Despite the vast and dramatic body changes women endure during and after pregnancy, hair loss is often the most significant, and the final straw for many. For this reason, we have enlisted the professional advice of Schwarzkopf Professional’s Creative Ambassador, four-time Hairdresser of the Year and most recent winner of the 2017 Educator of the Year Caterina Di Biase, to guide mothers-to-be through this exciting and often frustrating time.
Hair loss: The lowdown
Firstly, it’s important to remember that whether you’re pregnant or not, the majority of us will lose hair at a steady and continual rate as we age. And, unfortunately, most of us are all-too-familiar with pulling out hair in our brushes, particularly after a good hair wash or blow dry. In fact, it is estimated that on any given day we will lose around 100 hairs, and significantly more during times of illness, stress, excessive shedding, or retention.
During pregnancy, hair tends to go into more of a resting and retentive phase; we don’t lose as much hair as we would regularly, but want to know the good news here? Many people report that their hair has never looked so damn good! In fact, many of my clients report a much fuller and bouncier set of locks during pregnancy. This is largely due to the fact that the majority of women actually retain more hair than losing it during their pregnancy. This is because the usual shedding phase is on hold for the period of gestation.
Hair structure can also change during pregnancy; it can become curlier, straighter, or in some cases, go a shade or two darker or lighter. Be prepared for some wild hair changes, but remember that hairdressers have seen it all before, so don’t be afraid to ask for professional advice to get that perfect style or cut throughout all stages pregnancy.
On the other hand, there are also many women who experience greater-than-normal hair loss during pregnancy. This can be due to having a deficiency in key vitamins or minerals, for which they should seek advice from a healthcare professional or that their body is experiencing the shock of pregnancy, which generally becomes noticeable around the one to two month mark.
I always remind my clients that hair loss during this period is completely normal, that it’s a natural process; it’s your body’s reaction to a major change. When a woman goes through a pregnancy she is also experiencing a number of changes that alter the body’s usual balance and this shock will often affect hair growth.
This is not surprising, because most people and their bodies can be affected by shock; however everyone’s experience during pregnancy is unique. It’s hard to predict the types of changes you’ll experience during pregnancy.
Hair care during pregnancy
When it comes to caring for your hair during pregnancy, it’s important to remember that hair follicles react differently to distinctive compounds in shampoos and conditioners. This is often due to the hair becoming drier, due to lacking its usual moisture barrier. I always suggest to my clients that they switch to products that are extra conditioning, and start using organic or ammonia free hair product ranges.
Also, never underestimate the importance of good scalp care, as hair growth starts from the roots. Start by switching to a stimulating shampoo and conditioner that treats the scalp and encourages hair growth from the roots. Don’t forget to also massage your scalp regularly, as this helps to stimulate hair follicles and promote scalp health.
After your baby arrives
Aside from a medical condition causing usual shedding, hair loss during pregnancy is only temporary; and it’s not uncommon for women to continue to shed hair after their baby is born – particularly within the first six months. After giving birth, many women will tend to stop loosing hair around five to six months, and the hair follicles tend to rejuvenate.
Lastly, you cannot control hair loss overnight; it takes some time for your hair to return to normal post delivery. Be patient as your whole body, including your hair, recovers. Your hair can get back to the pre-pregnancy state with some TLC and the right hair routine. Your hair returning to normal is usually in line with your body recovering from pregnancy, so this is generally around nine to 12 months after giving birth.
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BUMP & baby is New Zealand’s only magazine for pregnancy and early babyhood. Our team of mums and mums-to-be understand what it’s like to be pregnant in this connected age, and that’s why BUMP & Baby online is geared toward what pregnant women and new mums really want to know.