Before giving birth to my beautiful son this year, I had experienced what most moms do during pregnancy. My first trimester included morning sickness and fatigue, both of which were not limited to the day time. Weight gain and a resurgence in energy accompanied my second trimester, and so did food cravings. The third trimester arrived with insatiable hunger, frequent bathroom visits, and the waiting game for my little bundle of joy. However, the amazing hair growth that many expectant mothers mention never came my way — at least not for the scalp on my head.

The reality for me and my hair was very different during pregnancy. The hair on my head did not appear to grow any faster or thicker than it did months earlier. If anything, my hair seemed to become more damaged during pregnancy and retained no length. This experience was in spite of the protective styling and deep conditioning I diligently followed in the last half of my pregnancy and the expensive salon care in the first half. Even as the third trimester moved into a “fourth trimester” (yep, I stayed pregnant a little longer than 40 weeks), the ends of my hair exhibited severe split ends!

Almost halfway there.

Where my hair did grow like weed was seemingly everywhere but my scalp. The little hairs on my protruding belly grew the longest I had ever seen them grow or thought at all possible. My eyebrows also grew in so rapidly that plucking them weekly no longer did the trick. Strands of hair also started to sprout in places they hadn’t before — including under my chin. Perhaps what was most surprising (and comical) was that my doctor could feel an immense amount of hair growing on my son’s head during a routine visit! Additionally, from the moment he was born, strangers have commented on “all that hair” on his head. (I would like to think my hair suffered to grow my son’s luscious mane.)

Now what I did experience on my scalp during pregnancy was severe dandruff. My scalp was so insanely itchy that one would have thought I was carrying lice. (I remember scratching so much that I started to bleed at one point.) My scalp was also so flaky that I could make it snow on a black table surface. Being that I have never really had scalp issues prior to that moment, my skin was a complete 180 from what it had been. While previously I could go weeks without washing my hair, I now had to shampoo more frequently and with a product containing zinc. No one had prepared me for this surprising side effect of pregnancy.

After having my baby boy, the two new hairs under my chin have continued to grow despite constant plucking. However, the dandruff has almost disappeared at this point and the itching has gone. In spite of it all, this pregnancy experience was well worth it to produce my little hairy angel.