Pregnancy brings a lot of changes not just the physical ones but the emotional surges as well. While the body prepares for the baby, you may experience certain additional effects as well. Hair fall during pregnancy is one such condition which may not be affecting everyone, but some women do experience it. This adds to the bouts of stress the expectant mother is going through.
How Hair Change During Pregnancy?
In most women due to the hormonal surges and a trigger in oestrogen hormone the hair growth increases especially during the first trimester as the growth cycle of hair pauses in resting phase. But in some women there is a sudden and rapid hair loss during pregnancy. This condition of hair fall is known as telogen effluvium which is prominent in first 5 months of pregnancy. It affects around 40-50% of women, but it is usually temporary and is cured on its own in the first year post delivery.
Can Pregnancy Cause Hair Loss?
Yes, around 40-50% of women undergo hair loss during pregnancy. There are certain hormonal factors and other health conditions that can trigger the hair to fall even while most women have thicker locks during the same phase in their lives. So, let us look into some causes for hair loss during pregnancy –
1- Improper Nutrition – Nutritious diet is extremely important during pregnancy to meet the increased demands of the body for various essential vitamins, minerals and proteins. If any deviation is seen in the amounts of these nutrients there will be impact on the body. Also with excess morning sickness or hyperemesis gravidarium, many women lose a lot of nutrients from their body. This results in triggering hair fall during pregnancy.
2- Health conditions – Some pregnant women develop gestational diabetes while some are prone to fungal infections in the scalp, both of which can cause hair loss. Certain medications used in the treatment of high BP, depression, etc. during pregnancy, also tend to cause hair loss.
3- Hormonal Changes – Pregnancy brings in a lot of hormonal changes which can lead to women noticing changes in their hair growth and shedding patterns. Abnormal levels of progesterone during pregnancy can dry out the scalp and make the hair brittle. Hypothyroidism caused by low levels of thyroid and PCOS caused by excessive generation of male hormones are conditions that trigger hair loss in pregnancy.
4- Lack of vitamin B12 – Researches suggest vitamin B12 slows the transition of hair cycle from anagen to catagen phase. Thus the hair is maintained in anagen phase for long, but with a decrease in vitamin B12 the hair will proceed to catagen and shedding phase much sooner.
5- Improper folic acid intake – Though there are no studies suggesting that folic acid affects hair growth during pregnancy, but some people have observed loss of hair due to low levels of folic acid.
6- Genes – It has been observed that the chances of a pregnant woman experiencing hair loss are further increased if her mother too had to go through similar experiences during her pregnancy.
7- Reproductive Issues – Hair loss is experienced in some cases as a result of a reaction to the discontinuation of birth control pills or other forms of birth control methods. Miscarriage, stillbirth, and abortions can cause women to experience hair loss too.
Can You Treat Hair Loss During Pregnancy?
Yes! Hair loss caused during pregnancy can be treated once the underlying cause has been diagnosed appropriately. Though most cases are just temporary as the hair loss is natural during this time, but for severe cases of hair loss, treatments must be administered under expert dermatologists. Some of the methods include –
● If the hair is shedding because of nutritional deficiencies, upgrading your diet and including the necessary dietary supplements can alleviate the condition considerably
● If the hair loss is being triggered by a certain illness or its subsequent medication, consulting your doctor is advisable to seek other options and to avoid any harm to the unborn child
Treatment for Hair Loss During Pregnancy
If the hair loss is persistent and extreme despite the above measures, consult a dermatologist. Trichotherapy regime is a holistic approach to target excessive hair loss during pregnancy and it provides a definite relief. It includes medication both topical and oral, in addition to nutritional and dietary supplements to regulate the hair growth cycle.
Check with a dermatologist to know if you qualify for PRP treatment for hair loss, which is gaining popularity in India to reduce hair fall and improve hair thickness. PRP stands for platelet rich plasma which is a therapeutic treatment where in the patient’s own blood is extracted and from this activated platelet rich plasma is formulated and injected back into the scalp. This brings about newer hair growth and regeneration. Do not resort to any over the counter topical or oral drugs for hair growth, as they may affect the baby and the pregnancy adversely.
As has been observed in a lot of cases, hair loss during pregnancy is a temporary phenomenon that resolves itself post-delivery. Therefore, stress and panic cannot help you at all.
Tips to Control Hair Fall During Pregnancy
1- Wash Your Hair – Keeping your hair clean and moisturized is the key. Wash your hair every 3-4 days with a mild and dermatologist approved shampoo followed by a conditioner, to maintain clean and healthy scalp.
2- Massage Your Hair – Proceed with hot oil infused hair massage multiple times a week. This can help in strengthening the roots and avoiding breakage due to dryness by improving blood circulation.
3- Comb Gently – Using a wide-toothed comb and avoiding combing through wet hair to prevent hair breakage. Be gentle with your hair and avoid heat treatments including straightening and curling to help keep the hair healthy.
4- Get Your Hair Trimmed – Hormones causing havoc on your hair tend to cause textural changes during pregnancy. Timely trims can help with maintaining healthy hair and avoid split ends.
5- Healthy Diet – This is possibly the most important tip to help prevent hair loss during pregnancy. Intake of a diet that is well balanced and rich in essential vitamins and minerals can help tackle hair loss. Include whole grains, leafy vegetables, eggs, chicken, lentils, and fruits in your daily diet.
6- Avoid Stress – Stress can only worsen your hair loss condition. Therefore, avoid getting too stressed about it because you do not want additional hormonal imbalances.
7- Know Your Hair Type – This is necessary even otherwise. Awareness about one’s hair type ensures that you pick products and treatments that complement your hair that help in maintaining its health.
8- Say No To harsh Hair Colour – The chemicals present in certain hair colours can sometimes have an adverse reaction and cause allergies, infections, etc. It is, therefore, in your best interest to avoid hair colouring agents during pregnancy to prevent further hair loss.
Hair Colour During Pregnancy Is It Safe?
Though limited research exists, but chemicals found in hair colour are not highly toxic and may not cause any major side effect. A very small amount of dye or colouring agent may not be harmful to the foetus. Also go for highlights as they only touch the strands of hair and not the scalp. But it is advisable to check with your gynaecologist before applying any colour on your hair during pregnancy.
When Does Hair Stop Falling Out During Pregnancy?
Hair usually stops falling out in most women during their first trimester and until 5th month. This is the time when oestrogen production increases in the body. This helps in elongating the growth phase thus delayed hair-fall.
Doe Hair Loss In Pregnancy Revel The Gender Of The Baby?
No, hair loss does not reveal the gender of the baby. There may be certain old school myths but there is no scientific evidence suggesting the same.
Will Washing My Hair During Pregnancy Harm My Baby?
No, washing your hair during pregnancy does not harm your baby at all. Rather keep your hair and scalp clean, wash it at least twice a week and maintain good hair care routine to prevent severe hair fall or infections.
Is Hair Fall Is A Symptom Of Pregnancy?
No, hair fall is not an indicative symptom of pregnancy. It is just a common occurrence in some women. But most women see thicker hair growth as hormonal surges cause increased hair growth.
Hair loss during pregnancy is not an uncommon phenomenon, even though different women encounter hair loss at different stages in their pregnancy. If the hair growth cycle doesn’t normalize post a few months after delivery and the hair continues to shed, consult a doctor for effective treatments.