Pregnant African-American women don’t have to be overly concerned that hair care products will harm their unborn babies. While most hair care products including relaxers are safe to use during pregnancy, these tips from will help keep expectant mothers’ hair healthy and their baby bumps safe.

 • Don’t color, bleach or straighten hair until the third trimester. While only small amounts hair treatment chemicals are absorbed into the skin, obstetricians suggest you take a better-safe-than-sorry approach.

 • Avoid ammonia-containing dyes. Opt for highlights if you need a little color. Why? The highlights foiling technique prevents dye from touching your skin.

 • Do an allergic reaction test before trying a new hair product. Even better, use one you’ve tried before, but still test the product first. (Pregnancy can cause you to react in unexpected ways to new products—even to ones you’ve previously used.)

 • Check product labels to ensure ingredients are A-OK for pregnant women. If you have concerns, switch to organic or plant-based products.

Avoid tension-creating hairstyles. That means cornrows, weaves and braids. All can pull on fragile strands and increase the hair loss that typically occurs after baby’s arrival.

Click here for more about hair care precautions to take during pregnancy.