Side effects are to be expected during pregnancy, and one of these side effects is one that would make women scream “NO!!!”, which is the hair problem. Hormones are raging within women who are expecting, and that would lead to their hair growing thicker and then begin falling out, due to the increase of blood circulation and metabolism. This opens the question on if it is worth it to go for haircuts, hair treatments, or even colouring the hair while pregnant?
Reasons for Intense Hair Growth
Known as ‘mild hirsutism’, intense hair growth does not only mean on your head but instead, your entire body as well. It is more common for hair follicles to stay in its anagen phase during pregnancy, hence why hairs on head and body seem thicker than usual. The increase of anagen hairs is due to estrogen stimulation, prolonging the growth phase and shortens the telogen phase (resting).
According to medical doctors, the prolonging of the hair growth phase will occur within the second half of the pregnancy (3rd – 4th trimester), whereby it is enforced by androgen stimulation as well (stimulating hair growth in the pubic and underarm areas). By the 15th week of pregnancy, women would already notice the visible thickness of their hair, not just in terms of a grouping of hair, but also an increase in hair fibre diameter as it grows from the scalp. After delivery, she will go into the telogen phase, where hairs start to shed.
What Causes Hair to Fall?
Once she has delivered her child, her estrogen level will slowly return to normal and this will lead to hair in the telogen phase to fall (telogen effluvium), beginning roughly around one to five months post-delivery, and is most noticeable at the frontal and temporal areas of the head.
The occurrence of hair loss is only temporary and does not leave any permanent damage. Hair growth recovery will happen naturally and requires no treatments, usually up to the time that the baby has turned a year old. However, the regrowth of hair may not be as abundant as it were before, but neither would she appear to have balding spots.
It is important to note that ‘telogen effluvium’ basically means hair thinning, so if there are noticeable balding spots, she may be advised to consult a doctor, as there may be other issues like androgenetic alopecia, or possible autoimmune conditions.
How to Keep Your Hair Healthy..at least
While hair loss really can’t be avoided after giving birth, there are still ways and techniques to keeping your hair healthy, starting with not getting hair braids, cornrows, or anything tight, as it will add extra stress onto the hair and making it more likely to fall.
Consumption of vegetables and fruits will protect hair follicles as well, containing lots of flavonoids and antioxidants, so a healthy balanced diet plays a big role too.
When taking a shower, use a shampoo and conditioner that contain vitamin E, biotin and silica – all three that have hair-supporting nutrients. It also helps to massage in coconut or sesame oil into your scalp to reduce hair loss, at least twice to three times weekly.