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Pregnancy & Postpartum Hair Changes: What to Expect and What you Can Do

For many women, pregnancy is a beautiful, life-altering time with a lot of learning along the way. We experience an array of emotions through the different phases, learning about ourselves and our abilities, transitioning to parenthood and coping with continuous changes as we prepare for the arrival of our baby. Some are better equipped with knowledge on what to expect than others, with friends or family members to help guide them. Others rely heavily on their doctors, pregnancy-tracking apps, and a quick google search to tell us what to expect and what is “normal”. 


Pregnancy comes with dozens of symptoms, some more well-known than others. But did you know that pregnancy can have drastic effects on your hair? In this article, we’ll dive into what changes to expect to your hair while pregnant, what causes them, and what you can do about them. 


What to expect during pregnancy


Increased Hair Volume

The normal hair growth cycle involves phases of growth, transition, and resting. Hormonal changes during pregnancy can extend the growth phase, leading to a decrease in the usual amount of hair shedding. This means that you’re holding on to strands you’d otherwise have shed for longer amounts of time, resulting in thicker hair throughout pregnancy!


Faster Hair Growth

Another side effect of hormone changes during pregnancy is the faster rate of hair growth. In addition to this, increased blood circulation and nutrients from prenatal vitamins play a part in making hair grow faster as well.


Texture Changes

Some moms-to-be may notice changes in the texture of their hair. For example, straight hair may become wavier, or curly hair might become straighter. Hair can also become more limp, dry, or brittle during this time. These changes are typically temporary and are - you guessed it - often related to hormonal fluctuations.


Changes in oil production

Like so many other things on overdrive in your body during pregnancy, oil production can be one of them. While some women experience higher sebum production during pregnancy, resulting in oily hair, others have the opposite effect that results in dryer scalps prone to itchiness. 


Hair changes after the baby arrives


After childbirth, estrogen levels, which were high during pregnancy, begin to decline at a rapid rate. This hormonal shift can trigger the release of hair that was retained during pregnancy, resulting in high rates of shredding. This shedding can happen all over or more noticeably in specific areas around your face and crown. Fortunately - this hair loss is temporary! Usually, hair shedding peaks by about four months postpartum, with women noticing higher volumes of hair in their brush, coming out in the shower, or just more strands clinging to clothes and items around the house. 



Some women may also continue to experience changes in hair texture postpartum. It's not uncommon for the hair to return to its pre-pregnancy state, but in some cases, the texture changes may persist for some time longer.


Managing Hair Changes During Pregnancy and Postpartum

With so much to already think about and plan for, the last thing you want to do during pregnancy and postpartum is worry about your hair! Now that you understand how hair changes during pregnancy and postpartum, we’ve pulled together a list of approaches that will help you manage your changing locks during this incredibly special time. 


Nourish and protect your locks

Use mild, sulfate-free shampoos and conditioners to keep the scalp and hair clean without stripping natural oils. Avoid over-washing your hair, and use leave-in products that moisturize and protect your hair! Also, be gentle when brushing - especially when wet - to avoid breakage or unnecessary damage. 


Prioritize scalp health

If you’re experiencing an oilier or more dry scalp, you’re not alone; these changes are common and can often lead to more frequent washing, an itchy head and/or flakiness. If your scalp is more oily, avoid over-washing but when you do, opt for a clarifying shampoo targeting oil buildup. Dry shampoo can also neutralize some of the weight on your hair from oil, allowing you to go longer between washes. For those struggling from dry and itchy scalps, consider switching up shampoos to one that targets these issues, and avoid things like dry shampoo or drying products too close to the root. Scalp treatments can also offer incredible relief to these issues while helping to balance the oil production of your scalp!


Avoid Heat and Chemicals

As mentioned above, hair changes during pregnancy and postpartum can affect texture, and also result in more dry and brittle hair, prone to breakage. Minimize the use of heat styling tools or harsh treatments during pregnancy that will result in more dryness or more breakage. When you do use styling tools, make sure to use a heat protectant and set your tools to the right temperature (more information on that here!).


Another important note is that while most products and treatments at Tease Hair Boutique are safe during pregnancy, there are a few that use chemical components that are not safe to use while pregnant. Don’t worry, just inform your Tease Hair Boutique stylist that you’re expecting and they can guide you on your options as well as recommend products and treatments for your specific hair care needs.


Nutrition

While you can’t do much about the fluctuation in hormones you’re experiencing during pregnancy and postpartum, it’s important to maintain a well-balanced diet rich in vitamins and minerals for both your pregnancy and your hair. Good nutrition supports overall hair health, and consuming foods rich in vitamins and minerals including biotin, iron, and zinc, will support hair growth during pregnancy, postpartum and beyond!


Try Nutrafol Postpartum 

Like a healthy diet can support hair health from within, so can Nutrafol Postpartum supplements. This OBGYN-developed and breastfeeding-friendly formula supports postpartum whole-body recovery through vital replenishment of key nutrients. Targeting the root cause of postpartum hair thinning, Nutrafol Postpartum has incredible results of 91% of users seeing a reduction in shedding after only two months of use. The recommended dose is 4 capsules once a day with a meal.

Available for purchase at Tease Hair Boutique


Bottom Line

Understanding that the hair changes during pregnancy and postpartum are a natural part of the reproductive process can help women navigate this period with confidence. While these changes can be challenging, most women find that their hair gradually returns to its pre-pregnancy state over time. During pregnancy, make sure to talk to your Tease Hair Boutique stylist about what products and services are right for you at this time.  If you're concerned about significant hair loss or persistent changes, consult with a dermatologist or healthcare professional for personalized advice and potential treatment options!


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