Can You Perm Your Hair While Pregnant? Is It Safe?

Being pregnant doesn’t mean you don’t want to look your best, and for some women, part of looking their “best” means getting a perm. But can you get a perm while you’re pregnant, or could that be harmful to your baby?

You can safely get a perm if you’re pregnant. Most doctors agree that even though perms require chemicals, they’re unlikely to affect the fetus in any way. Some experts, though, recommend waiting until after the first 12 weeks of pregnancy to get one. 
(Source: NC State University)

In this article, I’ll detail why perms during pregnancy are generally safe and why some experts urge women to wait until after the first 12 weeks of pregnancy to get them. Keep reading to find out more.

hair stylist perms the woman's hair

Can You Get a Perm While Pregnant?

A perm, or permanent, is the opposite of a relaxer or straightening treatment. Hairstylists perm women’s hair to make it curly or wavy. There are two different types of perms: 

  • Thermal
  • Chemical 

Chemical perms are the most popular. During this type of treatment, stylists wrap their clients’ hair around non-heated rods and cover it in a chemical solution that helps reshape it. For most women, the chemical solution is what concerns them when they’re pregnant (Source: Meridian College).

Fortunately, you can get a perm while pregnant and not have to worry about the chemicals harming your developing fetus. However, you may want to wait until your second trimester to be safe, and if you have any concerns, speak to your doctor before getting it.  

Unless you have an at-risk pregnancy or your doctor tells you otherwise, there’s no reason to fear getting a perm while pregnant. However, if you’re nervous about it or have an overly cautious doctor, you may want to wait until after your first trimester before perming or coloring your hair. 

As most doctors will tell you and as many studies and medical sources agree, you have the most significant risk for miscarriage during your first trimester – the first 12 weeks of your pregnancy.

The first six weeks of that period are the most likely time to have a miscarriage. After that, the risk of miscarriage drops to only 10% for normal, healthy pregnancies (Source: Online Obgyn Library)

There are certain risk factors that can make miscarriage (notably first-trimester miscarriage) more likely. These include: 

  • The mother (or father) is over 35 years old.
  • The mother drank a lot of alcohol pre-pregnancy or continued to drink during her pregnancy.
  • The mother smokes, or the father (or someone else in the household) smokes in close proximity to the mother.
  • The mother is under too much stress.
  • The mother had an extremely low or high BMI (body mass index) before conceiving. 
  • The mother has had one or more miscarriages in the past.
  • The mother changes partners while pregnant. 

If any of these factors apply to you, then you may want to avoid the salon until after those first 12 weeks have passed. After that, nearly all doctors agree that getting a perm should be entirely safe for both you and your baby.  (Source: Mass General)

However, if the idea of getting a perm still scares you and you want to avoid it, that’s fine. Your motherhood glow will make you beautiful enough for anyone who sees and loves you. If that’s not enough for you, though, there are alternatives to a perm that are more natural and less reliant on chemicals. These include, but aren’t limited to, the following: 

Hair Rollers,12 Pack Self Grip Hair Curlers,Rollers for Hair,Salon Hairdressing Curlers for Women,DIY hairstyle ((Jumbo))

  • Hair rollers: Hair rollers, like these Bevisun 12-Pack Self Grip Hair Curlers from Amazon.com, are a great, chemical-free way to get big, bouncy curls overnight!

    The curls aren’t permanent or even semi-permanent, but the hair rollers are inexpensive and easy to handle, so you shouldn’t have much trouble using them as often as every night if you want. 
  • French braid: If you or someone you love knows how to French braid hair, that’s another great way to wake up the following day and have gorgeous, curly hair. Plus, since a French braid goes all the way up to your scalp, it will give you all-over curls, not just halfway-down-your-head curls.
  • Traditional braids: While traditional braids won’t give you curly hair up to your roots, they’ll still give you lots of lovely curls. You can also adjust the size of your curls by changing the number and size of your braids.

    For lots of tiny curls, use plenty of small section braids. For bigger, wavier ones, use only one or two fat braids instead.
  • Headbands: If you want loose waves instead of tight curls, use a headband and loop your hair strands around it at night. The Yalemei Headband from Amazon.com is an excellent choice for doing this. You’ll get six for one low price, so you should always have a clean one to use at night. 

Yalemei Headbands for Women,Twist Knotted Casual Stretchy Hair Bands for Girls Knot Yoga Workout Vintage Headwrap Hair Accessories 6Packs (Twist Style 1)

Source: Ogle School

While none of these options will last as long as a perm, they’re easy and inexpensive. Plus, they’ll do a lot less damage to your hair in the long run. 

Final Thoughts

If you’re pregnant and need a perm to help you feel sexy and confident, go right ahead and get one! They’re safe for both you and your baby, especially if you wait till after your first trimester, and the better you feel about yourself, the healthier you and your baby will be.