Pregnancy is a time when expectant mothers will receive a lot of advice. But how much of the information is true or false about pregnancy? It’s one of the oldest wives’ tales in the book: if you have bad heartburn while pregnant, your baby will have a full head of hair. But did you know why some babies have more hair when born?
There is scientific evidence that women with more heartburn during pregnancy have babies with more hair when they are born and vice versa.
How Does Heartburn Means Hair?
It may sound like another ridiculous old wives’ tale, and doctors thought the same until they tested it. Researchers at Johns Hopkins University conducted a study to determine whether heartburn and the number of hair newborns have were linked. To their surprise, it was.
The study, published in the journal Birth, included 64 pregnant women, with 78 percent reporting heartburn. The researchers kept track of the results as they rated the severity of their heartburn. After the women gave birth, the researchers were shown photographs of their babies’ heads and used a scale to place the newborns’ hair volume.
According to the findings, 23 of the 28 women with moderate to severe heartburn had babies with average or above-average hair. Meanwhile, ten of the twelve women who said they didn’t have heartburn had babies with little or no hair. (Source: The Joint)
What is the Link Between Hair and Heartburn?
While there appears to be a link between the amount of hair your baby has and the amount of pregnancy heartburn you experience, this is not necessarily a cause-and-effect relationship. In other words, it’s unlikely that the hair on your baby’s head is causing you to feel the burn.
Other research has found that high levels of estrogen and other hormones, elevated during pregnancy, can relax the sphincter at the bottom of the esophagus. This can allow stomach acid to leak through, resulting in a burning sensation. More research has revealed that these hormones can influence how much hair fetuses grow in the womb.
As a result, if you have these high levels of hormones, you are more likely to experience heartburn during pregnancy. Your baby will also have a fuller head of hair when they are born. However, you can rest assured that it is not your son’s or daughter’s hair that is causing your esophagus to burn – that is physically impossible! (Source: The Joint)
Heartburns and Pregnancy
Many women who experience heartburn during pregnancy have never experienced it before. Unfortunately, if you had heartburn before becoming pregnant, you are more likely to experience symptoms while pregnant. Although the precise causes are unknown, most experts believe that pregnancy hormones, specific progesterone, play a role. Hormones cause the esophageal sphincter to relax.
The top of the stomach has a tight circular band of muscle. This allows partially digested food and stomach acids to backflow into the esophagus, known as reflux. Furthermore, progesterone slows the digestive process. This keeps food in the stomach for a more extended period.
Most spicy, greasy, and fatty foods that cause heartburn are also likely to cause issues in pregnant women. During pregnancy, food does not digest as well or move as quickly. As a result, eating large meals or overeating, in general, can raise the risk of heartburn. Eating right before bedtime can also cause issues. Smoking aggravates heartburn and is another reason to quit, particularly while pregnant. (Source: The Joint)