Taking Care Of Your Natural Hair During Pregnancy
Through the tough first months of morning sickness to the beautiful hormones that promote hair growth, every woman’s journey during pregnancy is different. However, some symptoms are almost constant in all expectant mothers and one of the main ones is fatigue. You may be a busy mum balancing work and family, but some tasks just seem too exhausting to accomplish, and this is when laziness kicks in. This can definitely tempt you to "let yourself go" and most especially, leave your hair unkempt. You don’t have to be that mum! Here are some tips on how you can care for your curls during this beautiful time!
But first, here’s the inside scoop of what really happens to your hair during pregnancy.
Your hair goes through 3 stages:
(i) The growing phase (anagen)
(ii) The resting phase (categen)
(iii) The shedding phase (telogen)
Due to the elevated level of estrogen in your body, this hormone tends to prolong your hair at the growing stage. This means there will be fewer hairs in the resting stage and fewer in the shedding phase making your mane seem thicker and fuller. After birth however, your estrogen levels will drop significantly and a lot more hair follicles enter the shedding phase causing it to ‘fall out’.
This can vary from woman to woman but they’re certain do's and don'ts of natural hair care during this time that can help keep your mane intact and avoid excessive moisture loss.
1) Maintenance: Your hair could be gaining quite a bit of length but always remember to get a trim at least every 3 to 4 months to keep the dead ends from damaging your hair shaft. Stick to a simple and easy regimen, whether it’s cutting back on your weekly cleanse to a simple co-wash once every 2 weeks, depending on the level of your day to day activities. They’re some great products such as the Dark and Lovely Au Naturale 3 in 1 cleansing conditioner that can wash, detangle and treat your hair all in one go!
2) Nutrition: Aside from your prenatal supplements, ensure to eat a full balanced diet. It can be really hard, especially during the early days and once the cravings kick in, but try as much as you can to ensure you take in foods rich in: Omega-3 fatty acids such as fish, (be sure to take fish that's low in mercury), calcium, leafy, green and dark legumes, lean meat, whole grains and fruits. Keep in mind that you’re eating for two! So remember to take in your extra 500 calories a day! This will help your hair get the essential protein and fat it needs to keep it glowing!
3) Hydration: Almost any doctor will tell you that taking in as much water during pregnancy is extremely important! Not only are you keeping yourself and your baby hydrated, but its added benefits to your hair and skin! Set a goal to take at least 10 - 12 cups a day which is about 2.3 liters.
4) Protective styling: To avoid over manipulation and save precious time as a busy mum, practice doing chunky twist outs or braid outs which you can easily pin up as you leave the house or cover with a wig. Doing large box or crochet braids can also save you time at the salon and avoid sitting for long periods of time.