Hair Growth in Pregnancy

You’ve probably noticed a change in your hair since you got pregnant. If you’re one of the lucky ones, this means that your hair is shinier, thicker and more lustrous than ever. For others, this could mean that your hair is actually duller and more lifeless than before. While still for other women, they

 couldn’t care less about the hair on their head; they’re concerned about all this new hair growing all over their body and have already started collecting laser hair removal brochures!

What’s Happening?!

So why the new hair? If you answered "Hormones!" to that question, then you can go to the front of the class. Like so many pregnancy symptoms, including morning sickness and acne, increased hair growth can be chalked up to the amplified production of various hormones in your body.

Normally, your hair goes between an active growing phase and a resting phase. At any one time, about 90% of the hair on your head is actively growing at a rate of about half an inch a month for two to six years. The remaining 10% are in a resting phase where they will stay for two to three months before falling out.

During pregnancy, though, the increase in hormones causes more of your hair to enter into the resting phase, resulting in the appearance of thicker hair. For many women, this is a wonderful thing as they finally have the hair they have always dreamed of. Yet, for others, this extra production of hormones not only increases the amount of hair on their head, but also causes a bout of excessive hair growth.

Generally, this extra hair shows up on your face: above the lip and on the chin and cheeks. However, it can also appear on your breasts, back, stomach and arms. Understandably, those women who have this type of extra hair growth in pregnancy can become quite self-conscious of it.

Should I Worry?

As alarming as it can be to find hair growing in places you’d rather it didn’t grow, usually there is nothing to worry about. While excessive hair growth in pregnancy is similar to hirsutism, it is not the same disorder.

Hirsutism is a medical condition that results in a disproportionate growth of coarse, dark body hair. This disorder can be caused by genetic or endocrine system abnormalities, such as PCOS and Cushing’s syndrome. Hirsutism can also develop as a result of medications that impact your hormones, like testosterone and androgenic steroids.

Aside from excessive hair growth, symptoms of hirsutism also include a deepening of the voice, shrinking of the breasts, increased muscle mass, growth of the genitals, and irregular menstrual cycles and periods. Depending on the cause of hirsutism, the disorder can be treated a variety of ways. However, hirsutism is generally a chronic disorder and once treatment is stopped, the condition comes back. Excessive hair growth in pregnancy, however, is a temporary condition that normally resolves itself after birth.

Now That the Baby is Here…

As your hormone levels return back to normal after the delivery of your baby, your hair will return to its normal growth pattern. Because much of your hair will now be coming out of the resting phase, it will likely seem that you’re losing a lot of hair, especially since much of it will appear to fall out at roughly the same time. If you feel that you are losing too much hair or are starting to notice patches of missing hair, though, make an appointment with your health care provider. This could indicate a medical problem or a lack of some vitamins and minerals.

Now that the hair on your head is returning to normal, what about all the body hair you grew? In most cases, this should disappear within six months after giving birth. In the mean time, you have a few options as to how you want to deal with this unsightly hair.

Both during and after pregnancy, it is considered to be safe to shave, pluck or wax that extra hair. Although bleaching and depilatories are an option, since these are chemical based solutions, you may want to avoid them while you are pregnant. Permanent hair removal methods, such as laser hair removal and electrolysis, are thought to be safe during pregnancy as well, but women are often encouraged to wait until after their pregnancy just to be on the safe side.

However, the cost of laser hair removal may cause some women to balk at the idea. If you are considering permanent laser hair removal, try not to be thrown by the price. Remember, this is a permanent solution to getting rid of unwanted body hair. In the long run, it may just be a cheaper choice than shaving, waxing or using depilatories.

Keep Your Hair Healthy

Here are some tips to make sure your hair always looks its best:

  • Eat a well-balanced diet full of fruits and vegetables
  • Wet hair is especially fragile so always treat it with utmost of care and this means skipping combing it out with a fine-tooth comb after your shower (use a wide-toothed comb instead)
  • Air dry your hair whenever possible and avoid using heated styling products like straighteners and curling irons
  • If you are addicted to your blow dryer, then set it to the lowest, coolest temperature or setting to dry your hair
  • Though stylish, pony and pig tails, along with corn rows and braids, stress your hair and pull it too much, so keep your hair loose

Click here for more information on hair regrowth!

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