Most of us associate pregnancy with a spike in hormones and the symptoms they bring about. Irritability, morning sickness, constipation – pregnant women can expect to encounter such annoyances, burdening that nine-month path to baby.
Yet the increase in estrogen experienced during pregnancy does provide one sparkling asset: a thick, rich head of hair. Typically, around 90% of your hair is in a growth phase, while the other 10% is in a resting phase and eventually falls out. During pregnancy though, the heightened hormone levels in your body prolong the growth phase, meaning less of your hair is in resting phase at any given point in time and fewer hairs fall out.
Fast-forward to baby’s arrival. Nine months of hormones and hair aplenty have come to an end. For better or worse, so will the impressive growth in your hair. Your body will recommence its cycle of regular hair loss. One in every two women will experience “excessive shedding of hair” post-pregnancy. This can linger for up to six months after baby’s delivery. Such hair loss can be quite dramatic, especially after a shower where you may see your shower drain covered with hairs. Not to worry, such hair loss is temporary.
Taking care of your hair during and after pregnancy
Proper hair maintenance can help to moderate the hormonal effects on your locks. Here are a few tips:
- Embrace your thicker hair: Take advantage of your luscious, thick hair and use it to your advantage – a great hairstyle can help keep you feeling beautiful even while the rest of your body is changing.
- Use gentle, pregnancy safe haircare products: As a rule of thumb, shampoo your hair using products with natural, plant-based surfactants, which are much less harsh than sulfate-laden shampoos (same chemical used for car washes!). Nine Naturals Citrus + Mint Nourishing Shampoo uses natural, coconut-derived soaps, which are gentle on your locks, yet still cleansing.
- Keep your hair moisturized: Since fewer hairs shed during pregnancy and more old hairs stay put, your hair may tend to be more dry. Always follow a shampoo with a generous conditioning session. Try Nine Naturals Citrus + Mint Nourishing Conditioner, which uses moisturizing plant-based emollients like broccoli seed oil and shea butter and natural hair strengthening ingredients like vitamin B5 and flax seed oil.
- Avoid coloring your hair: Be weary of coloring your hair during pregnancy to not only avoid unnecessary exposure to harmful chemicals, but also uncertain outcomes to your pregnancy hair. While it may not be a proven fact, some hairstylists claim that their customers’ hair has responded differently to coloring treatments during pregnancy. Harsh chemical treatments can also damage hair, making it more brittle and dry.
A careful pregnancy haircare regimen will ensure that once your hair does start to fall out post-pregnancy, the hair your left with will be in a healthy condition.
Dealing with postpartum hair loss
If you experience postpartum hair loss, make sure to be gentle with your hair so not to damage the hair that remains. You’ll notice a lot of fly-aways as the old hairs are shed and new hairs grow in their place. Here are some postpartum haircare tips:
- Experiment with new hairstyles and accessories: New hairstyles and hair accessories are creative ways to keep the fly-aways at bay. Fun braids or barrettes and headbands may do the trick.
- Leave-in conditioner can help manage fly-aways: Use a small dab of Nine Naturals Mandarin + Ginger Restorative Conditioner as a leave-in conditioner to weigh down the little sprouts of hair.
- Dry shampoo between hair washes: Try an organic dry shampoo between hair washes so you don’t have to worry about managing your hair with the new baby in tow and to reduce harsh overstyling.
 American Pregnancy Association. (2007, March). Pregnancy and Hair Loss.