Most old wives' tales about pregnancy are far from the truth, but the one linking pregnancy heartburn with having a baby with a full head of hair may be the exception. Heartburn and reflux are only a couple of all of the magical symptoms of pregnancy that leave us feeling wonderful and radiant (or NOT). It's been said for years that women who have a lot of heartburn during their pregnancies will have hairy babies. This study has shown a correlation and has offered an explanation as to why.
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The National Center for Biotechnology Information shared a small study that included 64 pregnant women. Each woman in the study ranked the severity of their heartburn from mild to severe. Photographers took pictures of each baby shortly after birth to see the amount of hair that each infant was born with, and the pictures were rated to determine how much hair each baby had compared to an average.
78% of the women reported some degree of heartburn. Out of 28 women who reported moderate or severe levels of heartburn, 23 of them had babies with an above average amount of newborn hair. Alternatively, women who reported little to mild heartburn had babies with less than average or no hair. There is a definite connection.
But why? What does heartburn have to do with hair? According to the researchers, the theory is that there is "a shared biologic mechanism involving a dual role of pregnancy hormones in both the relaxation of the lower esophageal sphincter and the modulation of fetal hair growth." Hmm, that all sounds very scientific and biological. In layman's terms, that means that there is a connection between your baby's hair growing and interfering with your stomach acid, which results in the reflux. We couldn't imagine that extra hair growing inside your body would be good for digestion. Some women have such severe heartburn that they have to sleep sitting up or even experience vomiting.
This pregnancy folklore has turned out to be true. The study was very small and it would be interesting to see the results of a larger scale study, but regardless, these findings are certainly interesting!
What do you think of these results? Did you suffer through bad heartburn when you were pregnant? If so, did your baby have a lot of hair, or did your baby bust this myth? Let us know in the comments!