No Hair Washing: You’re Pregnant!

There are customs that are fun, customs that are respectful and customs that should have been left in the times they served such as the Gujarati custom in certain castes of not washing your hair during your pregnancy. It still amazes me that women adhere to this custom here in Britain.

The custom is that women who find themselves pregnant will not wash their hair for 7 months. There will then be a religious celebration and a hair washing event in the 7th month followed by no Head and Shoulders again until the baby is 4-6 weeks old.

I cannot imagine what this is like but am thankful that my understanding mother-in-law did not even ask if I would consider adhering to this custom. As compensation, I was asked to give up something for the duration of my pregnancy. So I gave up chocolate!! A relatively small price to pay for being able to wash my hair freely.

The custom stems from the days when women bathed in rivers. It was feared that bending over to wash their hair in the water would damage the baby and that the disease ridden waters would infect both mother and child. To make women adhere to this custom, religious customs were introduced to it.

Today in Britain, most people have showers standing up.  Water is clean. There are no fears of babies dying if women washed their hair. So is this custom to pay homage to those mothers and babies who had died or caught a disease, or another custom that has carried on for fear of spiritual retribution?

I do not know the answer to this but I do know that your hair ends up stinking, it is so greasy and flaky, it is itchy and the oils released seem to make your face get spots.  Everyone always stares at your greasy hair and people stand a mile away from you because of the stench. God knows what it does for your sex life! I wouldn’t even be able to go to work and address a group of people.

I really think this custom should be left with the dark ages and women should just be left to enjoy their pregnancies.

Bunty

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31 Responses to “No Hair Washing: You’re Pregnant!”

  1. HI Bunty,

    These customs fascinate me as they are utterly bizarre. The women who follow them must be quite eccentric too. I guess it would add a different kind of glow to a pregnant woman!

    Bubbly

  2. HI Bubbly,
    Yes a very different kind of glow!!!
    Bunty

  3. This is why I can’t marry an Asian man – if a mother in law asked me to give up something to observe an outdated unhealthy sexist tradition I’d give up visiting her !

    • i dont think all Asians follow such kinda dumb practices… and not all mother in laws in asia are witches.. there r alot ppl better than… (ll leave it for u to fill it)

  4. Your hair and scalp start cleaning themselves after about three weeks. But I’d still rather not. Yuck!

  5. Yes, this was how someone sold it to me. Self cleaning doesn’t stop the stench though, the look of greasiness or flaky scalp!!! Makes me itchy just thinking about it.

  6. Eugh eugh eugh – honestly Bunty I’ve felt itchy since I read your article too !

    How disgusting. Why do women always lose out in all these traditions?

    I have never heard of not washing hair during pregnancy BUT I have heard of other things like a woman stays indoors for WEEKS after she’s given birth or a woman steps into her marital home AFTER her husband or EVEN WORSE your mother in law chooses your first child’s name. Don’t hindu widows have to stop wearing colour or make-up? (this is based on bollywood films!)

    Do we still live in the jungle? Getting fresh air after giving birth must be a good thing. What kind of moron steps into a house behind her husband oh puh-leaase!

    Do any traditions actually work in our favour? And please don’t tell me about the patronising rakhi type ones!!!

    My sister and I used to joke that if the Titanic was full of Asians then there’s no way the women and children would get the life boats first!

  7. I’m living it! 3 months on, no shampoo…….there is no self cleaning happening. Wrong notion! When I asked the MIL she had no clue why! But was strictly asked to follow tradition. I rebelled and that did not go through so well, so for the sake of peace in the house….let there be stench and itching and what not 😛 !

    • Do you use sandalwood powder … Thy call it Sukhhad …. Ask Ur mil, she might know it … It helps keep the hair n scalp clean

    • Hey I am going through the same thing. No washing hair though I have been advised to use sandalwood powder as a dry shampoo to clean my hair it does help but then again the hair behind greasy. ..Only that it helps to give a nice fragrance to our hair so that we don’t feel embarrassed. ..though I am really not in for this tradition as there is no reason to back it up but have no way out but to follow it…I wouldn’t ever force my daughter in law if any to follow this tradition

      • I’m sorry I don’t understand why you’re doing this. Tell your mother-in-law to go fck herself.

  8. Looks like an easy way to chase men away during pregnancy… 😀 😀

  9. These traditions have been followed for hundreds of years without question. A little western influence and you forget your heritage and religious roots. You Coconut!

  10. This custom is followed by my family also. When I tried to oppose, MIL scared me by saying tht if you dont follow it, you may suffer miscarriage. But thn I asked doctor & she helped me out.

  11. surely if bathing in rivers was the fear… the idea of bathing at all would have been outed too? count yourself lucky they didnt think about THAT part too 😉 ha ha (eugh)

  12. I am pregnant of 4th month, my mother in law suddenly remembered this law that, I must not wash my hair upto 7th month. My husband and I decided not to follow any such custom.. and I am teaching my baby in womb to break such custom that does not convince.

    • Good for you, but still I’m not sure what your husband has to do with the decision that you will wash your hair. Come on!

      • A marriage is a partnership, and standing united is vital, especially when it comes to family pressure and interference – you’ve obviously never been at the receiving end of this, LG, or you wouldn’t say this. Some MILs will try to use their influence with their son, your husband, to emotionally blackmail you. My ex fiancee refused to side with me on several issues his mother (not he, I might add) felt strongly about, so in the end I broke off the engagement as I realised that a man who won’t stand up to his mother and/or side with his wife makes a poor husband. I am now with a man who always sides with me in public and vice versa, even if we think the other is wrong – we work out our differences in private. I have a brilliant marriage, nine years happy so far, however, his mother loves me as if I were her own daughter, so she’s never been an issue.

        My own mother’s advice was, always look at a man’s relationship with his mother – if it’s happy and equal, he’s respectful but independent, then he’s husband material. Otherwise, run a mile. I have seen the truth of this over and over again.

    • I m 2 month pregnant and in my family also this custom is there . When I heard it first time. I was really shocked!!! Now when I confirmed my pregnancy news in family before 1 month my MIL strictly says for no shampoo till 7 months . So I decided that in early pregnancy I will not argue but when my patience will get over I will tell my husband to go for hairspa in good nice saloon. I will pamper myself.. I find alternate to visit saloon twice a month n not to wash hair at home😜 And other than that I m also having grey hair problem so I can’t stay without colouring it every month. P.S I m a doctor and working women still due to some rigid MIL we have to find alternate ways to deal with such bullshit custom.

      • Wow, good luck with the rest of your pregnancy! It’s such a sensitive issue, we had no idea when we first wrote this article how much it would resonate with women around the world.

  13. But what if it’s too late? I’m in love with a man who has a messed uo relationship with his mother. He is only 35 and fully supports her financially.

    I can’t break off my engagement but I dislike the mother a lot.she will be a financial burden on us for life

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