5 Unexpected Ways Pregnancy Changes Your Hair

We asked experts what to expect of your hair when you're expecting.

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When we think of pregnancy and the changes it brings to the body, we likely think most of a bulging belly, maybe fuller breasts, and glowing skin. But pregnancy is a time of incredible bodily change—even to the hair. We asked experts what to expect of your hair when you're expecting.

First, Your Hair Gets Gorgeous

Picture a Pantene commercial in your bathroom every morning. During pregnancy, your locks become noticeably thicker, said Chloe Zera, MD, an ob-gyn at Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston.

Normally "your hair goes through active and dormant phases of growth," said Dr. Zera, and there's a nice balance between the two: Some hairs in the dormant phase fall out while others in the active phase grow. "Pregnancy puts more hair into the active growing phase." You'll want to embrace these good hair days because, well, they don't last.

Then, It Falls Out

After baby, things can turn scary in the shower when your hair seems to come out in clumps. But deep breath: You are not actually going bald, said Nicole Williams, MD, founder of The Gynecology Institute of Chicago. "When you're pregnant, your body is in hyperdrive, replicating DNA rapidly and utilizing all its resources. After birth, that process slows to a stop. The new hair you were growing while you were pregnant no longer has the same resources to grow."

A sudden drop in hormones three to six months after delivery causes more hair follicles to enter the dormant phase, and that's when you may start to notice shedding, according to the American Academy of Dermatology (AAD). The bad news is that you can't really do anything about it. But the upshot is your hair will start to grow back. Hang in there!

One caveat: If your hair loss is associated with changes in bowel movements, unintended weight loss, or an intolerance to heat or cold, alert your healthcare provider. They may want to do a simple blood test to ensure your thyroid is functioning as it should, said Dr. Zera.

You May Grow a 'Beard'

Sprouting chin hairs? You can blame hormones again. Unwanted hair growth in places like your face or nipples can happen when you're pregnant—and postpartum. "If your estrogen levels remain elevated after pregnancy, the body utilizes an enzyme to change the estrogen to testosterone," said Dr. Williams, which can lead to a "beard."

Laser treatments and waxing are always options, or you can talk to your dermatologist. If they recommend medication, remember to tell them if you're breastfeeding, so they can prescribe a compatible med, said Dr. Zera.

And a 'Halo'

As your hair returns to normal, you may notice a difference near your forehead. This is the "whispies" phase. Whispies are those tiny, baby hairs that don't respond to styling efforts.

"You'll get this halo of hair around your hairline that all grows in at once," said Dr. Zera. It's more noticeable if you have long hair because when you try to pull it back in a ponytail, the new hairs slip out, said Dr. Zera. This could be why many moms opt for a bob.

Your Hair Might Be Thinner

You may notice that the general texture of your hair feels different too.

"Due to the growth phase of hair slowly restarting, the new hair will seem finer," said Dr. Williams. To deal, you'll have to learn new ways to style your hair or experiment with new products. But about a year after you give birth, the texture of your locks should finally go back to normal, assured Dr. Williams.

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