I always tell my patients that their hair will be the best it's ever been -- lush, full. Enjoy it!" says Paradi Mirmirani, MD, a dermatologist with Kaiser Permanente in Vallejo, Cal.
Hair normally grows in three phases: active growth, resting, and shedding. During these phases, people typically shed 100 hairs every day. When you're pregnant, the extra hormones spreading through your body shift your hair cycle. Your hair grows without shedding. This is why your hair seems longer and thicker than usual. For me, because my energy was so low, the last thing I wanted to do was worry about my hair. Let’s be real, when your back is hurting, you’re running to the bathroom every few minutes, and you’re nauseated, are you really going to care about your hair?
If caring for your hair is becoming too difficult because all you have energy for is eating and sleeping, then follow my lead and put your hair away for a while. During my pregnancy I put my hair into multiple protective styles including extensions like Senegalese twists, puffy twists, and Havana twists (which were my favorite), but there are so many protective style options for you to choose from. If you’re not into extensions, try styles that can last beyond a few days like buns, mini twists, and the roll, tuck, & pin to allow you more rest time.
Even though you’re not focusing on your hair, there are still a few things you should and should not do. I would highly suggest you schedule all your color treatments and keratin treatments for after your baby is born. While there is no scientific data proving that these chemical hair treatments can actually cause harm to the baby, hair colors can trigger certain allergies and can cause infections, so it is good to avoid potential complications while pregnant.
Now, when it comes to maintaining your hair during pregnancy you can continue to use all your same products and tools, but I found that the fragrance of some of my favorite products made me want to upchuck. My products with less perfume and natural oils were a win for me. If you notice the aromas of your products are overwhelming you can always try the following:
- Use only a small amount in your hair, so you don’t smell it all day
- Revisit some of your older products from the back of the cabinet
- Make your own products with ingredients that you can stomach
- Purchase new products to use as a part of your pregnancy regimen.
Because of the mega increase in hormones, your hair may be dryer or oiler than usual. If your hair is drying out quickly, I suggest you do a weekly deep conditioning treatment. The SheaMoisture Deep Treatment Masque was a staple for me during my pregnancy because it hydrated and softened my hair while being lightly scented. You may also want to introduce hot oil treatments with the steamer to restore moisture to your thirsty hair. Simply set up your steamer and while you wait for it to warm up, wet your hair with warm water and evenly massage your favorite oil throughout your hair. Sit under the steamer for the recommended time and then shampoo.
If your pregnancy is leaving your hair oilier then usual, opt for lighter creams when moisturizing and/or styling versus the heavier butters you’re used to. You also can skip sealing with oil. This extra step isn’t needed if your scalp is over producing your natural oils. If you have enough energy to wash your hair more frequently, I suggest adding a midweek co-wash like the As I Am Coconut CoWash Cleansing Conditioner. It contains a special blend of natural ingredients for healthy hair growth and removes product build-up from your hair between regular washing.
Obviously the main focus of your pregnancy is your health as well as the baby’s health. Low maintenance hair care is all you need because your body will do the rest. Eat right, sleep tight, and enjoy your pregnancy!
What tips can you share about your hair care regimen when you were pregnant? If you are currently expecting, how is your hair responding?