A Hairy Situation
During your pregnancy, you may have wondered if your baby would have a thick mop of hair or be full-on Bruce Willis-bald. But you probably didn't expect body hair. When Jessica Katz, of Santa Monica, California, noticed clumps of white fuzz on her newborn's ears, she worried that Ila had inherited her daddy's hairiness. (Pops has a healthy pelt on his back.) Not to worry: "In the womb, babies are covered with a layer of soft, fine hair called lanugo, which they usually shed during the last months of pregnancy or shortly after birth," says Brandi Kenner-Bell, M.D., a pediatric dermatologist for Children's Memorial at Central DuPage Hospital, in Winfield, Illinois. Still, it often sticks around for a few months, especially on the back, shoulders, forehead, ears, and face. The fur that gave Ila "80-year-old-man ears," as Katz lovingly remembers, was gone by 5 months. However, Katz was right that genetics play a role, Dr. Kenner-Bell says. Some ethnicities tend to be hairy, and if a parent is furry, Baby may be too. Hair growth, density, and patterns may change, though, as a child ages.
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Hair that's thick, dark, and coarse, or sprouting in the genital or underarm area, could signal hormonal abnormalities.