Skin Hair & Nail Changes During Pregnancy
Written by: Co-Founder Maria Davi
Medically Reviewed by Dr. Nicole Palmer, DO
In this article:
While pregnant your body goes through a lot of changes, including your hair. Who would’ve known their best hair days of their life were going to be while they were pregnant? You may start experiencing hair growing as fast as a “ch-ch-ch-chia pet”, and growth in new spots of your Body.
We will discuss everything you need to know about hair growth during pregnancy and tips on how to deal with it!
What causes hair growth during pregnancy?
Hair follicles go through two stages simultaneously: active growth stage and resting stage. On average, 90% of a healthy woman’s hair follicles are in the active growth stage, while the other 10% are in the resting stage, causing around 50-100 hair strands to naturally shed throughout the day. However, a pregnant mama’s increased estrogen level temporarily changes the normal hair growth cycle, preventing hair follicles from entering the resting stage (and shedding). Hair appears thicker and fuller due to less shedding.
Unfortunately, higher levels of estrogen also stimulate excessive hair growth all over your body. Many pregnant women report hair growth on their stomachs and other areas where they generally didn’t have hair. This simply means your hormones are working hard, aiding the growth and development of your healthy baby. The extra hair can be cosmetically annoying but is harmless and will likely go away after childbirth.
Is it common for your nails to grow faster?
Some pregnant women might not notice a difference in their nails. Some may experience faster nail growth and may develop harder nails. This is also caused by the increase of hormones in your body and the extra intake of folate and biotin from your prenatal vitamins.
These changes in your nails are temporary and should return to normal sometime after childbirth. Getting all the nutrients and vitamins your body needs aid your fingernails to be in good shape three to six months after birth, your toenails could take up to nine to a year.
How early in pregnancy does your hair change and is it permanent or temporary?
Many women experience their hair feeling luscious around 15 weeks of pregnancy. Your hair might appear healthier, shinier, and feel thicker, but each hair strand doesn’t become thicker itself. Now that all your hair follicles are in the active growth stage, you aren’t shedding much hair. Leaving you with more hair on your head and actively growing.
Embrace and enjoy your new hair during pregnancy. The extra thickness and fullness is a temporary perk of pregnancy that will not last far beyond delivery.
How much does your hair grow during pregnancy?
On average, a normal healthy person’s hair grows around half an inch a month. During pregnancy, some women report their hair growing upwards of an inch a month! Maintaining your new hair growth during pregnancy will help with postpartum hair loss.
Is it normal to have more facial or body hair?
It is totally normal to grow facial hair and/or body hair (like belly hair) while pregnant. This possibly happens for two reasons, first because of the increased androgens, estrogen, human chorionic gonadotropin, progesterone, prolactin, numerous growth factors, and cytokines your body produces during pregnancy. Secondly because of the extra intake of folate from your prenatal vitamins prenatal vitamins.
Unfortunately, these hormonal changes due to pregnancy may cause new hair growth on your belly, legs, face, pretty much everywhere on your body. This may cause you to wonder which different methods of hair removal options are best to help remove unwanted hair. No worries, you can still remove unwanted hair safely during pregnancy.
What helps with pregnancy hair growth?
Here are some tips for dealing with pregnancy hair growth:
We advise visiting your hairdresser before giving birth to get rid of all split and damaged ends, helping your hair looking and feeling healthier during postpartum.
Waxing and sugaring are both considered safe for pregnant women. Warning, it may be more painful due to estrogen increasing blood flow causing your skin to become more sensitive.
Shaving is the safest and least painful way to remove hair during pregnancy. As you and your baby grow, it may become difficult to shave. Always take precautions while shaving, either by sitting in the bath or on the edge of the tub.
Is laser hair removal safe during pregnancy?
While many pregnant women experience excess hair growth, some may also experience new hair growth in areas of their body that never had hair (like their chin!). Our OBGYN, Dr. Nicole Palmer, recommends avoiding laser hair removal during pregnancy, as do many health care providers. This is due to the lack of information about the effect on developing baby.
Laser hair removal uses light energy, causing thermal damage to the hair follicles that inhibits or delaying hair growth. There isn’t enough research to know if this method of hair removal is safe for your unborn baby.
Nicole Tuccillo, a laser hair removal technician at the body bar mentions, “You should never receive laser hair removal during pregnancy. This kind of hair growth is due to your body’s hormonal changes during pregnancy and is temporary. You can easily manage hormonal hair growth in other ways like waxing or shaving.”
Hair After Pregnancy
Shortly after pregnancy, your hormones will return back to their normal levels causing your hair, nail, and skin to also return back to normal. Many women during their fourth trimester (postpartum stage) experience hair loss. Don’t worry this is also just temporary! Postpartum hair loss is a normal process our bodies go through to return back their pre-pregnancy body. Check out our blog on Natural Postpartum Hair Loss Remedies to help assist you with hair loss after childbirth.