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The old heartburn myth: Will baby be hairy?

Once you get pregnant you are bound to hear a lot of old wives’ tales. Some have some truth to them, while others are simply myths. The heartburn during pregnancy myths says that you will give birth to a baby with a full head of hair if you experience heartburn while pregnant. The more heartburn, the more hair on your baby, according to this myth.

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Evidence to support the heartburn during pregnancy myth

Out of all the pregnancy myths, this one seems to be one of the strangest. What could be the connection between heartburn during pregnancy and your baby’s hair? Researchers at the John Hopkins Medical Institutions set out to debunk this myth. However, they were surprised by the result. They actually found an association between heartburn during pregnancy and the amount of hair on a baby’s head. Women who reported no heartburn during pregnancy, gave birth to babies with very little or no hair.

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Criticism of the heartburn during pregnancy myth

The study might show an association between hair and heartburn. However, there is a big difference between correlation and causality. The two may be associated for reasons that are not yet obvious to the medical community. Some doctors argue that the pregnancy hormones that can lead to excessive heartburn in some women could play a role. We know that hormones affect our hair, so it is possible they could affect the rate of growth for the baby’s hair as well.

In addition, this study was done on a small group of women. Their ethnic background was also not taken under consideration. Evidence shows that parents with darker hair can have a baby with more hair at birth.

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Should you expect a hairy baby if you experience heartburn?

Probably not. Most experts will say that whether the baby is born with or without hair is about genetics. That doesn’t mean that if the parents have a lot of hair, the baby will too. Genes are passed down from generation to generation, so the baby can resemble grandparents or other family members.

The amount of hair on a baby’s head at birth will also not determine how he hair will look like later on. Very often, bald babies turn out to have very thick and luxurious hair later on. The same can be said about hair colour. It can change as the baby grows older.

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Source: Pregnancy folklore revisited: the case of heartburn and hair

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