Hair Changes During Pregnancy
“After I delivered Tia, my previous curly hair changed to much straighter hair. I had a lot of hair loss post delivery. But then, after a few months, when my new hair grew, surprisingly they were far straighter.” Says 33 year old Rhea from Mumbai.
Although Tia’s experience might be a rare one, all pregnant women undergo different kinds of hair changes, starting from good hair growth while pregnant, hair loss post delivery, dry and brittle hair, and other texture changes. This is because the crown of your head has its own share of effects caused by pregnancy. In this article, we will be talking about the changes that your hair goes through during pregnancy. Let’s have a look.
Hormonal Changes During Pregnancy
Let us start with the basics. Changes in hormone levels are the main culprit behind almost all of the unpleasant pregnancy symptoms you'll experience.
During pregnancy, hormone levels such as Estrogen and Progesterone rise dramatically. This may give you thick hair, and can also reduce hair fall. Some women can also get luckier with shinier locks. For some, the texture may also change, curly hair may turn straight or vice versa, and so on.
Prolactin, the hormone responsible for triggering the development of your breast tissue in order to prepare them for lactation, shoots up 10 times by the time you reach your third trimester. Your body starts to get ready with colostrum, making you produce the first milk for your baby while still pregnant, although, your body starts producing milk only after the levels of progesterone and estrogen drop post-delivery. This is the reason why you may notice your breastmilk leaking before your baby is born.
Did someone say morning sickness? The culprit behind that has been found, apparently. Well, many doctors believe that the heightened levels of the Human Chorionic Gonadotropin (HCG) hormone is responsible for your morning sickness, although no one is absolutely sure about it. It is created by what eventually becomes the placenta. HCG's primary function is to inform a woman's body that a life form is forming inside her womb and that her body must construct a nest for it. HCG also instructs the ovaries to turn off the egg maturation line every month.
Postpartum Hormonal Changes
Right after you have your baby, your estrogen and progesterone levels drop dramatically. Postpartum depression, popularly known as ‘baby blues” may arise as a result of this. This may appear in the form of anxiety, irritability, sadness, and mood swings along with other symptoms.
These, on the other hand, can vanish in a week.
While the above-mentioned chemicals decline drastically after birth, oxytocin, popularly known as the "bonding hormone," surges. This affects your mothering behavior, and you'll be able to assess what's good and what's not for your child, along with other capabilities that will be evoked by your mothering behavior. An increase in oxytocin can also help to alleviate anxiety. Prolactin levels rise in order to boost breast milk production. Finally, giving birth can interfere with thyroid hormones, which are essential for metabolism, body temperature regulation, and organ function.
The postpartum hair changes are not as satisfying as the ones during pregnancy. Due to the dropping levels of Estrogen and Progesterone, the most common thing that you will face post-delivery is hair loss. Postpartum hair fall can last ranging from 3-6 months to 12 months. It’s okay if you find strands of hair every time you brush it. This can get really saddening and heartbreaking, but this will pass. So, don’t worry.
What Changes Does Your Hair Experience?
When you're pregnant, you can notice that your hair feels thicker. However, more hair is not growing on your head, and your locks are not getting thicker. You are simply shedding it more slowly than usual. Your hair remains in the growing phase of its cycle for longer, resulting in less hair falling out. And, whom to blame? The raised level of estrogen.
Some women have decreased levels of estrogen due to which they may experience thinning hair. Estrogen may drop due to discontinued consumption of oral contraceptive pills, hormonal imbalance, or even miscarriage, stillbirth, and abortion. Facing hair fall is also a very common phenomenon post-delivery.
Pregnancy Regimes for Healthy Hair
Just like it’s important that you use pregnancy-safe products on your skin, the same goes for hair. Each and everything you use can have an impact on your baby, and thus has to be safe for both of you. Along with doing the duty of keeping your hair healthy, these products should also be free of certain, harmful chemicals and toxins. Here are a few regimes that you may follow for healthy hair.
1. Say No to Chemicals
Use hair products made of natural and safe ingredients during pregnancy. Try avoiding toxins like SLS, Paraben, synthetic fragrances, PEGs, Mineral Oils, Phenoxyethanol, Salicylic acid, etc. Instead, opt for pregnancy safe cosmetics.
If you've always enjoyed experimenting with hair colors and chemical treatments, now is the time to scale back. The hazardous chemicals may be absorbed by the scalp and circulated through your bloodstream, causing injury to your baby during pregnancy and a slew of other problems. Opt for home-made Mehendi instead.
2. Hair and Scalp Massage
Treat your head with a good massage. And, after a difficult, stressful day, what can be better than a massage? Massaging improves blood circulation in the scalp thereby promoting hair growth. It also provides nourishment and strength. We will again suggest you choose a natural oil without minerals in it. For massaging, you can use oils like tea tree, amla, argan, coconut, bhringraj, coffee, and almond oils which promote hair growth, relieve itching, reduces dandruff, and give strength.
3. Reduce Sun Exposure
The sun's ultraviolet (UV) radiation can harm your skin and hair. It's advisable to stay indoors while the sun is shining brightly. If you must go out, cover your head with a cap or scarf to keep your hair safe. Dust and pollutants can also harm your hair.
4. Eat well
Stick to a nutritious balanced diet that keeps you and your little one healthy during pregnancy. However, try to include protein-rich foods such as eggs, avocado, nuts, cheese, yogurt, and seeds for better hair health.
5. Stay Hydrated
Hydration is the key to healthy skin and hair, regardless of pregnancy. So, drink an ample amount of water without fail.
6. Hair trims and Hair Styles
The texture of your hair gets affected during pregnancy, just like the way your skin does. Get regular hair trims to avoid split ends. This prevents thinning, and breakage, and keeps it lustrous and healthy. It sheds rough edges, improves texture and quality, and thus prevents damage in the long run. Avoid hairstyles such as tight braids, twisted ponytails, and other hairstyles in which the hair is firmly pulled. Hairstyles that are too tight create headaches, which are exacerbated during pregnancy.
Home Remedies for Healthy Hair
Home remedies are undoubtedly one of the best ways to treat hair woes. What else can be a better option when you actually find great ingredients that will benefit your hair, in your kitchen? Let’s have a look at some of the ways that can aid your hair health.
1. Egg White
Mix egg white with one tablespoon of olive oil, leave it on your scalp for about 30 minutes, and wash off using lukewarm water. Egg whites are rich in amino acids, and proteins and provide deep nourishment to your hair.
Simply massage your hair with coconut oil. You can also add burnt ashes from the hard shell of the coconut and add it to the oil. Coconut oil is a natural conditioner. It provides nourishment, keeps a check on hair fall, and provides volume and luster to your hair. You can also use coconut-based hair cleansers and conditioners.
Methi, also known as fenugreek seeds can be found in almost all the Indian kitchens. Methi is one of the best ingredients for haircare that helps in dandruff and hair loss. Simply soak 1/4 teaspoons of fenugreek seeds overnight and drain the water the next day. Apply this water to your head and leave it on for a few hours before rinsing. The scalp can also be treated with a paste made from roasted fenugreek seeds.
Amla is another such wonder ingredient that just can’t be avoided when we are talking about hair care. You can drink amla juice, boil it with oil and use the resulting oil for a head massage, or even eat amla murabba.
5. Aloe Vera
Just apply aloe vera gel on your scalp, let it rest for around an hour, and rinse with lukewarm water. It prevents an itchy scalp, prevents hair fall, and keeps the scalp healthy.
6. Yogurt or Dahi
Curd or yogurt is an excellent hair conditioner. It is vitamin-rich and helps to maintain healthy, dandruff-free hair. Apply some curd to your scalp and leave it on for 10 minutes before washing it off. Curd should be a part of your daily diet because it boosts immunity and improves hair conditions.
7. Sweet Almond Oil
Sweet almond oil is loaded with Vitamin E and monosaturated fat, and it does the job of strengthening your hair and scalp. It aids dry hair, dry and itchy scalp, and also controls frizz. Use it for consumption, or as a part of your beauty regime.
Tamarind is an amazing storehouse of antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals. Soak tamarind in warm water and extract the juice and apply the juice to your hair and rinse off. Or, try wrapping your head with a hot towel after massaging your head with the tamarind liquid, and wash off after 15 minutes. Be friends with tamarind and you will say goodbye to hair fall.
Only 1 cup of oats is required. Fill a blender halfway with oatmeal and blend on medium (till you get a fine powder). Combine 2 cups boiling water with this ground oatmeal. Stir until the oatmeal is entirely dissolved. Allow 10 minutes for the mixture to rest. Using a strainer, strain the mixture into a medium-sized mixing basin. One tablespoon lemon juice and 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar should be added to this mixture. Stir thoroughly. If you have color-treated hair, you can skip the lemon juice. Stir in around 20 drops of your preferred essential oil. Fill an empty shampoo bottle halfway with the mixture. To use it, wet your hair with lukewarm water. Oats are great for treating dandruff, and hair fall.
Now that you are going to give birth to your little one, everything is going fine, we want you to know and always believe that you are beautiful no matter what. While some of you must be in complete awe of your thick, shiny hair, courtesy of your pregnancy, some may not be as lucky and may experience issues like hair fall. But hey, please remember that all of these are temporary, and these will pass. So, don’t worry. Use mild and natal-safe products on your hair. Embrace the ingredients available in your kitchen which can do wonders on your skin and hair. Doubly check the ingredients on the labels of hair-care products. And, before using any product please consult your doctor to be on the safe side. And lastly, eat well, sleep well, and stay happy. Take care moms!