You probably already know that once you conceive, your body goes through multiple changes. Pregnancy is known to have varied effects on hair health as well. While some women experience their hair growing thick and lustrous due to high levels of estrogen production during pregnancy, others may see their hair shed and become thinner in volume. Factors such as stress, hormonal fluctuations and medical conditions accompanying pregnancy can impact the hair health and in the majority of the cases, the hair returns to its pre-pregnancy state after a few months of the delivery.
During pregnancy, the body tends to produce high amounts of estrogen, a hormone that helps hair to grow thicker and stronger and delays the hair from moving into its telogen (shedding) phase. In most cases, this effect is most noticeable in the third trimester.
However, on certain occasions, some women experience hair loss which could be a side effect of prolonged morning sickness and gestational diabetes. Moreover, the hormonal changes during pregnancy vary in each individual and could throttle the sensitivity of hair follicles, making them fall and lose volume. This condition of shedding of hair during pregnancy is called ‘telogen effluvium’ and it usually occurs in the first trimester as the balance of hormones shifts dramatically to support the growing baby.
There could also be a case where some women experience hair loss within 1-3 months of the delivery. This occurs because of a drop in the amounts of estrogen produced by the body.
Also, discontinuation of birth control pills, miscarriage, abortion or stillbirth can cause one to experience hair shedding due to a flux in the hormones, especially estrogen. Essentially, hair loss could be triggered by any event that involves a change in the estrogen hormone balance in your system.
Eating a healthy, balanced diet that is full of nutrients such as protein, calcium and iron can help deal with hair loss. There are certain prenatal vitamins as well which you could consume on consultation with your doctor to manage hair thinning. Other factors include how one ties, styles and treat their hair. For instance, tight braids, buns and ponytails may pull your hair and efforts should be made to wash the hair gently with a wide-toothed comb to avoid pulling hair too hard while detangling. Another no-no is using hot rollers and curling irons or any other permanent hair treatments as they could also adversely impact hair health.
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So, consider being gentle and patient with your hair during and post-pregnancy as the impact on hair is temporary in most cases. However, it is always prudent to consult with a doctor in case the signs seem alarming and are impacting your mental wellbeing.