Myth: Prenatal vitamins assist in hair and nail growth.
Fact: There is no scientific evidence to support that prenatal vitamins assist in hair and nail growth.
Most pregnant women go through hair and nail changes. During pregnancy, the placenta functions not only as a source of oxygen and nutrition for the baby, but it also works as part of the endocrine system for the mother. It releases estrogen, a hormone that keeps hair in the growth phase for a longer duration and prevents its shedding. In essence, women are noticing thicker hair only because less hair is actually be shed.
For nail health, the effects of pregnancy vary among women. Some women notice improvement in fingernail and toenail health; some studies suggest that their growth rates can be “one-fourth to one-third higher than normal.” Many women, however, report having brittle or soft nails during their pregnancy. Other normal nail changes include “the development of transverse grooves, leukonychia or white spots on the nail, and thickening under the nail bed.”
Fluctuating hormone levels during pregnancy will necessarily cause changes to women’s hair and nail health/strength. However, there is currently no scientific evidence indicating the prenatal vitamin supplements have a similar effect on hair/nail health. Furthermore, any changes occurring during pregnancy are reversed once the pregnancy is over.
- Co-author: Shoua Kue
- Co-author: Pasha Gurevich
- Methods For Measuring Fingernail Growth Rates In Nutritional Studies – The Journal of Nutrition
- Prenatal and Postnatal Care: A Woman-Centered Approach – Robin G. Jordan, Prenatal and Postnatal Care
- Skin and Hair Changes During Pregnancy – National Institutes of Health
- Pregnancy and Hair Loss – American Pregnancy Association