From the instant of conception to the moment before we deliver, most of us can’t help but wonder what our baby will look like. There are no guarantees, no secret windows; no hidden clues to help make an accurate calculation. Baby is a complex mix of all things Mom and Dad, and most of his or her appearance will be random luck between the two. A few traits are specifically masculine or feminine, positively known to pass along either the X or Y chromosome. But, most are not and are much more complex than that.
But, some of us would like to know a little more than the expected 10 fingers and 10 toes. What are the odds that your baby will inherit Grandpas square toes or Aunties red hair? Will your daughter display dimples, a cleft chin, or a widow’s peak? What about your son, broad shoulders and big hands? While nothing can be said for sure, it is certainly fun to play this guessing game. To imagine what your little might look like is part of the fun that nine months of pregnancy brings.
So many things are still unknown about genetics and hereditary traits, but some interesting facts are worth discovering. For example, foot shape was probably decided for your baby centuries ago. And lip size could have a lot more meaning that you give you credit for. Would you be surprised that girls get their curves from the father’s side or that boys get their finger length based on hormones in the womb? Keep reading to be further intrigued!
15 What Color Will The Eyes Be?
The color of your baby’s eyes is certainly genetic and hue is equally influenced by both parents. There is no clear indicator that offspring inherits eye color from either parent. The odds are more strongly influenced by the presence of melanin than by gender. It can be pretty tough to predict a color, as color remnants can be passed down by generations beyond Mom and Dad. Even in the case of parents that both have dark brown or black eyes, it is possible for their baby to have green or blue. The off chance comes from a grandparent that had the light or clear colored eyes. In people of African and Asian decent, babies are almost always born with dark brown or black eyes and they stay that way. For Caucasians, babies can be born with either blue or slate grey eyes that may or may not gradually change. Usually the color is set by the age of 6 to 9 months of age.
14 What Color Will The Hair Be?
From the moment of conception, the baby’s hair color has been determined. Many parents and grandparents alike are eager to learn of this defining feature of any child. Dark hair is the most common, at is it carried on a dominant trait, while blonde and red hair come from recessive genes. Many would assume that darker hair will prevail, but that isn’t always true. The ultimate factor is the presence of melanin in the hair, and even that can change a few times after birth until the final hue is evident. There isn’t a lot of conclusive evidence on what exactly determines hair color, but it is understand that each baby has its own unique combination of parts from mom and Dad. It’s pretty hard to say if the baby will have hair that mirrors one parent or if she will have her own unique combination. This is one of those instances when only time will tell.
13 Will The Baby Have Dimples Or A Widow’s Peak?
In some families, special traits are considered desirable and indicative of the familial ties. Parents might even secretly hope for signs of beauty and dignity to be replicated with their little one. Some of the more desirable traits from parents are dimples on the cheeks, and a widow’s peak in the hairline. Both are hereditary. With dimples, each child has a 50% of inheriting them from either parent who has them. Dimples are determined by a single gene. If neither parent has dimples, it is not possible for the child to either. Widow´s peaks on the other hand, are widely believed to be genetic. But, some scientific papers have shown that as many as 80% of women have some variation of a widow’s peak. There is no research to prove the existence of a genetic link. Therefore, against popular thought, a prominent widow’s peak is not guaranteed to be passed down.
12 Will The Baby Have A Cleft Chin?
Most parents probably aren’t considering this, unless one of them has a cleft chin. It is very widely believed that cleft chins are exclusively hereditary. This is a bit confusing, as the cleft chin does show a dominant trait. But, the cleft chin is also not determined by a single gene. This means that one parent having a cleft chin does not guarantee that the trait will be passed down to the baby. But, if both of you do, all of your kids are sure to have it as well. In addition, a baby can also form a cleft chin through environmental influences. The characteristic is an abnormal development of the facial plates that could be caused by something that happens in utero. If you aren’t confused yet, you’d be lucky. The odds seem a bit random, as your baby might develop even one if the parents don’t show one. But, one parent having one does not guarantee the trait will be passed on.
11 Are Freckles Hereditary?
If you have freckles, you have probably already assumed that they are hereditary. Especially if you have family members with the same traits. The assumption is right! But, babies are not born with freckles, they can only appear after exposure to the sun. Freckles are more likely in people who have both fair skin and red hair. The spots are indeed hereditary. Genetics determines how many are present, how dark they are in color and whether or not they fade with lessened exposure to the sun. Freckles are in no way harmful and there is no medical reason to remove them by fading methods. If your child is bothered by the freckles, remind him or her that they are natural and beautiful, and are part of what makes them unique. In some cases, the prominence of freckles can be reduced with adequate sun protection and/or limited sun exposure.
While some babies are born with moles, most are not, and they don’t usually become evident until later in childhood. Yet, some moles will appear shortly after birth and will likely continue to grow and darken as the baby gets older. Moles are probably hereditary and most people have them. The color, size, or number of moles seems to pass down the bloodlines. If you have overly large moles, your child may also have them. The average person can have as many as 40 moles, but if you have significantly more than trait can also be passed down to your child. Usually there is not a reason for concern, and most moles are just a result of pigmentation that forms in pockets. Unsightly moles or moles that seem questionable are usually removable and treatable by a dermatologist. Typically the main concern is over moles that change over time, or are irregular in color and shape. The rest are no more worrisome than freckles.
9 Facial Expressions
Have you ever been told that you make facial expression similar to your mother or grandmother? Perhaps you have wondered if these little quirks might show up with your baby, too. Most people would assume that these little habits are learned by imitation. We watch our parents and elders closely, and it’s seems natural that we might mimic some of their expressions. But, some interesting studies have proven that the tendency to purse our lips, raise an eyebrow, or even laugh with a crooked grin could be more hereditary than once believed. Turns out that many of our facial expression have a lot to do with the way the muscles and nerves in our face work. The theory has been proven by tests that were performed on blind people and adopted children, who replicated the same facial patterns as their natural parents. This means it’s entirely possible that your baby could make the same silly faces that your grandma used to make, even if she never saw them!
8 Skin Color
It’s pretty evident that our culture is becoming more biracial and multiracial with each passing moment. With the taboos of the past long gone, mixed race couples are becoming more and more common. For many women and families who are experiencing this for the first generation, it’s exciting to dream up what perfect mix of skin color the baby might have. It’s a pretty interesting question, what determines the baby’s skin color? Does darker take over, or lighter? Does it come from Mom or Dad?
The truth is that it’s pretty complicated and the answer varies from baby to baby. Skin color doesn’t come from just one gene, but is a complex combination of many genetic factors. It has a lot do with how much melanin is present on the DNA, but also which traits of the melanin of passed on or lay dormant. It’s a pretty random collection of events and can be as difficult to predict as eye or hair color. In most cases, the skin color of mixed race is usually an intermediate color between both parents.
We all kind of assume that our kids will come out looking similar to us in height, but when parents heights vary extremely, it can be rather interesting to see which parent the kids will take after. It is not true that boy always take after Dad or that girls always take after Mom. In fact, there is actually a proven and widely used genetic height predictor that has been around since the 1970’s. It explains that height comes from both parents, and offspring is usually not taller than the tallest parent or shorter than the shorter one. But, it has been determined that subsequent children are usually shorter than the first born. This is not always true and there is always an exception to the rule. For boys, the height is predicted by combining the height of both parents, then adding 5 inches (12 cm) and dividing by two. For girls, add the heights of both parents and subtract by 5 inches (12 cm).
6 Body Stature
You’ve heard it before, maybe even said it before, common phrases about genetics and body size. Is it true that being big-boned runs in the family? That being chesty or flat bottomed does, too? How about for boys? Are they guaranteed to have broad shoulders just like Dad? The answer is sort of. The genes for body stature are passed down by many generations, and are also easily altered by environmental influences. This means, that yes, an hourglass or linebacker shape can be inherited, but your kids can’t blame you for everything. It will ultimately be up to them by what type of activity level and nutritional habits that they maintain. Lifestyle will still determine musculature, thinness or fatness. Extreme cases of malnourishment in childhood can also cause changes in what in inherited. But, more or less, you may very pass down your pear shape to your kids, but you aren’t genetically responsible for their level of fitness.
5 Gap Teeth And Buck Teeth
Have you ever wondered if Madonna’s kids have a gap between their teeth? What about buck teeth or braces, will your kids inherit those traits from you? Gap teeth are caused by an excess formation of gum tissue, and yes it is hereditary. However, it is not guaranteed, especially if both parents don’t have it. The baby teeth don’t count though as most babies have natural gaps between their teeth. Buck teeth can also be hereditary, when they are influenced by the shape of the skull and oral cavity. But, some buck teeth are a result of environmental causes like thumb sucking or extended bottle feeding. It really depends on why you have buck teeth if it will be passed on to your child. If one of your parents or grandparents have buck teeth, the chances are higher the baby will as well. If you are the only one, it could be caused by something in your childhood that you don’t have to pass on.
Have you ever looked closely at your finger? Is your ring finger longer or shorter than your index finger? A curved pinkie or an extra long middle finger? It varies from person to person, and sometimes by gender. A ring finger that is longer than the index finger is more common in men. This is because it is typically associated with higher testosterone levels in the womb. This hormonal influence is definitely genetic but has some relevance to the hormonal state of the pregnancy as well. The fingers are developed in utero in the first trimester. Hormonal disturbances, spikes, and variations during this stage of pregnancy can influence finger length. Finger length has been linked with all sort of human traits, like artistic or athletic ability, aggression, depression, and even sexual orientation. Pretty fascinating stuff, all of which you will probably forget when you are busy admiring the perfection of all 10 tiny fingers. But, surely it will be fun, to compare the fingers to see if they hands look just like Mom or Dad.
3 Feet And Toes
When we think of big feet, we can’t help but think of Fred Flintstone and the entire family happily steering a car down the street with their feet. But, did you know that there are 5 basic foot shapes, mostly related to the length of the toes?! These tendencies have very deep genetic roots, and the shape of your toes and feet can be clearly indicative of your ancestral background. It is very likely that your child will inherit a foot shape and size from either you or their father. The same goes for arches; flat feet and high arches both run in the family. But, all babies are born with flat feet and an arch can’t be determined until after the toddler years. The foot size is relatively genetic too, as it generally coincides with height. But, you might be surprised that you probably won’t share shoes with your teenage daughter, unless you and your husband are very close in height.
2 Ears And Lips
It’s hard not to notice the impossibly cute kid with the big ears, or the little girl with the perfectly kissable pout. Did you ever wonder if she got it from her Mama? Of course she did! Or, from her father. Lips have very deep genetic roots and a direct result of where your ancestors originated from. People with big lips are more likely to have familial roots in places like Africa and those with thin lips are linked to people who lived in cold climates. The rest of us simply fall somewhere in between. Ears are a bit more complicated though, as scientists say that ear size and attached or detached ear lobes are genetic. But, you don’t get either one specifically from Mom or Dad and the trait seems to be influenced or deactivated by other genes. Some people even have two ears that don’t match! So, your husband’s big ears might be just luck of the draw but those plush and pink lips will surely be passed down.
1 Breasts And Butts
So obviously, your beautiful baby will not be born spared or blessed with a busty chest. And the butt might be a bit hard to gauge under all that adorable diaper fluff. But, sometimes we get a little ahead of the game and can’t help but wonder what our babies will look like all grown up. The butt equation is somewhat genetic as far as shape might go and where you tend to hold onto fat, but the overall size of the butt is influenced more by environmental factors like exercise and diet. As far as bra size goes, your daughter can’t give Mom credit for that one. It has been identified that your daughter’s bust shape and cup will come directly from your husband’s mother instead. So the overall curves, like hips and waist to shoulder ratio are credited to Mom or Dad, but bust and butt, not so much.
Sources: Parents, Human Genetics, NBC News, What to Expect, Healthline, Genetic.com, University of Delaware, Women & Children’s Health Network, Scientific American ,Chinese Gender Chart ,Daily Mail, Spark People, Coffs Dental, Nat Geo News, Discover Mag, Family Tree ,Foot & Ankle Society, The Happy Scientist, Science Let, Babble, Live Science