Can You Perm Your Hair While Pregnant?

When expecting, mothers often have a frequent inquiry Can I perm my hair while pregnant? This is mainly because pregnancy brings physical changes and concerns about what beauty treatments are safe.

So can you perm your hair while pregnant? Let’s break it down.

During pregnancy, hormones can affect hair texture and growth. Some women experience thicker, faster-growing hair. Others deal with drier, more brittle hair. A perm could potentially help add volume, waves, or curls to create more manageability.

However, since a perm involves applying harsh chemicals to permanently reshape the hair, it’s completely natural for pregnant women to wonder if this hair treatment could pose any risks to themselves or their developing baby during this crucial time.

The chemicals alter the structure of the hair, but could they also be absorbed into the skin and bloodstream? What precautions are needed? When is the right time during the pregnancy trimesters to get a perm done safely? These are all key considerations for the health of both mother and child.

Let’s take a closer in-depth look at the safety, risks, timing, and precautions regarding perming hair during pregnancy to help inform and reassure expecting mothers.

Are Perm Chemicals Safe During Pregnancy?

The main solutions used in perms are ammonium thioglycolate or sodium thioglycolate. These chemicals break the bonds in the hair protein structure to allow reshaping.

Neutralizers containing hydrogen peroxide follow to restructure and set the curls or waves. Other ingredients may include ammonia, bromates, resorcinol, and various oils.

The question that often arises is, Is it safe to give a perm while pregnant? This is mainly because the chemicals could potentially be absorbed into the skin and reach the developing baby’s bloodstream.

According to The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG), small amounts of these chemicals are unlikely to be harmful. But high or prolonged exposure could potentially have risks.

Since perms involve an extended chemical processing time, caution is advised. There are no definitive long-term studies on perm solution risks during pregnancy. But possible concerns include:

  • Disrupting fetal development
  • Contributing to low birth weight
  • Increasing chance of birth defects

Additionally, some women may experience skin sensitivities or allergic reactions during pregnancy. So a patch test is recommended before any chemical hair treatment.

Precautions for Perming Hair While Pregnant

While the occasional perm is likely fine, it’s smart to take some precautions. Therefore, if you’re considering getting a perm during pregnancy, take into account the following guidelines.

  • Wait until after the first trimester. The first 12 weeks are the most critical for fetal development.
  • Space perms at least 8 weeks apart to avoid overexposure to chemicals.
  • Select an ammonia-free perm solution to minimize chemical exposure.
  • Opt for a partial perm that only treats sections of hair rather than a full head.
  • Ask your stylist to use the lowest effective strength of the perm solution.
  • Request foil wraps around the hairline to minimize skin contact.
  • Rinse thoroughly after the neutralizer to remove all traces of chemicals.
  • Avoid other chemical hair treatments like hair color within 24-48 hours of perming.

Can I Dye My Hair While Pregnant?

Wondering if hair dyes are safe during pregnancy?

Since perms often lead to considerations of hair color, it leads to the question, Can you perm or dye your hair while pregnant? Again, the occasional use of professional hair dye that minimizes skin contact is considered low-risk by some doctors.

But to err on the side of caution, the safest approach recommended by many experts is to wait until after pregnancy to use any type of hair dye, whether permanent, semi-permanent, or temporary rinses. If you still choose to dye your hair while pregnant, follow these guidelines:

  • Wait until at least the second trimester, as absorption risks are higher in the first trimester when fetal organs are developing.
  • Space out any hair coloring treatments by at least 8-10 weeks apart to limit chemical exposure.
  • Select an ammonia-free, vegetable-based semi-permanent formula for minimal chemical levels. Avoid permanent dyes which have higher chemical concentrations.
  • Opt for highlights rather than full color for less scalp contact with chemicals. Foil highlights help create a barrier.
  • Use the lowest volume developer possible for minimal abrasiveness on the scalp and hair. 10 volume or lower is ideal.
  • Ensure no hair dye gets directly on the scalp by using a protective barrier cream on the hairline and skin.
  • Rinse very thoroughly after the processing time to remove all traces of color from hair and scalp.
  • Avoid any other chemical hair treatments such as perms, relaxers, or bleaching within 48 hours of dyeing to prevent overexposure.

Are Haircuts Safe During Pregnancy?

Asking yourself, can you perm your hair while pregnant? If you are one of those pregnant moms who even wonder can I get a haircut while pregnant? then fret not, a routine haircut while pregnant is perfectly safe and a great way to keep hair healthy and manageable. Plus, a haircut for pregnant women can be a good way to feel refreshed and cared for.

Some tips for an optimal prenatal haircut experience:

  • Communicate your pregnancy to the stylist so they can take any needed precautions. This ensures proper client care.
  • Opt for a style requiring minimal chemical processing. Avoid perms, relaxers, or coloring if possible. Simple trims or cuts are safest.
  • Avoid holding your breath during shampooing, as this can sometimes cause dizziness in pregnancy due to blood pressure changes. Breathe normally.
  • Request a cape, neck strip, and towels to prevent any hair clippings from irritating sensitive skin, which can be common during pregnancy.
  • Drink plenty of water before and after your cut to prevent any lightheadedness, which pregnant women may be prone to from blood volume shifts.
  • Bring a healthy snack like nuts or fruit to maintain optimal blood sugar levels throughout the appointment. Hypoglycemia can cause dizziness.
  • Come prepared with a photo of your desired style. Hormone changes during pregnancy can affect vision and judgment of hair length. Photos help communicate your wishes clearly.

When to Avoid Perms?

Girl with perm hair


While occasional perms using gentle chemical formulas are likely fine for most, but if you’re wondering can I get another perm after a month? the answer is no. Allow at least 8 weeks between perms to avoid overexposure to chemicals. However, it’s best to avoid perms entirely during pregnancy under certain higher risk circumstances.

  • High-risk pregnancy requiring medication or activity restrictions due to complications like preeclampsia or gestational diabetes. Chemical exposure is riskier.
  • History of skin allergies or sensitivities, especially to hair chemicals. Pregnancy can increase sensitivity risks further.
  • Prior adverse reaction to perms or other chemical hair treatments. Reactions could potentially be worse during pregnancy.
  • Recent exposure to perm chemicals within the past 8-10 weeks. Too frequent chemical treatments raise absorption concerns.
  • Planning other chemical hair treatments within 48 hours of perming. Combining multiple chemical services is not recommended.
  • Pre-existing extremely damaged or dry hair. Hair in a weakened state may not tolerate chemical processing.
  • Severe morning sickness still present in the second trimester. Nausea and vomiting increase the chances of adverse reactions.

Maintaining Healthy Hair During Pregnancy

Whether you’re considering perms while pregnant or a spiral perm while pregnant, it’s important to focus on keeping hair as healthy as possible. Here are some tips:

  • Use a nourishing shampoo and conditioner suited for your hair type and pregnancy hormone changes.
  • Brush very gently with a wide-tooth comb. Hair is more fragile during pregnancy.
  • Limit use of any hot tools like curling irons or blow dryers. Allow hair to air dry when possible.
  • Use natural hair masks or oils weekly to provide added moisture and nourishment.
  • Take a prenatal vitamin to supply key nutrients for optimal hair growth. Biotin, zinc and B-vitamins are especially important.
  • Protect hair from drying effects of chlorine, salt water and sun exposure which can damage hair. Wear a cap in pools and ocean.
  • Avoid any tight hairstyles that pull excessively on the scalp. Opt for loose braids, buns or ponytails instead.
  • Stay hydrated by drinking plenty of water daily and eat a balanced diet. This supports healthy hair internally.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I Get a Perm in My First Trimester?

It’s best to wait until the second trimester after the most critical period of fetal development has passed.

How Long Should I Wait Between Perms While Pregnant?

Allow at least 8 weeks between perms to avoid overexposure to chemicals.

What If I Accidentally Put Neutralizer on My Hair Before the Perm Solution?

Rinse thoroughly and start over with perm solution first. The neutralizer will not effectively set the curls if applied before the perm solution.

Can I Get a Perm While Breastfeeding?

Getting a perm while breastfeeding is considered safe, but minimizing exposure to chemicals is still advised.

When Can I Resume Perms after Giving Birth?

Wait at least 3 months after giving birth to allow hormones to return to normal levels before perming hair.

Can You Get a Perm While Pregnant?

While perm solutions contain chemicals that may be potentially harmful in very high doses, occasional perms are likely low risk during pregnancy. Can you perm hair while pregnant? – With some smart precautions, you can.


So, can you get a perm while pregnant? While perm solutions contain chemicals that may be potentially harmful in very high doses, occasional perms are likely low risk during pregnancy. So to simply put it, if you can perm hair while pregnant? – With some smart precautions, you can. It’s clear that, with some precautions, you can indeed answer “Yes” to the question “can you perm your hair while pregnant?”.

While perm solutions contain chemicals that may be potentially harmful in very high doses, occasional perms are likely low risk during pregnancy. To err on the side of caution, wait until the second trimester, allow 8 weeks between perms, use gentler formulas, and take precautions to minimize exposure. Always consult your doctor with any concerns. With some smart precautions, you can safely perm your hair while pregnant.

Note: In case of confusion regarding the perm procedure, for instance, if you accidentally put neutralizer on before perm solution, rinse thoroughly and start over with perm solution first. The neutralizer will not effectively set the curls if applied before the perm solution.

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