Pregnancy Hair Care

It's important to know about pregnancy hair care, as a woman's hair changes during this period. Keep reading to learn more.
Pregnancy Hair Care
Maria del Carmen Hernandez

Written and verified by the dermatologist Maria del Carmen Hernandez.

Last update: 16 May, 2023

The hair care recommended during pregnancy can be maintained postpartum as well. Hormonal changes that develop from the beginning of pregnancy lead to hair loss, along with loss of shine and thickness.

Hair changes during pregnancy

The main cause of the appearance of changes in hair quality is the increase in pregnancy hormones.

Increased hair thickness

Increased hair thickness is one of the manifestations that appear as a result of increased estrogen levels. In turn, it stimulates hair growth and keeps it in a growth phase.

Therefore, during gestation, expectant mothers feel that their hair is shinier and thicker. However, after birth, estrogen levels drop and the hair moves into a resting phase that causes it to shed and fall out. According to the American Academy of Dermatology Association, after one year, the hair returns to its normal fullness.

An increase in the amount of hair

The increase in blood volume together with the increase in estrogen levels (mainly female sex hormones) keeps the hair in the anagen phase of the hair cycle. This prevents spontaneous shedding and subsequent hair loss. In fact, about 80 to 100 hairs per day usually fall out. As the hair remains on the scalp, without shedding, hair seems more abundant or thicker.

A pregnant woman looking at her hair brush.
While hair loss or thinning and brittleness may occur during pregnancy, increased thickness or shine may also be evident.

Learn how to take care of your hair during pregnancy

To make sure your hair stays shiny and healthy during pregnancy, there are several things to keep in mind. We’ll tell you about them below.

Don’t use the dryer or hot iron

The use of appliances that work through heat (such as flat irons, curling irons, or dryers) makes the hair more brittle by causing greater dryness. In addition, it generates destruction of the intercellular cement of the hair fibers, scales on the cuticle, and opens the ends of the hair.

Follow a varied diet

Food is one of the most important pillars during pregnancy. It’s not only the food and nourishment for the baby on the way, but also for the pregnant mother. Therefore, a balanced and complete diet is the key to shiny and voluminous hair. It should include fresh vegetables and fruits, along with nuts, seeds, and foods rich in protein.

Sufficient hydration throughout the day is also important, even to prevent fluid retention characteristic of this period.

Avoid hair dyes

It’s best to avoid any treatment that contains chemicals or coloring itself. This is because these products can be absorbed upon contact with the scalp and, perhaps, be transmitted to the developing baby. They can even cause unwanted allergic reactions or itching, flaking, and inflammation.

Substances to avoid are paraphenylenediamine (PPD) and hydrogen peroxide, which are often found in dark and permanent hair dyes. At the same time, the most sensitive time for the baby’s psychomotor and cognitive development is the first trimester, so it’s avoiding the use of hair dyes is recommended.

Choose suitable conditioners and shampoos

The vast majority of cosmetic hair care products contain synthetic fragrances, phthalates, and parabens. The latter are hormone disruptors, i.e. chemicals that enter the body through absorption through the skin surface. In turn, they have the ability to disrupt the hormonal balance of the body and the reproductive system itself. Therefore, it’s best to avoid their use during pregnancy.

A pregnant woman wearing her hair in a ponytail while exercising.
During pregnancy, it’s best not to use tight hairstyles. Ideally, tight buns, braids, and ponytails should be avoided.

Don’t use tight or tight hairstyles

Hair is more fragile and weaker when it’s wet. Therefore, it’s not a good idea to comb it when it’s wet because it’s more likely to break. Hairstyles that are too tight and tight can worsen hair loss.

Use moisturizing masks

Hair masks help to keep hair shiny and moisturized at all times. In fact, it’s best to use them during the period of pregnancy to prepare for after childbirth. Moisturizing hair treatments can be done once a week to reduce hair breakage and give hair a healthier appearance.

Hair changes are temporary

All hair changes that develop during pregnancy tend to be temporary. After delivery, they begin to resolve on their own. Although these changes aren’t a cause for concern, it never hurts to take the necessary care to prevent them or to cope with them in the best possible way.

All cited sources were thoroughly reviewed by our team to ensure their quality, reliability, currency, and validity. The bibliography of this article was considered reliable and of academic or scientific accuracy.

  • Chua-Gocheco A, Bozzo P, Einarson A. Safety of hair products during pregnancy: personal use and occupational exposure. Can Fam Physician. 2008 Oct;54(10):1386-8. PMID: 18854462; PMCID: PMC2567273.
  • Bolduc C, Shapiro J. Hair care products: waving, straightening, conditioning, and coloring. Clin Dermatol. 2001 Jul-Aug;19(4):431-6. doi: 10.1016/s0738-081x(01)00201-2. PMID: 11535384.
  • LYNFIELD YL. Effect of pregnancy on the human hair cycle. J Invest Dermatol. 1960 Dec;35:323-7. doi: 10.1038/jid.1960.54. PMID: 13764567.

This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.