I'm currently pregnant for the third time, yet still feel like a rookie in many ways. This morning I noticed my hair looking healthier than it had in a long time and after mentally congratulating myself on my recent shampoo selection, I realized it could actually be a pregnancy side effect. After all, the work of gestation has been known to affect hair growth and health. Maybe those natural highlights I've noticed aren't just the result of the summer sun. But does pregnancy make your hair change colors?
California-based doula Monique Cowan says that pregnancy can definitely change your hair color. "The hormones and chemicals in your body are doing all sorts of craziness in you during pregnancy, so your hair, skin, and even your eyes can develop an increase in melanin," she tells Romper in an interview. "For some women, the change can be permanent. Lots of women also experience their hair greying postpartum."
According to Today's Parent, gestating women have their good friends estrogen and androgen to thank for healthier-looking locks. (Of course, seeing much of it fall out postpartum is the flip side of that coin but hey, look on the bright side while you can.) But if you find yourself going gray during pregnancy, it might be a red flag that your nutritional intake isn't what it should be.
Prematurely graying hair is one symptom of a vitamin B-12 deficiency, and can be countered by taking care to increase the amount of the nutrient you're getting. Vegans and vegetarians are particularly susceptible to this deficiency, but with a little intentionality people with all diet restrictions should be able to get enough B-12.
The most common hair-related pregnancy symptoms include thickening, getting either more straight or more curly, finding new growth in unwanted places, and a deviation from your typical level of oiliness or dryness. Actually seeing your hair change color during pregnancy is pretty rare, but not unheard of.
Some women do report that their hair has lightened or darkened during pregnancy, and everyone knows those human-growing hormones can do some crazy things. If you're tempted to dye your tresses, talk to your medical provider and hair stylist about your options. Otherwise chalk it up to another part of the wild ride of pregnancy, where you never know what you're going to get.