[By Evanne Lauren]
When you find out that you’re preggers, there’re definitely more to look forward to than the birth of your bundle of joy. Besides the obvious excuse to let loose of your torturous carb free diet, prepare yourself for 9 months of good hair days, too. “I always tell my patients that their hair will be the best it’s ever been during pregnancy, more lush and full with lesser kinks and unmanageable curls.” Says Dr. Chua Han Boon, senior aesthetics physician and hair specialist with The Sloane Clinic.
The typical growth cycle of our hair is made up of 3 phrases— active growth, resting, and shedding. During these phases, we can shed up to 100 hairs a day and that’s still consider within normal limits. When one is knocked up, the extra hormones coursing through your body shift your hair cycle such that hair grows or stays on your head and doesn’t shed. Consequently, pregnant ladies enjoy manes that are longer and thicker than usual. Unfortunately, expect your streak of good-hair days to end a few weeks to months after your baby is born, for all of the hair that stuck around for longer than usual will begin to fall. This can be very dramatic and extremely traumatizing for new mommies who are already stressed out with diaper changing and crying babies. To help address issues of your crowning glory during and after pregnancy, here are 5 great hair care tips that are well worth following, to be a yummy mummy, not frumpy and mumsy!
Work with it, not against it
Just like how your mood may be affected by hormonal changes, your hair can behave in strange ways when you’re pregnant. Sometimes, a woman’s hair becomes more or less curly during or after pregnancy. If you normally have straight hair, it can become unusually wavy while you’re expecting. The exact mechanism is unknown but there’s a lot of thought about whether hormones during pregnancy can alter the shape of the hair follicle and this alteration dictates the shape of the hair fiber. The trick is to work with your hair and not against it. Adapt to any changes that you experience and turn the crisis to an opportunity. It’ll be a lot easier and loads of fun to adopt styles that usually evade your look book rather than fighting with it. You shouldn’t need to change your shampoo, conditioner, hair spray, or blow-dry and curling-iron routine during pregnancy, unless you use prescription dandruff shampoo. Talk to your doctor, because some medicated shampoos can’t be used during pregnancy.
Colour me beautiful?
If you normally colour, highlight, perm, or straighten your hair, you may wonder whether to take a break during pregnancy. Some doctors recommend stopping altogether while others say that it’s fine to carry on, with the general consensus to avoid all kinds of hair treatments involving chemicals during the first trimester. There are not much studies examining the effects of dyes and other hair chemicals in pregnant women. Still, there’s a chance that harsh chemicals may be absorbed via pores deep on your scalp and passed along to your growing baby. If you’re concerned about chemicals but need to keep up your appearance for professional reasons, consider getting highlights or switching to alternative natural dyes such as henna and indigo.
Skip the Brazilian blow dry or any other forms of keratin hair-straightening treatments during pregnancy as they use harmful formaldehyde which is a nasty chemical that one should avoid anyway. You can choose to embrace your curls or use straightening irons instead.
Style for miles
With a protruding belly that’s growing by the day, you may have neither the energy nor inclination to fuss about your crowning glory. After you popped, time dedicated to personal grooming and hair care will probably hit an all-time low. It makes sense therefore to opt for a style that’s easy to care for. This does not automatically mean that you got to put your lovely locks on the chopping board. Short styles often require frequent maintenance cuts and need careful styling to get them looking right.
Take into account your face shape, which may be getting rounder by the minute. Short bangs and blunt cuts often make the face appear wider. So will middle parts. Select styles that’ll help elongate your face and some good choices include long layers, side parts, shoulder length hair, and longer bangs swept to the side. These styles won’t look a mess if you don’t have time for a trim and just a dab of gel will hold them in place if they won’t go to the side without a fight.
Postpartum hair preparation
Hormones keep your hair in fabulous condition while you’re pregnant but the honeymoon is over once the baby is born. Known medically as postpartum alopecia, female hair loss after delivery is simply your hair returning to its normal growth cycle with hair falling off at a faster rate. This usually presents as gradual thinning of hair but can result in the formation of unsightly bald patches spread over the scalp. According to the American Pregnancy Association, 40% to 50% of women will experience hair loss up to 6 months post delivery. It can be mild and back to normal in good time or can be very dramatic and extremely traumatizing, at times leading to or aggravating symptoms of postpartum depression.
In recent years, laser light therapy has gained momentum as an effective treatment of hair loss. The FDA approved Revage 670 Laser is widely recognised as the gold standard to your follicular woes, rejuvenating postpartum thinning hair to nothing short of resplendent. With a total of 30 laser diodes, Revage provides critical coherent beams as a direct source of low level laser energy in a hood that goes over the scalp to ensure maximum contact with the areas to be treated. With no injections nor chemicals involved, Revage is no doubt safe for pregnant ladies and breastfeeding mothers. Studies have shown an 85% success rate in halting hair loss with an almost 40% of increased fullness reported. Therefore, this is not just a treatment that targets current hair thinning but is also useful to help prevent further hair loss, providing the perfect solution to yummy mummies troubled by hair loss woes.
Following a healthy, balanced diet is obviously good in the overall sense for you and your unborn child. When it comes to healthy hair, it’s not just what you put on your tresses that counts — it’s what you put in your body, too. Because hair is nearly all protein, foods rich in protein are literally giving you the building blocks for a head of shampoo ad-worthy hair. Choose from chicken breast, salmon, sweet potatoes, Greek yogurt and lentils. A vitamin supplement approved by your gynae should be thrown in for good measures.
Remember that pregnancy is not all about the baby. If you look good yourself while preggers, you will feel good and appreciate the whole journey better too.
* Selected as Editor’s Choice Jul 2014*