Pregnancy is a time of change but the changes are different for each woman. Some may experience morning sickness while others may not. You may find your body changes in ways your friend’s body did not when she was pregnant. Hormonal fluctuations can trigger hair, skin and nail changes, including both increased and decreased hair growth.
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Hair goes through a three-phase growth cycle. The first phase is called anagen and lasts for two to six years. This is the active growing part of the cycle. The second phase is catagen and is a short phase where the hair becomes keratin, hair protein. The last phase is telogen. During this phase the hair falls out and the hair follicle re-enters the first phase, anagen, to begin the process all over again.
Pregnancy is when a woman has a growing fetus, typically within the uterus, inside her. It lasts almost 10 months from the start of the last menstrual period to childbirth. The first sign of pregnancy is usually one or more missed periods but this may also be a sign of a health problem. Other signs of pregnancy include nausea or vomiting, fatigue, headaches, sore breasts, food cravings, mood swings and frequent urination. Over-the-counter pregnancy tests can help determine if you are pregnant. See your doctor if you think you may be pregnant.
During pregnancy your hair will become thicker. This is because of higher levels of the hormone estrogen, which prevents normal hair loss, according to the March of Dimes website. Hair stays in the resting phase, catagen, longer than usual and fewer hairs enter the telogen phase, creating a thicker, fuller head of hair. For most women this is also due to added nutrition or prenatal vitamins. Your hair will seem to have stopped growing but it is not a permanent change.
After pregnancy your body returns to its pre-pregnancy state. Your hair goes back to the normal growth cycle and the resting phase shortens again. This can result in a sudden loss of hair making your hair seem thinner but it’s your hair follicles returning to the natural growth cycle. Though more hair falls out, new hair begins to grow again.
If you are experiencing decreased hair growth during pregnancy, there may be an underlying problem and you should contact your doctor. A hormonal imbalance may cause a thyroid problem or you may have a vitamin or mineral deficiency, according to the March of Dimes website.