1. Can I color my hair while I am pregnant? I get this question all the time. You can get highlights in any trimester because the chemicals don’t touch the scalp, but you should wait until after the first trimester to dye your hair. Because the color is placed directly on the scalp, it can potentially get absorbed into your blood and make its way to the baby via the placenta. The first trimester is very important for growth and development and products that can be potentially harmful to a developing baby should be avoided in the first trimester. Though we do not actually have any studies that show that hair dye is harmful to developing babies, that is because it is really hard to get pregnant women to volunteer to test out various chemicals while they are pregnant. Because there is so much blood flow to the scalp, it is best to avoid chemicals that could potentially cause birth defects in the first trimester. If you absolutely need to dye the roots in the first trimester, please use a vegetable based dye, which means avoiding any products that use ammonia or peroxide. Many women use a henna product since it is plant based.
2. What about a relaxer or a Brazilian Blowout? Again, we don’t know the effects of these chemicals on a developing baby. So the answer is, if you absolutely need to get one of these types of treatments, please wait until after the first trimester. Also be aware that because your hair and skin undergo changes from the hormonal milieu while you are pregnant, these treatments may not have the same result while you are pregnant. Another thing to consider is that these products have a very strong odor: Just as you can have sensitivity to certain types of foods while pregnant, you may have a more intense reaction to the smell of these chemicals while pregnant.
3. What’s the best way to get rid of unwanted hair while I am pregnant? Shaving and waxing remain safe methods to get rid of hair while you are pregnant, but many women experience more pain and sensitivity when they are pregnant. Avoid hair removal or bleaching creams-similarly to dying your hair, they can be absorbed through your skin into your blood stream. Also avoid laser hair removal because it can cause pigmentation changes (light or dark spots where the hair is removed). Electrolysis is also not recommended: It either uses an electric current or heat to remove hair, and the safety of these methods are not known. Electrolysis can also cause pigmentation changes while pregnant.
There you have it, a general guide to hair care in pregnancy! As always, if you have specific questions be sure to discuss these with your provider, but remember, you can still treat yourself to the hair look you want during pregnancy :)