Why Does Hair Grow So Fast During Pregnancy?

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While you might not mind thicker hair on your head, fast-growing hair on your arms, legs and other places can be a nuisance during pregnancy. Even though you might need to constantly wax or shave to keep your body hair under control during pregnancy, faster hair growth is usually a temporary condition that will resolve itself shortly after you give birth.

Significance

Pregnancy hormones can change hair growth and texture during pregnancy. These hormones affect all pregnant women differently, causing some women to experience fast-growing hair while others fail to notice any significant changes to their hair during pregnancy. Androgens increase the rate of growth of body and facial hairs, which can cause new hair growth in unexpected and unwanted places, such as your belly or breasts. Estrogens extend your hair’s growing cycle, leading to thicker hair on your scalp.

Time Frame

Women usually start to experience pregnancy-induced hair growth in the first trimester when the levels of androgens in their systems increase. While the rapid growth pattern can continue throughout your pregnancy, dermatologist Alexa Kimball, the director of the Clinical Unit for Research Trials in Skin at Massachusetts General and Brigham and Women's hospitals in Boston, offers reassurance that your hair usually returns to its normal growth pattern three to six months after you give birth.

Misconceptions

Although the hair on your head might appear fuller during pregnancy, you are not actually growing more hairs on your head. The American Pregnancy Association states that on a normal basis, about 90 percent of your hair grows while the other 10 percent rests. The increased level of estrogen in your system makes you lose hair more slowly than normal—leading to a thicker, more luxuriant head of hair.

Warning

Prepare for many of the hairs in your thicker head of hair to fall out after you give birth. When your estrogen levels return to their pre-pregnancy levels, all of the hairs in a prolonged growing state abruptly enter the resting state. This can lead many women to shed large amounts of hair. While alarming, this condition also resolves itself within a year of giving birth.

Prevention/Solution

Stopping or decreasing your hair growth might not be possible, but you can use methods to keep your unruly hair growth under control. Kimball advises against using chemicals such as depilatories or bleaches during pregnancy since these can be absorbed into your bloodstream. Waxing, shaving and plucking are safe during pregnancy, as are permanent methods such as laser hair removal or electrolysis.

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