How to hold down a full-time career, get a graduate degree, participate in a social/charity group, and grow a fetus in your uterus all at the same time. The working woman's guide to pregnancy.

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

How Hairy is Cletus?

The plot (and hairline) thickens...

My mother sent me some of my baby pictures to show that I had a respectable thatch of light brown hair (not a Trump style coif, but certainly no baldie either).

And then I see this in today's New York Times (for the record, heartburn is actually one of the pregnancy symptoms that I have had, and with some regularity):

Really?
The Claim: Mother’s Heartburn Means a Hairy Newborn
By ANAHAD O’CONNOR

Published: February 20, 2007

THE FACTS It is an odd adage that has stuck around for ages: women who suffer heartburn during pregnancy will have babies with full heads of hair. But doctors have long shrugged it off.
Until now, that is. In December, researchers at Johns Hopkins University conducted a study intending to put the claim to rest. To their surprise, they ended up confirming it. The study, published in the current issue of the journal Birth, followed 64 pregnant women, about 78 percent of whom reported having some heartburn. After the women gave birth, two outside observers looked at pictures of their infants and rated their levels of hair.
Of the 28 women who reported moderate to severe heartburn, 23 had babies with average or above-average amounts of hair. Conversely, 10 of the 12 women who reported no heartburn had babies with little or no hair.
Other studies have shown that in pregnant women, high levels of estrogen and other hormones can relax the sphincter at the bottom of the esophagus, causing heartburn. The same hormones, other studies show, can influence fetal hair growth.
The lead author of the study, Kathleen Costigan, who runs the fetal assessment center at Johns Hopkins, said the findings came as a shock.
“We’ve heard this claim hundreds of times, and I’ve always told people it’s nonsense,” she said. “Since the study came out, I’ve had to eat a lot of crow.”

THE BOTTOM LINE Heartburn during pregnancy may mean a greater likelihood a baby will have a lot of hair.

So maybe BD's dream isn't so far off-base (though he concedes that the newborn looked more like a 5-month-old baby).

6 comments:

a fan said...

Would love to see one of those "blogger as baby" snapz.

DarcyLaine said...

Hmmm...I dunno. Aren't we worried about internet perverts?

Chrissy said...

I never had heartburn while pregnant and as you know, my kids were pretty bald/peach fuzz for quite awhile. Maybe it's true! I told my BD about your BD's dream and he wants me to remind you that there is medical tests available to confirm your suspicions... did you know later ultrasounds can even see hair folicles? NO LIE!

grandpa s said...

So it seems that a new name suggestion is in order:
Harriette

Shanley said...

Chrissy (and Jeff) are right - THERE ARE MEDICAL TESTS TO CONFIRM! And some of your readers would love to end the suspense and get their hands on those tests! Think of your fans!!!
Seeing hair folicles is a little freaky. Just a little.

eipwek said...

That is really interesting.
Now, what does it mean if momma has really bad gas?? :)