Does My Body Hair Grow Faster During Pregnancy?

Pregnant person in bed

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With pregnancy comes a lot of physical and emotional changes. One of them you may or may not notice is an increase in body hair. For some pregnant people, body hair may grow faster, due to the surge of hormones. While some folks may not even notice this “side effect” of pregnancy, others may be annoyed by this sudden growth.

Ahead, we spoke with experts about how and why body hair grows during pregnancy, how to safely remove the hair if you wish, and when you can expect the increased growth to subside.

Is My Body Hair Growing Faster During Pregnancy?

“Hair grows faster during pregnancy due to increased circulating estrogen prolonging the hair's ‘growth’ portion of its life cycle,” says Monica Grover, OB/GYN and chief medical officer at VSPOT.

And that increased hair growth is not necessarily limited to your head. “All body hair [can be] affected due to the estrogen, as well as [an] increased blood flow to deliver hormones and nutrients. Hair may even grow in new areas,” adds Dr. Grover.

Why Do I Have More Body Hair During Pregnancy?

“During pregnancy, an expectant mother will have the highest estrogen concentration she will ever have in her lifetime,” says Dr. Grover. “Due to this surge, hair follicles remain in their growth phase, also known as the anagen phase, for a much longer period."

Not only do these hormones accelerate hair growth, but they can actually increase the hair diameter. In turn, many pregnant people notice that their hair feels and looks thicker and fuller. But this new growth can also appear in unexpected places.

“Pregnancy leads to a hormonal shift,” says Hayley Goldbach, MD, FAAD, FACMS, a double board certified dermatologist/dermatologic surgeon and assistant professor of dermatology at Brown University. “Part of this shift is an increase in androgens, which can cause excessive hair growth on other parts of your body.”

You may notice hair in places you’ve never had it before. “The face, chest, and abdomen areas can start to have increased hair,” says Sheilagh Maguiness, MD, board-certified dermatologist and co-founder of Stryke Club. “Developing hair growth in those areas is completely normal during pregnancy, and tends to improve in the postpartum period."

If you notice an increase of hair on your body, know that this is common and temporary.

How Can I Safely Remove Body Hair During Pregnancy?

There are several ways to safely remove excess body hair while you are pregnant. “Shaving, threading, and waxing are all safe while pregnant,” says Dr. Grover. Doing a test patch before an at-home or in-salon wax is always a good bet, since skin may be more sensitive during this time. Your pain threshold may be different as well.

You should also steer clear of lasers while pregnant. “It’s recommended to avoid laser hair removal during that time, as no studies have specifically been performed to demonstrate safety in pregnancy,” says Dr. Maguiness.

“Hair removal in general can lead to ingrown hairs and potentially infected hair follicles, which should be avoided during pregnancy as antibiotic choices can be limited,” adds Dr. Goldbach.

Remember to consult your own doctor before starting any hair removal routine. If you don’t wish to do anything about your body hair while you’re pregnant, that’s also totally fine.

If you have the desire to remove your hair, specifically in your bikini region, before delivery, know that the hospital staff has seen it all—and certainly won’t judge you either way.

“As a reminder, don't feel any pressure to remove hair for your delivery—I can promise you that your doctors and other healthcare providers not only don't care, but they are also more than comfortable with your natural body hair,” says Dr. Goldbach. Above all, you should do what makes you most comfortable in your own skin.

How Long Will Increased Body Hair Last?

As with many pregnancy symptoms and side effects, an increased amount of body hair will subside once you are postpartum. “New thickness, change in texture, and increased growth should return to normal as hormone levels stabilize at about six months postpartum,” says Dr. Grover.

What About The Hair On My Head?

Remember, since you saw an increase in hair growth during pregnancy, it may appear that you are now losing a large amount postpartum. This is both normal and temporary as well. “Hair shedding [can be] concerning and debilitating for postpartum women, and often adds to preexisting postpartum depression,” says Dr. Grover. “It’s best for the new mom to understand that this is a temporary state and more than likely, they will go back to baseline prior to pregnancy."

Since very little hair shedding happens during pregnancy, the amount during the postpartum period may seem alarming, but it’s really just your body playing catch-up.The best thing new moms can be aware of is that the hair will grow back but, but it’s important to keep in mind that continued stress or a neglected diet can affect the new growth,” says Shab Reslan, a Trichologist & Hair Health Expert based in New York City.

Reslan suggests being mindful of your diet and asking your doctor to check for the appropriate levels of B vitamins, magnesium, iron, Vitamin D3, and zinc, all of which are important for hair health.

“Excessive stress can have a serious negative impact on the hair growing back at around six months postpartum,” says Reslan. “The increase in cortisol levels from stress raises testosterone levels, leading to more hair loss. I recommend stimulating the scalp post-pregnancy in order to get ahead of the hair fall by activating your hair follicles.”

A Word From Verywell

Although some pregnant people will notice an increase in the amount and thickness of body hair during pregnancy, this change is temporary and will likely reverse itself. This change occurs because of the hormonal shift one experiences while expecting a child, and will return to baseline levels a few months after pregnancy. If you are concerned about hair growth—or any other body changes during pregnancy—speak with your OB/GYN or healthcare provider.

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Verywell Family uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
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By Dory Zayas
Dory Zayas is a freelance beauty, fashion, and parenting writer. She spent over a decade writing for celebrity publications and since having her daughter in 2019, has been published on sites including INSIDER and Well+Good.