Hair loss during pregnancy is quite unusual. Most women find that their hair is thicker and fuller when they are pregnant. It is much more common for hair to fall out, sometimes in large amounts, after the birth of your baby rather than when you are pregnant.
There isn't much information about hair loss during pregnancy. One possibility is that hair may become drier as a result of the hormone progesterone, which is released in high levels during pregnancy.
If this is the case, your hair will be more prone to crack and break, especially in later pregnancy. As it breaks off near the roots it may look like hair loss, although it actually isn't. Either way, this can be very distressing.
If you are losing hair during your pregnancy, talk your midwife or doctor. This way, you can be sure that there is no other reason for your problem. This is especially important if you have a long-term health condition.
In the meantime, try these tips to limit the damage to your hair:
• Try not to over-brush your hair. This can help prevent further damage.
• Use a mild shampoo and conditioner.
• When your hair is wet, use a detangling brush or comb.
• Only wear your hair tied up in a ponytail or bun occasionally, as this may pull on your hair and make it more likely to break.
• Try not to use chemical dyes or straightening treatments. They can affect the condition of your hair and make it drier and more brittle.
Some experts suggest that eating plenty of fruit and vegetables that are rich in flavonoids and antioxidants may protect hair follicles and encourage growth. The evidence for this is scant, but it's still worth trying. Eating fruit and vegetables will be good for the health of you and your baby, even if they turn out to do nothing for your hair.
It is possible that if you continue to lose hair during your pregnancy, you may not lose as much as other mums after your baby is born. However, this is not certain.
After the birth of your baby, it may take some time for your hair to return to normal. Try to be patient as your whole body, including your hair, returns to its pre-pregnancy state.
Last reviewed: August 2013