Most mothers-to-be can benefit from the extra hormones that make pregnant women’s hair naturally thicker and healthier. But pregnant women also have to think for two and be careful to avoid harmful chemical hair products while growing their baby bump. These tips from can help soon-to-be moms steer clear of hair-care practices that might harm their precious cargo.

Wait six months to bleach, dye or straighten hair. Hey, that piece of advice is straight from the American Pregnancy Association. What’s the reason? Because even though only a small quantity of the chemicals used in these treatments are absorbed into the skin it’s better to be safe than sorry during the early stages of pregnancy, obstetricians advise.

Avoid dyes that contain ammonia. Hair colorings that contain ammonia are especially harmful to developing embryos. That means mothers-to-be should make sure they always consult their doctors if they’re unsure about how safe a product is to use. To prevent dye from coming into contact with skin, consider using highlights instead of uniform hair color. Those metallic foils colorists use to highlight tresses do double duty. They prevent dye from reaching your skin.

Always check labels! Just because you’ve used a product before doesn’t mean it’s safe to use when you’re pregnant. Check the labels of every hair product you use to determine if they’re safe to use during pregnancy. Consider using organic or plant-based products if you want to practice chemical-free hair care.

Test for allergic reactions. Many pregnant women experience sudden allergic reactions to products they’ve previously used without complications. Ongoing changes inside pregnant women’s bodies can often cause allergic reactions. Best to do a product test before using it—even if it’s something you’ve had no problems with before.

Avoid tension-making hairstyles. Pregnant women and ladies who have just given birth should avoid tight hairstyles such as braids, cornrows and weaves. These hairstyles can exacerbate hair loss that often occurs naturally after delivery.

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