Hair Treatment During Pregnancy: Mom Nearly Loses Baby From Extreme Allergic Reaction

By Amanda Moore, Parent Herald April 20, 04:00 am
Doctor said using hair dye during pregnancy is generally safe but Jess Stratchan suffered bad allergies from it.
(Photo : Jan Hetfleisch/Getty Images for Rebekka Ruetz)

A mom had an extreme allergic reaction to hair treatment during her pregnancy. Jess Stratchan, 30, used hair dye before but something went wrong when she changed her hair color while five months heavy with a child.

Stratchan developed a bad reaction that caused her face to bloat and swell, and she could not open her eyes. Her husband, Stuart, rushed her to the hospital where staffers refused to medicate her because of her baby, as per Metro.

Stratchen then endured her allergies for three days. "My head felt so tight and hot, I was in so much pain," she said. "I thought I was going to die."

A visit to her pregnancy doctor confirmed her body reacted to the paraphenylenediamine chemical (PPD) found in hair dyes. Her doctor prescribed antihistamines safe for pregnant women to reduce the swelling. Her doctor also told her it was a good thing her allergies were external as she would've have harmed or lost her baby had it been internal.

A hair treatment during pregnancy is generally safe. According to the American Pregnancy Association (APA), however, pregnant moms should color or bleach their hair during the second trimester and not earlier. The agency also recommends using pure vegetable dyes, instead of chemical dyes as an added safety precaution.

APA also advised doing a patch test before proceeding with the whole treatment. Stratchen acknowledged she failed to do this because she had hair treatments with the same hairdresser for years. "Now I know this is not the case and a patch test should always be used as an allergic reaction can build up over years," she said.

Stratchen, fortunately, recovered from her allergies after a week. She welcomed baby Harry, a healthy 11lb 3oz baby, with huge relief. "I couldn't believe something as insignificant as coloring my hair could have killed my child," she said.

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