Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Baby hair?

This is not what you think it is going to be about. SO, I am at my hairdresser getting a trim recently. Let it be known that I love my hairdresser, Nicole. Nicole is pregnant and due any day now. She is also married to a PhD student who is completing his degree and they are leaving (waillllllll...)

After Nicole finishes the cut, I say to her "why do I have these funky hairs that stick up?" I basically look like I have bad 80's bangs without trying. I have MANY little hairs that stick up along the crown of head near my forehead. Nicole shows me how to take care of it. I am thinking they are from the hard core dryer habit I have - hot hot hot and my hair must be bone dry after I use a dryer EVERY single day. She says "well it maybe that you are regrowing your baby hair. I see it all the time." I was like " holy crap, baby hair still?" Matthew's going to be two soon!?

Then it got me thinking randomly - like most of my thoughts are. I remember reading a bunch of stuff when I was pregnant about how pregnancy would effect my body postpartum. Of course, I am both too lazy and unmotivated to try to find this information in any of the books I have at home so I turned, you guessed it, to the internet. I vaguely remembered something that said it can take a woman up to three years to recover from childbirth. Of course, I cannot find this anywhere or else I am just searching in the wrong places. Who knows...

At any rate, this is what I found.

Normal, expectable, or frequent PERMANENT side effects of pregnancy:

  • stretch marks (worse in younger women)
  • loose skin
  • permanent weight gain or redistribution
  • abdominal and vaginal muscle weakness
  • pelvic floor disorder (occurring in as many as 35% of middle-aged former child-bearers and 50% of elderly former child-bearers, associated with urinary and rectal incontinence, discomfort and reduced quality of life)
  • changes to breasts
  • varicose veins
  • other permanent aesthetic changes to the body (all of these are downplayed by women, because the culture values youth and beauty)
  • increased proclivity for hemorrhoids
  • loss of dental and bone calcium (cavities and osteoporosis)
I love the permanent weight gain or REDISTRIBUTION. Yeah, redistributed to my tummy and butt (oh wait and my thighs and hips! So basically everywhere...) Ah the old loose skin. Yummers, I hope you are not eating lunch. I know, I know there are good things about pregnancy too but least we not forget I am focused on the not so great things because I have SEVEN of the items on this list which I will not specifically note as you may be eating lunch, or dinner and who wants that image while eating?!?

This could explain my odd hair growth: Human hair goes through natural cycles. There is the "anagen" or growth phase, and there is the "telogen" or resting phase. The increased amount of estrogen in pregnancy stimulates an increase in the amount of hairs in the growth phase. After the delivery, there are more hairs in the resting phase and less in the growth phase, which can lead to hair loss. This loss usually begins about 1 to 4 months after the delivery, and it can be quite dramatic for some women. Most women will resume their normal hair growth cycle between 6 to 12 months postpartum, at which time their hair loss should resolve.

And finally, I found this really informative article that I thought was interesting. The only thing this person really offers about how long it takes for a women to recover after pregnancy is this little snipet that is not really the answer either...

Q: How long should women wait between pregnancies? Why is this important?

A: Again, this depends on the number of pregnancies you have already had, the type of birth you had, how tired you were, how well your body recovered (especially your pelvic floor tone). It is interesting to note that in primitive societies, babies are naturally spaced about every two years as their mothers breastfeed almost constantly for a year (the only way that breastfeeding works as a contraceptive). Obviously, the more fully recovered you are from your previous pregnancy, the better your next pregnancy will feel.

If anyone can tell me where I read this information or if it is even true that would be dandy. And next time you see me, please not stare at my funky hair!

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