If you are pregnant, this is a must read. You want to give birth to a healthy child and you eat the healthiest of foods but there may be other things you are doing unknowingly that could be harming your child.
This is unlike any precautions your mother or grandmother has told you about. Scientists have found that the most commonly used and seemingly harmless things can prove to be dangerous for your unborn kid.
The quintessential hairspray! Can you believe that a simple hairspray can cause defects in your unborn male child?
Scientists revealed that they found there to be a link between hairspray and a genital defect in boys. Women who are exposed to the hair product during the first trimester of pregnancy have more chances of giving birth to a child (son) with a genital deformity called hypospadias.
What is Hypospadias?
When the penis of a fetus is forming normally, the urethra extends from the bladder to the tip of the penis. In hypospadias, the urethra does not develop properly as it should and may end along the shaft, with the urinary opening being on the underside of the penis. In some severe cases, this opening is also seen near the rectum or the scrotum. Imagine how horrible it would be for a male baby to pass urine from below the penis.
In the UK, this defect is supposed to affect more than 250 boys, causing the urinary opening to be shifted to beneath the penis. It may be corrected in the baby’s first year but in severe cases, it leads to urinary problems, sexual and fertility issues.
How does a simple hairspray that goes on the hair affect the unborn child?
These hairsprays contain phthalates, which disrupt the normal workings of the endocrine system hormones) and which directly affect reproductive development.
This study was conducted on 471 women who have given birth to sons with hypospadias and 490 mothers of boys who do not have this defect. It was found that a high percentage of mothers with exposure to hairspray in the first trimester of pregnancy gave birth to sons with hypospadias. However, this risk was reduced greatly in mothers taking folate supplements during the same period.
While this condition is not life threatening, it has to be corrected surgically both for cosmetic and functional reasons. Doctors say that any surgery on a small baby can be traumatic to both the child and the parent. It is certainly better to be safe than sorry.
In case you are about to deliver and you have used hairsprays during pregnancy, then don’t panic. You will need to understand what hypospadias is and how to get it treated. For all you know, your baby may be completely normal and fine.
How is the surgery for hypospadias performed?
Learning about this surgery can help. It can last anywhere between one to four hours, depending on the amount of repair needed. In mild cases that are not complicated, all that needs to be done is to form a new opening at the tip of the penis and close the old one underneath. In more severe cases, a thin tube is inserted to carry the urine from the bladder to the tip of the penis, where a new opening is created. After the surgery, the penis will be bandaged and perhaps an IV placed on the baby’s arm. The baby will be under observation and then the IV removed later. The baby should be allowed to urinate at least once before leaving the hospital. Don’t worry as the baby in most cases will find the first urination painful and cry. This pain will go away in a couple of days and he will be normal soon.
Researchers say that women who are in jobs with high exposure to hairspray chemicals, such as hairdressers, factory workers, beauty therapists, researchers working on hairsprays are at high risk.
But it’s not all bad news as researchers have also found that folic acid intake reduces this risk by almost 36%. So, if you’ve already used hairsprays, the best thing for you to do now is to take folic acid and stay away from any further use of hairsprays. With research revealing new things every day, it may seem that these revelations don’t really matter, but would you want to take such a risk on your baby? My guess is NO!