The surprising pregnancy side effect no one warned Monique Bowley about. 

During pregnancy, some women might discover their belly button turns black. For others, their boobs grow six cup sizes. There might be excess sweat. Teeth moving. Lots of snot. Bum shrinking. Sore tailbone. Improved vision. Impeded hearing.

It’s like a lucky dip of bizarre side effects except none of them are fun.

For Monique Bowley, Executive Producer of Podcasts at the ABC and former Director of Podcasts at Mamamia, her strange pregnancy symptom emerged in the first trimester and is still there, 25 weeks along.

Dr Joseph Sgroi on pregnancy symptoms. Post continues. 

“I first noticed it when I looked down in the shower and decided my stomach could do with a shampoo,” Bowley told Mamamia. 

You see, Bowley’s tummy was covered in a layer of hair.

“I didn’t realise when people talked about ‘the glow’ they meant the warmth that extra body hair could provide…” she said.

“I’m thinking I could knit my baby a small vest out of the excess hair.”

What a sweet idea.


Bowley shared a photograph of her bump on Instagram and Facebook on Tuesday morning, accompanied by the caption, “In the interests of balancing out perfect pregnancy social media posts, BEHOLD my HAIRY STOMACH. I love it sick. I’m calling it Hagrid and I’m sorry @drjosephsgroi but I’m not shaving it down for you anymore. Your doppler will have to deal. #sorrynotsorry #advancedhairyeahyeah”

For some context, Dr Joseph Sgroi is a highly esteemed obstetrician who Bowley may or may not have shaved her stomach for in the early stages of pregnancy. She very much wanted to impress him, but now it would seem, Bowley is prepared to go full-Hagrid. And we are very much here for it.


In the comment thread, Bowley said pregnancy has reversed all the laser hair removal she paid for in her twenties, with other women agreeing that pre-pregnancy laser is a waste of money.

“The glamour of pregnancy constantly surprises me,” Bowley told Mamamia. 

One could, however, be mistaken for thinking that pregnancy is all rosy cheeks and a basketball belly if Instagram is anything to go by. Bowley is intentionally turning the image of the ‘perfect pregnancy’ on its head, contrasting her in bed with morning sickness, next to Miranda Kerr on a swing in a white maternity dress.


Dr Sgroi told Mamamia that while it’s very common for women to experience increased hair growth during pregnancy, along with thicker hair on your head, “it’s often an unwelcome side effect when hair appears on your tummy, bottom, nipples or face.”

He also confirmed that pregnancy hormones can make hair return, even after laser hair removal. Dr Sgroi added, “some women even experience hair loss from the scalp in the third trimester, although this is rare.”

In terms of what actually causes it, Dr Sgroi said excess hair growth is during to “hormonal fluctuations during pregnancy and occurs towards the end of the second trimester from increased levels of ovarian and placental androgens on the structures which consist of the hair follicles and its oil glands.”

But – rest assured – the hair should disappear post-pregnancy. Any excess hair that appears on the face, tummy, bottom or arms is usually temporary, Dr Sgroi says, and you should shed it within six months of giving birth.

Pregnancy looks completely different for every woman, and if that means a bit of a hairy belly, then so be it.

It looks pretty bloody beautiful to us.