.
8 Superstitions Don't Count: You Can Cut Your Hair
A lot of people are going to read this and say, "wait, what?" while others might just nod their heads and laugh because they've heard the old wive's tale. It was once said that while you're pregnant, you can't cut your hair. One reason was that of crazy superstition and that it would just be bad. Another stemmed from the notion that your hair is what keeps your head warm and toasty in cold weather. This isn't completely inaccurate, as people with a full head of hair can personally attest to. However, you can absolutely cut your hair and guess what -- If you decide to buzz it all off, get an undercut, go for that adorable pixie, we have beanies and hats for a reason...And to be honest? They are super cute.
7 Don't Be Surprised By Frizz
Your hair can become dry, brittle, and break during pregnancy. We're always hoping that if our hair changes, it will change for the better and look like something out of a Loreal commercial. Sometimes it doesn't always happen that way, though. If your hair already has a tenacity for frizziness then you might already be one step ahead as far as the frizz control team goes. If you've never experienced this before, there's good news: It's manageable! There's no better time than now to invest in some really good hair oils and conditioners. Treating your hair naturally at home can be a great way to practice self-care, especially if you throw in a bath and a baby-approved face mask. Serums can be life-savers when it comes to combatting the frightening frizz that can be unruly and annoying, and unless you want to embrace it like Merida from Brave, there are plenty of all-natural anti-frizz serums out there that can be used before and after a quick heat-straightening.
6 You Can Tweeze and Wax
Crazy chemicals are a no-no as well as any other higher-end treatments that eradicate unwanted hair, but you can use more primitive ways of removing it. Tweezing, waxing, and shaving are all perfectly fine -- and safe -- ways of removing hair. There's nothing like a long witch hair on the bottom of your chin to ruin your day (especially if you have kids or a partner who thinks they're funny who try to pull it)...If you don't like the pain of tweezing at home, you can go to the salon and have them wax virtually everything for you and you'll be solid and hairless for a few weeks at least.
5 Hairy Stomach, Excuse Me?
This is in reference to the "why is hair growing in funny places" point, because yes, this is definitely a natural part of pregnancy. Chances are if your partner has been along for the ride thus far, they'll be amused and think your baby stomach hairs are adorable. But, of course, you can always shave before the bump comes along or just embrace it! Babies are a natural part of life and so is everything that comes with them, random little hairs and happy trail included. Those androgens man, they always seem to send hair growth to the wrong places.
4 Growth And Gender: No Relation
Another wive's tale for the books, eh? Contrary to popular belief, there really is no connection between the rate at which your hair grows or where it grows, and whether you're having a boy or a girl. There's just no way to tell for sure and it's something that's not yet been proven 100%. The only way to tell the gender of your child is through your doctor and while this is something that's fun to guess at, it's just not accurate. A full head of hair also can't be judged by how much hair you are currently growing, either -- Even if you do wish you could get rid of some of it and give it to your soon-to-be child.
3 Don't Fear The Oil Slick
Yes! Your hair might be "greasier" than usual. This is actually a great and wonderful thing. While it may make you feel like you've run your head through a plate of fries, scalp oil is just a natural part of your body maintaining your hair's PH balance. The best thing you can do is let it do its thing and not overwash -- This can cause your hair to dry out and become brittle and potentially cause breakage. Alternatively, this can also increase oil production as your body struggles to keep up with the dryness. Take a hot shower and massage oils to the ends of your hair, or invest in some stellar dry shampoo. They make all-natural dry shampoo formulas, or you can even make your own! A little bit of cornstarch, a ta bit of baking soda, and a great scented oil (such as lavender or coconut oil) can soak up oil quickly and naturally to expand your no-wash days. Add some cocoa for a naturally darker pigment, and no one will be able to tell the difference -- Plus, you'll smell like a chocolate coconut cake which is pure bliss.
2 First Trimester Bad Hair Days
Don't be surprised if your hair is completely erratic in behavior and acts like an angsty teenager. During the first trimester of pregnancy, your body is preparing you for the childbirth ahead. Hormones are raging which leads to the unusually funny tastebuds, mood swings, and, of course, physical changes. In general, you won't see amazing hair changes until the second trimester. Your first is usually full of not feeling well and just getting used to pregnancy. This is something that will be easier to accept once you know it's coming and that some days you might just not love your hair, and that's okay. This phase won't last forever and anyway, that's way ponytails and braids are for, right?
1 How To Embrace Your Hair, No Matter The Change
Many women forget that they need to take care of themselves as well as their growing baby throughout their pregnancy. It's a beautiful time for soon-to-be moms, and the more relaxed and happy you are, the better your pregnancy will go. When you find out you're pregnant, that's a great time to start investing in good hair care products for the full range of things you might end up with -- Oily hair, dry hair, frizzy hair, thinning hair, etc. It doesn't need to daunting or expensive since there are tons of products out there now that are super affordable and found in drugstores. You can even bump it up a notch and invest in easy-to-use hair extensions that come in fun colors or take the chance to use that funky-colored semi-permanent hair dye you've always wanted if you notice your hair start to change in color. Embrace it for everything it is, so that someday you can look back on your pregnancy photos and tell your son or daughter, "look at how cool mommy was at nine months pregnant with you!"