Pregnant hair!

by Claudia Keech

I've always been happy to mess with nature, whenit comes to the colour of my hair. Having tried endless colours since the age of 18, I'm not even sure what type of brunette I really am anymore!

The shock of hearing I had to consider "going natural" to avoid chemicals being absorbed by my body and the baby while pregnant, did not go down well! I still wanted to be me, aspire to some sort of glamour to look my best both while I expanded to twice my size, but also after the baby arrived and time to "joush" became limited.

If you are pregnant for the first time, planning another pregnancy or already managing a young family with limited time for hair-styling. Some of the tips from leading Australian hairstylist Jo Gibara will help you make your way through the early days/years of family-life and hair-altering hormones!

Pregnant hair requires a maintenance, which can be quite different to what you have become accustomed. Jo's tips include...

  • Don't make any drastic changes to your hair colour or style during pregnancy. Chopping away at hair length which is perceived to be easier to style is not a good idea. Instead, stick with a length you are comfortable with and can manage; new styles initially tend to create a level of frustration as you learn how to manage them.
  • In the first trimester, opt for a head of highlights instead of dying hair a block colour. A good rule of thumb is to avoid any colours or bleaches that touch the scalp. Foils or highlights are applied to sections of hair and covered, avoiding any possible absorption of chemicals into your system.
  • If opting for at home colour, ensure you are in a well ventilated room, use rubber gloves and leave the colour on for the minimum amount of time required.
  • If you usually perm or chemically straighten your hair, try and choose non-chemical alternatives such as curling wands and straightening irons while pregnant. Look for stylers that donít get too hot and dry hair out. The Braun Independent Steam range of hairstylers features a cordless steam based straightener and curler which allow you to style on the go; at home or in the car. The steam maintains the hairís moisture.
  • If you want a style that is quicker to maintain, look for styling alternatives. Instead of blow drying a wave through your hair, wash and towel dry hair before bed, braid longer segments of hair and leave overnight. In the morning, take it out and style using a little hairspray.
  • Pregnancy will cause changes in your hair, the most common is dryness. To combat dry hair avoid blow drying, use stronger conditioners and leave in treatments. If you arenít sure, ask your hairdresser to advise products to suit your hair type.
  • Invest in a couple of fashionable clips and accessories to give a little extra chic to simple styles like ponytails and buns.
  • If you do take the plunge and opt for a new style, bear in mind faces tend to become a little fuller during pregnancy. Avoid blunt fringes and excessive layering. Instead, opt for a longer length and straighter style which will create the illusion of a slender face.

Finally - remember that being pregnant is an added reason to spend a little extra time on your hair to feel radiant both inside and out. Any changes you are experiencing are only temporary.

For me pregnancy actually resulted in the best head of hair I have ever had in my life. I used a henna treatment as a colour alternative and because I swam daily I also conditioned my hair every day. I also booked a regular appointment with my hairdresser and enjoyed the pampering, the advice and a blissful head massage every 6 weeks!

My mother suggested I read to my 10 month-old baby. Isn't it a bit silly to start reading bedtime stories to such a young infant? No - your mum is right. Connections to the brain that determine how creative, imaginative and clever a child will become have been wired by the time a baby turns one. There are books specifically designed for babies that contain lots of bright pictures and pages of stiff card for older babies with sufficient motor skills to turn the pages. Mem Fox, author of Possum Magic and countless other children's stories, suggests that mums and dads adopt a "reading" voice which is different to talking or conversation. Babies enjoy the gentle consistency of parentsí voices as they "read" or "tell" a story.

There appear to be many websites for babies, but not as many for information on older children. Can you suggest any? Using a search engine such as "Google" will provide you with a host of useful websites. Also - some of the smarter manufacturers of products for parents of growing toddlers and older children are creating fantastic websites with free information from experts on almost any topic you can think of. Fisher Price have a website with a wealth of information from experts covering topics including childcare, sleeping and soothing, playtime and toys, parenting choices and challenges, family matters, social and emotional development, language and learning, behaviour discipline and habits, growth and developmental milestones. Check it out on

This article written by Claudia Keech, founder of motherinc, was orginally published in her parenting column in the Body & Soul liftout of the Sunday Telegraph