Care Hair

Hair do’s and don’ts during Pregnancy

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APARNA GUPTA gives a complete guide on how to take care of your tresses as a little soul grows within your body.

How often have we heard women mention pregnancy and hair loss in the same breath? Apart from hair fall, sometimes the hair might become thinner, drier or frizzier. Some women also start noticing breakage and brittleness. Another common issue is mild scalp sensitivity accompanied by itching and dandruff. The hormones playing up during the nine months of pregnancy and three months after delivery hold the power to manipulate the lustre and texture of the hair. Hair fall is often an indication of something amiss within the body’s internal system.

Impact of Fluctuating Hormones on Hair
Hair problems are most pronounced in the postpartum phase or to be precise, three months after the delivery. Dr. Geetika Mittal Gupta, Founder and Medical Director at ISAAC, explains, “The hormonal surge during pregnancy generally prolongs the resting phase of hair follicles making the head full of long tresses. In the three months, post-delivery, is when estrogen level gets low and this is when the hair fall or Telogen Effluvium starts.” The good news is that this hair loss is temporary and can be totally reversed with a good diet and prescribed supplements. Though not very common, sometimes women may suffer hair loss even during pregnancy due to vitamin and mineral deficiency. Discuss with your gynaecologist which vitamins and mineral supplements are safe to consume. Sudden greying of hair during pregnancy is attributed to iron, iodine and protein deficiencies. “Alopecia Areata, an autoimmune medical condition which leads to bald patches in the scalp may sometimes be triggered during the late stages of pregnancy,” adds Dr. Gupta. If you are suffering from thyroid or PCOS take additional care to ensure that the levels of hormones are completely under control during and post-delivery. A sudden imbalance can precipitate severe hair fall.

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How to control Pregnancy-induced hair fall
Besides the regular dietary supplements, ensure that your diet is rich in proteins and antioxidants to prevent hair loss during and post pregnancy. Dr Gupta lists yoghurt, egg, nuts, pulses and fruits like pomegranate, papaya and cheese as diet must-haves. Supplements such as biotin, zinc, vitamin C and vitamin E are especially beneficial for glowing skin and lustrous hair.

“Massage the head with cold-pressed coconut oil or warm ghee as it stimulates blood circulation in the scalp and helps prevent too much shedding. This should be started during pregnancy and continued till six months post childbirth,” advises Dr. Gupta.

Use shampoos and conditioners that contain biotin and silica. Avoid using thin hair combs and combing wet hair as fragile hair breaks more easily. Tight hairstyles, pigtails and hair bands that stretch the hair increase the pressure on tresses and hence aggravate hair fall.

Salon Treatments to Embrace and Avoid
“Pregnant women should opt for regular hair spa rituals, such as the System Professional Reborn treatment. This process is scientific and starts with an in-depth analysis of the hair. You know exactly what your hair is going through from the scalp to the tips, and this helps find and prepare the right solution for your issues,” says Swati Gupta, Creative Director of Bodycraft Spa & Salon. She points out while touch-ups or global colouring could come with restrictions, creative colouring is usually fine unless the client is in the last trimester, as her back pain aggravates from sitting for long hours. Swati, who is a master colourist, explains that during creative colouring, the colour is not touching your scalp, therefore there is no way that it can enter your bloodstream.

However, she believes that it’s better to be cautious and check with your gynaecologist before scheduling any procedure that involves the use of synthetic chemicals. She adds, “If you are already facing hair fall, or are having scalp sensitivity or your hair is unevenly dry, then you must avoid doing things with too much heat and potent chemical treatments.”

From a medical point of view, Dr. Gupta suggests that procedures involving synthetic chemicals should be strictly avoided till the first trimester. “Colouring of hair should be limited to only using henna or just a few highlights. Straightening of hair involves the use of formaldehyde which in turn can aggravate hair loss and the odour of such products can precipitate nausea and vomiting.”

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A good diet supported by a good care regime will ensure those hair woes are kept at bay during and
post pregnancy.