When I was pregnant with Bitsy Girl I suffered a lot of heartburn. A lot. Nearly all day, everyday for almost the last 20 weeks. Believe me that isn’t very pleasant, but I’ll take it over morning sickness any day.
A lot of older folks kept telling me that if I had heartburn, my baby would be born with hair. Of course they also said that I could induce early labor by walking too much and that I was carrying my daughter “like a boy”, so I had little faith in a lot of these “nuggets of wisdom” I received from the older generation.
Well, when Bitsy Girl was born, she was a fairly hairy baby. She had thick, dark hair down her back with hairy arms and legs and a furry patch on her back to match. Thankfully she didn’t have a hairy face.
(I am aware that she may read this in the future. It’s ok; you were still the most adorable baby I’d ever seen.)
Having a baby with a lot of hair didn’t surprise me much. Both Beard and I have full heads of thick, dark, curly hair, so I expected at least something on this little girl’s head. I still didn’t quite believe, though, in that old wives’ tale about heartburn.
Until recently, of course.
As it turns out, Johns Hopkins University conducted a study to determine whether or not there was a correlation between heartburn during pregnancy and infants born with hair.
The study included 64 pregnant women (I know, not a lot) that were asked to rank the severity of their heartburn throughout their pregnancy. Photos were taken of their babies at birth, and a third party determined the approximate infant hair volume by the photos. Although heartburn was not increased by sex of the baby, weight of the baby, nor weight of the baby or mother, there was a significant correlation between the severity of heartburn and the volume of infant hair at birth.
That is pretty crazy! These researchers determined that women who suffered severe heartburn were much more likely to give birth to babies with a larger volume of hair, and women who suffered little to no heartburn were more likely to give birth to infants with less than average or no hair.
Although there is no definite scientific explanation for this yet, it is proposed that the same hormone that stimulates fetal follicles and promotes hair growth also relaxes the esophageal sphincter (a muscle that controls the flow of material from the esophagus to the stomach). That means that an increase in the hormone that produces fetal hair will cause that particular muscle to relax, allowing gastric juices to flow up into the esophagus, causing heartburn.
I share all this to just say today:
Looks like this is going to be another hairy baby. Ug.
Bring on the Tums.