beautiful pregnant womanPregnancy is all about change - body change, life change and hormonal change. Hormonal change is responsible for changes in everything from muscle tension to hair growth. During a normal month, estrogen levels rise and fall, but after pregnancy estrogen levels remain elevated for the duration of pregnancy. Increased estrogen is responsible for the thicker, fuller hair pregnant women experience, but hair is not necessarily physically thicker during pregnancy.

The Normal Hair Growth Cycle
At any given time about 90% of a woman’s hair follicles are in the active growth stage. The other 10% is resting, which means the hairs growing out of the resting follicle fall out. The natural shedding process is healthy. It is estimated that women lose about 100 hairs each day during a normal growth cycle.

Pregnancy and the Altered Hair Growth Cycle
Elevated estrogen levels force a change in the normal hair growth cycle. The 10% of hair follicles in resting state remain in place so hair does not shed. Those 100 hairs normally shed each day remain in place and new growth continues. Over time, hair appears thicker and fuller, but the hair shaft has not changed shape. Each hair is not thicker, pregnant women just have more hair because less hair is shedding.

Are the Changes Permanent?
Increased hair thickness and fullness is only temporary. After delivery, estrogen levels and the hair cycle return to normal. Some women experience gradual postpartum hair loss peaking at about three to six months after giving birth. Other women find all the extra hair falls out at once. Pregnant women can expect hair growth cycles to return to normal within the first year after giving birth.

Do All Women Experience Hair Changes During Pregnancy?
All women do experience changes in hair growth cycles during pregnancy, but the changes tend to be more noticeable in women with longer hair. Women with shorter hair may notice increased thickness or heaviness. Styling shorter hair may be more or less difficult, depending on the style.

Is Increased Hair Growth Confined to the Head?
Many pregnant women report increased hair growth on the face, arms and legs. Pregnancy hormones are partially responsible for increased hair growth on the body. After delivery, extra hair tends to fall out as the hair growth cycle returns to normal.

Enjoy your new hair during pregnancy. The extra thickness and fullness is a temporary perk of pregnancy that will not last far beyond delivery.