All You Need To Know About Changes In Hair Growth During Pregnancy
Growing hair in strange places can be common during pregnancy. Some pregnant women can start growing hair on their chin, nipples, belly or even their back.
Or perhaps some of your body hair has vanished in certain areas to leave blissfully smooth skin?
Hormonal changes during pregnancy affect everyone differently. The amount of body hair you grow and where it pops up can vary from one pregnant mama to another.
To understand why this random hair behaviour happens, you need to know a bit about a type of hormone called an androgen.
What’s an androgen?
Androgens are a group of hormones that include male hormones such as testosterone. These are naturally present in females, but they increase throughout pregnancy. Androgens change where the hair grows on the body, sometimes causing it to appear in unexpected places where it’s never grown before, such as around the nipples or on your tummy.
Increased levels of another hormone, oestrogen also change the hair’s growth cycle. Before pregnancy, on average your hair grows at a rate of a centimetre a month and, at any one time, 90 per cent of it grows and falls out, while the remaining 10 per cent stays dormant in a resting phase.
Pregnancy alters this natural cycle
Oestrogen can put a higher percentage of your hair into a resting phase. It may seem that it’s becoming thicker, but actually not as much is falling out. And you might find that body hair feels thicker. The texture and the colour can change too. At the other extreme, it may stop growing altogether.
These hormones are also responsible for darkening of the skin, notably in a line called the “linea nigra” between your belly button and pelvis, around your nipples and on your face – where it’s called chloasma. Not everyone experiences this hyperpigmentation, but if you do, you may feel that it makes your body hair appear more noticeable. But these are all perfectly normal responses in pregnancy.
It doesn’t last for long
After pregnancy when your hormones return to normal, and your natural hair cycle returns to normal this should all return to pre-pregnancy ways. However, if your body hair becomes notably thinner during pregnancy, you should see your doctor, as this could indicate a nutritional deficiency. And, if your body hair hasn’t returned to a normal growth pattern within six months of giving birth, visit your GP to have your hormone levels checked.
In the meantime, if the natural look is not for you and you’d prefer to be fuzz-free, then you need to play safe when it comes to hair removal.
Hair Removal During Pregnancy
Shaving and tweezing are considered safest while pregnant. Waxing is too, although skin is more sensitive during pregnancy, and repeated waxing can cause inflammation.
However, steer clear of depilatory creams and bleaches, It’s believed that chemicals can enter the bloodstream.
The lack of evidence on the safety of laser hair removal or electrolysis during pregnancy means that most mums-to-be postpone salon visits until after the birth. Many avoid epilators for the same reason too.
And remember, however much extra hair you grow on the outside, this is definitely a time when it’s what inside that counts!
Written by Laura Doyle staff writer at FFHQ who also blogs at www.lovelifeandlittleones.com.