Natural Hair & Pregnancy: The Basics

After the positive pregnancy test, the well-wishes, the morning sickness, the joy you can’t quite contain and the raging hormones, you still have to do your hair. I have about 8 weeks left to my second pregnancy. Based on my experiences a few years ago with my son, there are a lot of things I’m glad I knew about pregnancy related hair care this time around.

http://www.dreamstime.com/royalty-free-stock-photography-happy-african-american-mother-image21771967

The Inside Scoop

For one—there’s the basic science of what’s happening now that you are growing a human. According to the book The Science of Black Hair: A Comprehensive Guide to Textured Hair Care, (Davis-Sivasothy, Audrey (2011-04-11) (P. 35) there are three basic stages of hair growth:

  1. A growing phase (anagen),
  2. A resting phase (catagen) and
  3. A shedding stage (telogen).

The amount of time your particular hair follicles may spend in any given stage is determined largely by genetics. Hormones play a key role when it comes to hair growth and as those of you with growing baby bumps know—we are full of hormones. The increase in pregnancy hormones is designed to prepare our bodies to give birth.

It just so happens that pregnancy hormones typically lock us into the “anagen” or the growing phase and “catagen” or resting phase.

This means that hairs that were getting ready to shed (the “telogen” phase) don’t actually start shedding on schedule. So in addition to growing crazy amounts of hair (darn near everywhere…) we also don’t shed the typical amount of hair that we do when we are not pregnant.

This is largely the reason why most pregnant women experience a dramatic increase in hair growth and retention.  

However…

Roughly three – six months after the baby bump makes his or her appearance into the world, our hormone levels drop. Dramatically. Like dive of a cliff type of decrease.

During this period we enter the “telogen” phase…which is science speak for saying, honey if ever you were going to experience hair shedding, you are going to experience it during this time.

What To Do While You’re Expecting: Maintenance

My hair has been growing like its on speed. But how does turning into Black-punzel impact my hair care regimen? I typically get a trim every 3 – 4 months. But since growing Baby Girl Favors, my ends have needed more attention than usual.

I can tell that my hair needs trimming when my ends are rough and looking raggedy. If you hold up the ends of your hair to the light and see lots of splitting then you need to get those split ends handled. I know that many of us still like to hold on to length but if you don’t cut off the split ends then your hair becomes much weaker than it ordinarily would and that weakness travels up your hair shaft.

What To Do While You’re Expecting: Nutrition

I’ve also had to increase my nutrient supplements.  In addition to taking my prenatal vitamins (ladies – if you take nothing else away from this post, puh-lease take those prenatals!) I also take an Omega-3 supplement and drink at least one green drink daily.

Omega-3’s are important for hair care (especially during pregnancy) because as noted by NaturallyCurly.com:

Omega-3 Essential Fatty Acids (EFAs) are vital to every cell in the body. The benefits of omega-3 extend to the heart, breast, bone, brain, hair and skin health, without any of the side effects of prescription drugs. That’s not just essential—it’s miraculous!

Omega-3 has gained attention for its ability to combat dry and brittle hair, hair loss, dry, flaky scalp and reduced circulation to the scalp. The benefits of omega-3 EFAs include adding luster, sheen and elasticity to your hair. Both DHA and EPA are vital for the nourishment of hair follicles. Omega-3 can help restart hair growth, help hair grow quicker and stronger—even prevent or reverse hair loss.

You can buy Omega-3’s formulated especially for pregnancy from any reputable health food store.

I take the green drinks because frankly the baby bump is pulling a lot of nutrients out of your body. Even though I eat salad and veggies like a crazy woman, I also know that most of the vegetables in this country are severely depleted due to pesticides and other harmful chemicals. The green drinks ensure that I’m getting the most out of my super foods.

What To Do While You’re Expecting: Hydration

Ok, if you’ve heard it once, you’ve heard it a thousand times: natural hair needs moisture! If you’re seeing an OB/GYN, midwife or doula worth their salt, then you are constantly being told that since you’re pregnant you need to drink tons of water.

Personally my goal is to drink a gallon of water a day (which is about 16 cups). In actuality I usually get up between 10 and 12 cups a day. Which might sound like a lot until you consider the fact that Baby Girl Favors is using a lot of that water to get her growth spurts on.

Add to that the fact that much of the country is just heat wave hot and you realize that you’re loosing a lot of water via perspiration. So bottoms up ladies. Travel with your water bottle and get your drink on.

What about you? How do you manage to keep a healthy head of hair while simultaneously growing a little human? Share your thoughts in the comments below.

And if you’re looking for more thoughts from an Afro State of Mind, check out my book on Amazon.com in paper back or e-book!

 

#DearSheriffLott: Sex With Black People Can’t Cure Racism

Dear Sheriff Leon Lott, It's amazing that I'm using the phrase “sex with Black people” in the title of an open letter. But that’s what happens when someone with your level of … [Continue Reading]

White Supremacy: What it is and How it Operates

“If you don’t understand white supremacy, what it is and how it operates, everything you think you understand will only confuse you.” Neely Fuller, Jr. I’ve heard the words “White … [Continue Reading]

4 Lessons Shea Moisture’s Fail Can Teach Black Businesses Owners

Shea Moisture is a Black owned hair care company in the middle of a racial identity branding crisis. It’s a racial identity branding crisis of such epic proportions that Rachel … [Continue Reading]

Karen’s Body Beautiful: 10 Years and Beyond

As a resident member of the 7M Hair Type Category let me assure you that not all natural hair products are created equal. Neither are the companies that create the … [Continue Reading]

About Lurie Daniel Favors, Esq.

Comments

  1. darnecia says:

    i need help im 5 months pregnant and its very hard for me to control my hair why i am pregnant and before i got pregnant i didnt have much but now i continues to grow and i am lost on how to do it

    • Lurie Daniel Favors, Esq. says:

      Hey Sis! First off – huge congrats to you and the little one! Hair growth during pregnancy can be insane for many women. My hair grew by leaps and bounds – and even though I’m 5 months post partum it is still growing like crazy (I think part of that is due to the fact that I’m still taking pre-natal vitamins b/c I’m nursing #MiniMe). So while one one hand you should try to enjoy this burst of growth, on the other hand it can be a LOT to handle. A LOT. I wore my hair in two strand twists during most of my pregnancy. It was a very easy style for me to do on my own and it allowed me versatility.

      I followed a real simple schedule. Wash, detangle and twist. I kept the twists in for about two weeks and would style them in ponytails, chunky braids or just let them hang. After two weeks I took them out and would wear a twist out for a week or so. And then start all over. This is just one of many routines though so you should adjust timing to what works for you. I hope this helps. And all the best to you and that beautiful baby! Here’s to a smooth and powerful delivery!

  2. Aja says:

    I’m 6 and a half months pregnant and I’ve been experiencing lots of dry hair. I moisturize like normal but my hair still looks so dry. Maybe I need to try the omega-3 vitamin like you suggested. Hopefully it’ll work. My hair is think and about bsl. I just want it to look alive again. 😊

Speak Your Mind

*