She is already the proud owner of a healthy head of hair, but the Duchess of Sussex’s locks are looking better than ever since falling pregnant.
Now a trichologist has revealed the fascinating science behind the ‘pregnancy hair’ phenomenon and what expectant mums like Meghan can do to keep their manes in mint condition after giving birth.
‘Hair loss and thinning is one of the most common complaints of women following pregnancy, with most women experience some sort of hair loss after giving birth,’ explains Jane Mayhead, Senior Trichology Consultant at The Private Clinic of Harley Street.
‘It is the fluctuating hormone levels during pregnancy and following child birth are the primary cause of thinning for new mothers.
‘What many people don’t realise this that during pregnancy, women will often find that they will have a much full head of hair as the anagen cycle, or growth cycle, of the hair is prolonged.’
Meghan isn’t the only high-profile celebrity whose hair has received a boost due to changing hormones, following in the footsteps of country singer Carrie Underwood and supermodel Lily Aldridge.
The Duchess of Sussex is enjoying a boost to her already thick and healthy hair during pregnancy according to Jane Mayhead, Senior Trichology Consultant at The Private Clinic of Harley Street (pictured left, with thinner hair in London in January and right, with a thicker mane in Sydney in October)
How it works
Jane explains: ‘The increased levels of hormones during pregnancy can cause the growth cycle of the hair to increase, meaning the hair is less frequently renewed and replaced at the site of the follicle, and women will experience thicker and shiner hair.
‘I tend to find that most women will experience some level of increased volume by around the six-month mark.
‘Hair normally grows at a rate of around 1cm each month and marginally faster during pregnancy. However the most significant change that pregnant women will experience will be in volume due to the change in growth cycle and reduced hair fall.’
What’s the real secret behind Meghan’s hair?
‘There are, of course, other possibilities to consider. It is highly likely that Meghan may also be avoiding putting harsh chemicals in her hair.
‘From experience, I find that lots of pregnant women and celebrities, particularly those who are very health conscious, will avoid using dye or chemicals in their hair in case it has negative affects on the unborn baby.
‘She may also be eating more calories, healthy foods and increasing her intake in iron which can help to promote hair growth.
Carrie Underwood in 2016, a year after welcoming her first child (left) and in November 2018, currently pregnant with her second child (right)
Lily Aldridge in March 2018, before announcing her second pregnancy (left) and in August, while pregnant with her second child and rocking thick and luscious hair (right)
‘The folic acid that many expectant mothers take before they fall pregnant can also help to improve and stabilise hair growth patterns. It’s important to remember that simply using certain products can enhance the volume of hair significantly.
‘I have also noticed that in some recent photos her hair is looking less dry that before pregnancy.
‘During pregnancy women will experience less of the imbalances in hormones that you would associate with your monthly cycle causing more regulatory oil secretions, resulting in gorgeous glossy locks. There are more of hormones that have the positive effects on hair skin and mood.’
Postpartum hair loss (and how to avoid it)
‘When the hormone levels decrease after child birth, the growth and thickness of the hair will also decrease. This hair loss can be more common than people think and I do quite frequently see patients who are concerned about post pregnancy hair loss and/or thinning.
Jane Mayhead, Senior Trichology Consultant at The Private Clinic of Harley Street, has noticed that in some recent photos her hair is looking ‘less dry that before pregnancy’ (Meghan pictured in Sydney, Australia in October)
‘In terms of how to prevent this, there is no quick fix for this kind of problem. However, there are certain steps that can be taken to improve the condition and growth of hair.
‘Heat is one of the biggest factors which causes damage to your hair. So regardless of whether or not you are pregnant, excessive blow drying and use of heated styling appliances can be the make or break of your hair- literally!
‘This is particularly the case in the months following pregnancy when hair is at its most fragile.
‘As well as this, maintaining a balanced diet can help boost the strength of hair. Keratin is the fibrous protein in hair and nails which is the main structural element.
‘Therefore, a diet consisting of protein rich foods will naturally boost the keratin and consequently, strength of hair. Also ensure Iron levels are maintained through adding more Iron rich foods regularly. Some women have noticed less hair fall if they breastfeed but there is little research in this.’