Everyone told you that one of the big advantages of being pregnant is that your skin and hair would develop this wonderful “glow” and despite the fact that you would obviously be a little too big to fit into your favorite fashionable clothes for a while the benefits for the way your hair and skin look would be amazing.
Having heard all of this some women are then dismayed to discover that not only is the condition of their hair not improving but it actually seems to be weakening and every day there seems to be a few more stray hairs on their pillow or their hairbrush. It’s quite distressing – what happened to those luscious locks that they were promised? Are they actually going bald? Given that most women are already having some serious body confidence issues in relation to their pregnancy then this is probably the last thing they could have imagined!
Understanding Hair Growth Cycles
About 40% of women report that the condition of their hair does indeed improve during their pregnancy but just about the same percentage then report the complete opposite. To understand why that might be the case it helps to understand a little about the process that is known as the human hair growth cycle.
Every hair on a human’s head goes through three stages during the growth process – an anagen phase, a catagen phase and then the final telogen stage.
Most of the important processes that involve nutrients and hormones take place during the anagen phase which is also often called the growing phase. During this phase hair needs plenty of certain vitamin and minerals to grow just like any other part of your body as well as a little help from your hormones.
Often the extra estrogen that is in the body of a woman who is pregnant can boost both the rate of hair growth in the anagen phase and its strength and elasticity so that explains the improvement that many women notice. On the flip side though the demand for the vitamins and minerals that hair needs to grow well had increased from all over the woman’s body – and from her unborn baby – so the hair can actually be one of the first things to suffer as the body’s systems send these resources to more important places instead.
Preventing Pregnancy Hair Loss
In the end there may be very little you can do to completely prevent hair loss during pregnancy and also immediately after you give birth as the change in your hormone levels (again) can often affect the hair growth cycle for a while even if it did not so so while you were expecting.This is called telogen effluvium and is a fairly common but temporary condition as well.
The good news is that your hair should begin to get back to normal about 4 – 5 months after Baby is born but for women who are used to having a great thick head of hair that can seem like too little too late. Here then are a few things that you can do to try to prevent pregnancy hair loss as far as possible that are actually quite good for you and Baby in as well:
Vitamins for Hair Health – B is the Key
Certain vitamins play a very important role in the hair growth cycle, especially a B vitamin called biotin and folic acid. If you are pregnant, are trying to get pregnant or have become a Mummy in the last several years you will have heard all about how important folic acid is for your baby’s development so you know that your body will send it there before it sends it to your hair.
All the B vitamins are important for Baby’s development too so not enough biotin may be getting to your hair as it normally might. The good news is that just an extra glass of orange juice a day on top of what you should already be drinking may be all you need to get that extra folic acid your hair needs. And for the extra biotin a nice bowl of fresh strawberries or raspberries can give your hair the boost it needs and still be good for you and Baby too!
Foods for Hair Health
Many of the foods that you should be including in your diet when you are pregnant to help ensure your health and that of Baby’s are also very hair health friendly foods as well, another reason why some ladies see that pregnant hair improvement when they ditch some of their unhealthy eating habits.
Fatty fish like salmon and all those omega 3 fatty acids are as good for your hair as they are for your Baby’s development. That’s a great excuse for you to add a little more of this delicious (but sometimes expensive) fish to your diet. Make sure you ask for it to be grilled or baked not fried though – you don’t need all that extra bad fat in your diet.
Many of the other great for your baby foods are great for your hair health as well – dark leafy greens, carrots, fresh vegetables and lean meats are all great choices, so you have yet another reason to stick to that healthy pregnancy diet – your hair will be healthier too.
Shampoos and Conditioners to Prevent Pregnancy Hair Loss
There are certain shampoos and conditioners on the market that are designed to help prevent hair loss and you might want to try switching to one of them while you are expecting. You should consider at least switching to a shampoo without sulfates as sulfates can dry out your your hair and damage it unnecessarily, something that you really don’t need right now!