Ah yes, those pesky hormones... They can do funny things to the body – and of course, to our hair. If you're pregnant or have just had a baby (congrats!) you're probably feeling the Pregnancy Hair Woes.
Pregnancy can make your skin glow, your boobs look fantastic, your taste buds intensify, and it can also make your hair grow super fast, or whamo! stop growing, fall out, change texture, even turn grey. Good times.
As you grow a baby, your body's estrogen and progesterone levels begin to rage. To top it off, hCG (Human chorionic gonadotropin) hormone is added to the hormone cocktail, along with a whole other list of hormone changes and voila: Hair changes.
And not just on your head, but you may notice a few spikes of a beard popping up here and there, on your belly too, plus maybe even thicker on your legs and even feet. Ain't it grand? :)
The good news is that although this is all temporary and will resolve itself slooowly after you have given birth (or a few months after) (or if you're breastfeeding a few months after that).
In the meantime, there are a few things you can do to support your Pregnancy Hair Woes:
In coming! Water. Lots of it. Make it your new bestie!
Supplements. See your doctor! Your body needs that extra bit of help right now, and a very good quality multi-vitamin will help you wonders, as your body tries to focus on making a baby and then can forget about what YOU need. So take your supplements!
Scalp massages. Nice and easy, like you're massaging a newborn baby's back. Which you will learn to do soon enough. Do this every night as you're chillin' watching TV. The scalp is super important as it's part of skin (your largest organ) and it will need a reminder that it needs to make hair, make sebum (that lovely natural oil secretion that protects your hair and scalp), and give it that circulation boost. In fact, make your partner the supporting actor in this and have them massage your scalp every night! Love that idea!
Rethink your shampoo. Take it as an opportunity to clean and clear your scalp off of toxic chemicals that can be clogging up hair production. Look at your shampoo's ingredients and catch anything that reads "cyclomethicone" or "dimethicone" (silicones) is a big NO NO – like putting plastic on your scalp! Ditch it quickly. And anything that reads "EDTA" or "Mineral oil" or "Polysorbate" is petroleum-based. Same for "Phenoxyethanol", a preservative that has been linked to hormonal disruption and that is in waaay too many haircare products.
Rethink your routine. Do you really need to wash your hair every day? Nope, you don't mama. And when your baby is born you will certainly not be able to, as your time won't be your own either. Get used to washing your hair every other day, then work up to every 3 days. Your scalp is a whole microenvironment of its own, with microbes that are actually amazing for hair production – it knows what it's doing! The more you wash, the more oily it will become. And the more your hair will fall out. You may look like crap for a couple of weeks, but so what? It will fix itself, in time. Be patient.
Don't brush. Wait... what? YES, that's right: Don't go crazy brushing your hair and yankin' it out of its socket! For starters, your hair is DEAD, it's your scalp that you want to focus on as that is where your hair grows out of, so just use the massage advice and go easy on the lengths of your hair. Instead, use a large pick or a very large comb, heck, even your fingers will be better than a brush!
Moisturize your hair! Put on that very light leave-in conditioner every day. It will help moisturize your hair so it doesn't dry out at the ends and split. This is especially important for those women whose hair is dryer than usual and who aren't washing it as often. In fact, you can even use a light oil on the lengths of your hair before you wash, leaving it in for 15-20 minutes and then washing. As long as you use a very light oil like Jojoba, it will not be greasy after (skip the coconut oil! way too heavy for you right now).
B R E A T H E. Stress is one of the biggest culprits for hair loss. You can learn more about how stress affects hair loss in our blog post [HERE], but aside from the common pregnancy worries (am I doing the right thing, will my baby be okay, how will i afford having a baby, am I sleeping enough, etc.) combined with life (shopping, cleaning, cooking, time for other kids, work, etc.) it makes sense that your body is going rampant as it focuses on making a baby. So, find something to help you chill, some "me" time that will help you to allow your body to do its thing while keeping your sanity. A few minutes of meditation peppered throughout your day, a nice walk alone (without electronics!), a bath, some stretching, yoga, whatever resonates.
As you're going through your Pregnancy Hair Woes, one of the most important things you can realize is that this is all temporary. As long as you are looking after your body, mind, and spirit, you will be fine and your hair will turn back to its "normal" – whatever that means for you.
I highly advise spending more time surrounded by nature. The earth is grounding, and it can be super calming. Don't sweat the small things and don't put more pressure on yourself than you need to. It's all temporary, this too shall pass, and all that good stuff.
Once your body has returned to its normal hormonal state, you will find your hair goes through yet another change "back to normal", and after that you'll be home free! Just remember that if you feel uncomfortable because your hair is extremely dryer than usual or falling out more than it really should be, check with your healthcare provider to see if there's something else that may be going on. More often than not, it's a case of the pregnancy hormones that's causing your hair changes.