Hair today, gone post-natal

Part of the pregnancy bloom is the mane of luscious locks which develops as hormones start messing with your head, literally.
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March of Dimes explains, that when you aren’t pregnant your hair goes through a cycle of growth (1/2 inch every month for 2-6 years), resting and then dropping. So “at any one time, about 10% of the hair on your scalp is in a resting phase, and about 90% is growing”. During pregnancy, increased oestrogen levels mean the hair grows more and remains in the resting period for longer so more of it stays on your head.

But it can’t last, once you’ve had the baby your hormones return to normal (about 12 weeks after the delivery) and as a result so does your hair, and that means all that hair that has been peacefully resting on your head has gotta go. In fact, babycenter explains that “normally, you lose about 100 to 125 hairs a day, but after delivery, you may be losing about 500 a day”. And suddenly your thick mane is reduced to being worse than you started with. It could take six months to recover to normal thickness (over which you may have a fun amount of baby hair sprouting from your hairline), or it may never recover.

There are other changes in pregnancy your hair may never recover from too. Those pesky hormones can make straight hair curlier or vice versa, and dry hair oilier or the other way round.

Since returning from Guadeloupe, I have noticed that my hair is less greasy than normal and that I don’t have to wash it every other day as I would normally. This is a particularly timely development as our boiler has packed up, so currently washing involves significant time watching our less than reliable kettles boil (really must take the one in warranty back…) and their contents make precious little difference to the height of water in the bath. And hair washing involves more kettles than normal washing, so the longer I can put it off the better!

Of course I could just say I was taking up the old Indian tradition of not washing your hair for the first seven months of pregnancy in order not to wash the baby’s good fortune away. Although starting to do so at over six months pregnant is probably being a bit late to the party.

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