One of the most common questions in an expecting mother’s mind is what her unborn baby will look like. From the moment we realize we’re pregnant until the day our baby is in our arms, most mothers will spend countless hours daydreaming about who their little one will resemble. Most babies will look more like mom, more like dad, or a curiously even combination of the two. On the other hand, some babies come out looking like no one expected!
There are a great number of factors that go into what your unborn baby will look like. Here are some of the most common things that can influence how your baby will look when they finally make their grand debut.
7 Things That Influence Your Baby’s Appearance
Everyone knows that DNA is what determines your baby’s appearance. But DNA is a very complex subject. Everything from hair color, eye color, height, and weight to the placement of dimples or freckles can be dictated by you or your partner’s (or both!) DNA. And while, in most cases, dominant genes win the DNA fight, every now and then, a recessive gene will come out of nowhere and surprise everyone!
While some studies show that a tiny amount of alcohol every now and then may be okay for women during pregnancy, there is a chance that any alcohol consumption could result in Fetal Alcohol Syndrome. This syndrome can cause a developing fetus to be born with unique facial appearances such as very small eyes or thin lips. It can also affect a child’s cognitive and developmental abilities.
Moms who make poor exercise and food choices while pregnant may affect whether their child will be born at a healthy weight. Studies show that obese moms are more likely to give birth to babies who later also become obese. From the moment you realize you’re pregnant (and even before!), make sure you are making healthy, nutritious food choices. And don’t skip that exercise!
Prenatal vitamins are important for a great number of reasons. But one supplement, in particular, can affect the baby’s appearance more than others. Folate is critical in helping to form your baby’s spine. A folate deficiency can result in spina bifida.
Studies have shown that excessive caffeine consumption may affect a baby’s birth weight, producing a newborn that is smaller and slimmer than normal at birth. It is best to limit your caffeine consumption to the equivalent of one cup of coffee a day or less.
Extensive airline travel can expose a pregnant mama to unhealthy levels of radiation. As you can imagine, radiation is not recommended for a developing fetus and can potentially affect your baby’s appearance. Periodic travel during pregnancy is considered safe for most women, however.
Your family’s history can play a part in how your baby looks. Like recessive genes, some inherited genes may lay “dormant” or “skip” generations and suddenly pop up to surprise families when they least expect it!
While there’s no way to tell exactly what your baby will look like before he or she is born, these are some of the ways that may influence their appearance. As a mom of two myself, I was surprised to find that my daughter came out looking exactly like my husband but had my personality. On the other hand, my son was my mini-me with his daddy’s infectious wit and charm. One of the best things about parenthood, I think, is being surprised by the wonderful little human beings you and your partner have created. They change so much every day, so be sure to savor every moment!