7 Things That Influence What Your Baby Will Look Like - Baby Chick
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7 Things That Influence What Your Baby Will Look Like

It's hard not to wonder what your baby will look like from the time you get pregnant. Here are seven things that will influence that answer.

Updated July 5, 2024

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 spend countless hours daydreaming about who their little ones will resemble. Most babies will look more like mom, like dad, or like an even combination of the two. On the other hand, some babies come out looking like no one expected! There are a significant number of factors that go into what your baby will look like, which we’ll explore in this article.

7 Things That Influence Your Baby’s Appearance

Here are some common things that can influence your baby’s appearance when they finally debut:

1. DNA

Everyone knows DNA is what determines your baby’s appearance. But DNA is a complex subject. Everything from hair color, eye color, and sex to height and weight can be dictated by your DNA and/or your partner’s DNA.9 In most cases, dominant genes win the DNA fight, but now and then, a recessive gene will come out of nowhere and surprise everyone!1

2. Alcohol

While some studies show a tiny amount of alcohol occasionally might be okay for women during pregnancy, there is a chance that any alcohol consumption during pregnancy could result in fetal alcohol syndrome.2,3 This syndrome can cause a developing fetus to be born with particular facial appearances, such as tiny eyes or thin lips.10 It can also affect a child’s cognitive, behavioral, and developmental abilities.3,10,11

3. Healthy Habits

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.4 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!

4. Supplements

Prenatal vitamins are essential for several 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.5 A folate deficiency can result in spina bifida.12

5. Caffeine

Studies have shown that excessive caffeine consumption during pregnancy may affect a baby’s birth weight, producing a smaller newborn than usual at birth. Limiting your caffeine consumption to the equivalent of one cup of coffee a day or less is best.6

6. Traveling

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.7

7. Family History

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!8

While there’s no way to tell exactly what your baby will look like before birth, these factors may influence their appearance. As a mom of two, I was surprised 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. I think one of the best things about parenthood is being surprised by the beautiful little human beings you and your partner have created. They change so much daily, so be sure to savor every moment!

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  • Author

Cheyenne is a former lawyer turned writer, editor, and work-from-home mom living in San Marcos, Texas, with her daughter, Aislin, and son, Hawkins. She and her kids moved to the… Read more

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