“I got it from my mama…” Most of us probably hear that classic Will.I.Am. song from the mid-2000s in our head when considering whether we got more of our physical features from our mother’s or our father’s side. Given that we’re an exact 50/50 combination of both of our parents, we’re bound to share some qualities with both of them. But what do we inherit and from who?
If a couple is expecting a baby, then they’re probably asking that exact question. When parents have a mini-me on the way, they can’t help but think of all the different possibilities of what their child will grow up to look like. Will the baby inherit mom’s hair color? Or will they have their father’s large nose? Will they be as tall as dad or as short or mom? Anyone who’s expected a baby has asked these questions to themselves. And while it’s impossible to know exactly what your offspring will look like before they grow up, there are some signs to help you imagine who they’ll be in the meantime.
In this article, we’ve compiled twenty different signs that can help parents work out what their baby will look like when they’re older. There are some features we’re more likely to inherit from only one of our parents, and others that can surprise us simply because they run in our family history. Genetics are an incredible thing and they can tell us a lot about ourselves (or who we’ll be like in the future, that is). But if one thing is for sure, it’s that parents are going to love their baby no matter who or what they look like!
One thing a baby will inherit from their father is height. Parenting magazine states that taller men are likely to have taller offspring, and vice versa for men who lean on the shorter side.
Even more, some evidence suggests that the father’s age at conception may also play a role in his children’s height.
"Our study shows that increasing paternal age at childbirth is associated with taller stature and reduced adiposity but a less favorable lipid profile in their children," a 2013 study stated about their results, Medical Daily reports. So, the older the dad the taller the baby!
Having strong cheekbones is all the rage right now- just think about why everyone is obsessed with contouring.
So if high cheekbones run in your family, then your offspring should consider themselves lucky because they’ll likely inherit this physical trait. We guess that explains why Lily-Rose Depp looks so much like her mother!
A 2017 study published by Scientific Reports found evidence that cheekbone shaped is passed down from generation to generation, Stylist reports. So baby will likely have a face shape that resembles that of one of their parent’s or others in their family.
Dominant traits are inherited characteristics that are more likely to be passed on then other genetic traits. These can include features like hair and eye colour. For instance, dark hair is more dominant than light hair, which is one reason redheads are so rare.
Dimples are one example of a dominant trait, WebMD explains. Dimples are small depressions in the skin, usually around the cheek. Most people find them extra adorable in young children. So if one parent has this feature, it’s more than likely their offspring will inherit it. And you’re bound for some cute kids!
Some research suggests that we’re more prone to inherit our lips from our paternal genes. “When it comes to lip structure and size of the baby, the father’s genes come into play,” First Cry Parenting explains. “Full lips are a dominant trait, which the baby can be born with if his father has the same.”
With that being said, it’s not always a guarantee the baby will inherit dad’s pout, especially when fuller lips run on mom’s side. For instance, all of Angelina Jolie’s biological children have inherited her famously full lips, despite their father Brad Pitt having a thinner smile. So you can’t always anticipate what the baby’s smile will be like just based on dad’s, unfortunately.
Colour blindness is an inherited condition that decreases a person’s ability to see colour or differences between colours. It can make everyday things, like seeing traffic lights or choosing clothing, all the more difficult. However, it is a not a life-impairing condition and there are many cases of people not realizing they’re colour blind for decades.
Experts have linked colour blindness in mothers to an increased chance their sons may inherit the trait, WebMD explains. So if mama has this condition, keep an eye out to see any signs that your kids, particularly boys, may be facing the same challenge.
Unattached earlobes are a type of earlobe believed to be inherited genetically as they’re a dominant gene. They’re considered unattached when they hang free rather than attaching to the side of the head. So, if one or both parents have this feature, then it’s very likely their offspring will inherit it as well, Livestrong predicts.
Not everyone loves unattached earlobes. Some people find attached earlobes more appealing and undergo procedures, later on, to achieve the look if they were born with unattached earlobes. Otherwise, there’s no reason people seek to ‘correct’ this sort of feature.
While heaviness is partially dependent on lifestyle, such as eating a healthy diet and being active, it’s also influenced by genetics. If mom and dad had a few extra pounds in childhood (or still do!), then it’s likely the baby may be a bit heavier than average later on in life.
If mom and dad had a few extra pounds in childhood (or still do!), then it’s likely the baby may be a bit heavier than average later on in life. "We've long observed that heavier parents have heavier kids, and we now know that at least one particular gene causes increased [size]," Kate Garber, Ph.D., and the director of education in the genetics department at Emory University School of Medicines told Parenting magazine.
She added, "It appears that a child who inherits that variant from each parent will be 6.6 to 8.8 pounds heavier, on average, than someone without those two genetic copies."
Just like baldness is passed on through the mother’s side, so is hair texture and colour usually. While babies are still able to inherit hair from their father’s genes, they have a higher likelihood of ending up with locks just like their mama, First Cry Parenting explains.
With that being said, certain hair types and colours are dominant. Just because some studies suggest mom’s hair is more likely to be passed on doesn’t mean it’s a guarantee. For example, if dad has dark features and dark hair, the baby will likely share similar features. Similarly, both parents need to have the redhead gene to pass it on to their offspring.
If you thought that just because one parent has red hair then the baby will too, think again. Having one parent with red hair doesn’t guarantee their offspring will look the same way, although it helps.
True redheads actually need to get the redhead gene from both sides of their parents. Their parents don’t necessarily need to be redheads themselves, but they do need the gene in their family history (thus redheads can be born to blonde parents or two dark haired parents even).
Experts estimate that only 1-2 percent of the population actually has true red hair, Parenting reports, so it is a bit of a rarity.
Most of our physical features are passed on to us genetically, so it’s no huge surprise that nose shapes run in the family.
A 2017 study found that there’s a 66% likelihood of inheriting a nose shape that runs in your family, Stylist reports. So, the baby is likely to have a nose that looks like one of the parents or even a mixture of both.
Certain types of noses are more dominant than others, too. Large, broad noses or ones with bumps on the bridge are more dominant, while narrow, smaller noses are considered recessive. So if big noses run in the family, then that’s probably what your little one will end up looking like too!
Pattern Baldness is another condition that is thought to be passed on from mothers to sons and it’s the most common form of hair loss.
Though it can affect both genders, this condition more commonly impacts men. It occurs when there is evidence of an extreme receding hairline as well as the thinning of hair. It is attributed to a combination of genetics passed on through the maternal bloodline, WebMD explains.
There are different techniques to treat pattern baldness, including hair transplant surgery, but nothing proven to be wholly successful.
If you want to know if your baby will be a rightie or a leftie, simply look to see what the father is. WebMD explains that there is a reason to believe left or right handedness is dependent on the paternal genes. This means that left-handed men should produce left-handed babies, and vice versa for righties.
There are different attributes associated with the two different dominant hands. According to Everyday Health, for instance, those with left-hands are generally more creative, less academically inclined, and have higher rates of mental health problems. Right-handers, on the other hand, tend to be more organized, more book smart, and less talented in the arts.
Eyebrows are another physical trait that you inherit from your parents. Genome explains that you can learn a lot about what your brows will look like as you age from your parents. Whether theirs turned grey early on, is thick or thing, and even the angular shape can be hints into if their offspring’s brows will be on fleek or not in the future.
Some brow shapes and textures are more dominant than others. Large, bushy eyebrows tend to be more hereditary, so you’re likely to walk away with full brows if one or both of your parents have this trait.
It’s all in the details!
There are dozens of things we inherit from our parents, including the shape of our toenails and fingernails. So if you’re curious as to what types of hands or feet your little one will end up with, just take a look at your own. The same is said to go for fingerprint patterns.
“When your baby’s born, you may notice that other little characteristics like fingernail, toe or toenail shape and even fingerprint patterns,” Living and Loving explains. “More unusual traits, such as webbed toes, can also be inherited.” Do you think your baby will have mom or dad’s fingers?
Cystic Fibrosis is an unfortunately inherited disorder that causes harm to the digestive system, lungs, and other critical organs. According to the Mayo Clinic, all newborns in the US are now tested for this condition at birth, as it can be detected before the 1-month mark.
“People with cystic fibrosis have a higher than normal level of salt in their sweat. Parents often can taste the salt when they kiss their children,” the site says of how to detect this condition in your child. “Most of the other signs and symptoms of cystic fibrosis affect the respiratory system and digestive system.”
According to Livestrong, cystic fibrosis is an example of a recessive gene and can be passed on if one or both parents have a family history of it.
Webbed toes are another dominant feature that your baby is likely to have if one or both of their parents have it, as well. But so long as it runs in the family on either the maternal or paternal, the child could inherit this trait. So mom and dad don’t necessarily need to have webbed feet of their own.
"Sometimes when we evaluate children with minor abnormalities—say, ears that are shaped funny or webbed toes—it turns out that it's simply something that runs in the family," Barbara Burton, M.D, the clinical practice director at the Children’s Memorial Hospital in Chicago told Parents magazine.
While you may not have thought about it, the physical appearance of your teeth is something you’re more likely to inherit from your father, just the same as it is with their smile. Certain teeth features are more dominant than others, but a quick comparison of what dad’s dental work look like can reveal a lot about the likelihood of their future child’s.
“Among the physical traits inherited from father, teeth structure is hereditary,” First Cry Parenting explains. “There is a gene which determines the gap which comes between teeth. If the father has a gap tooth, it is very likely the baby will have as well.”
Albinism is a condition is a genetic disorder that produces a lack of colour in the skin, hair and eyes in addition to causing vision problems.
“A defect in one of several genes that produce or distribute melanin causes albinism,” Health Line explains. "The defect may result in the absence of melanin production, or a reduced amount of melanin production. The defective gene passes down from both parents to the child and leads to albinism.”
It is believed to be a recessive trait, meaning a person can carry it without it being one of their physical features. So although mom and dad may not deal with albinism, if they both have a family history of it, their baby may be born with it.
While there’s no conclusive evidence that suggests all body types are related to genetics, as environment and lifestyle still play a big part, some research has suggested the apple-shaped bodies are more likely to be inherited than other figures.
“Apple-shaped bodies are more genetically linked than pear-shaped or skinny ones. Some speculate this is because you also inherit genes from your father, and men typically store extra pounds in their guts,” NBC News explains, referring a study from the ‘90s. “So if your mother carries [heaviness] in her stomach too, it could increase your chances of being an apple.”
A cleft chin is another dominant gene that ensures if one of your parents has it, then you’re likely to have it, too.
“The cleft chin is hereditary. It is caused by the lower jawbone not fusing totally during development.” Living and Loving explains. “If you or your partner has one of these traits, there’s a 50/50 chance of your baby inheriting it.”
With that being said, the site warns, “However, these traits are inherited with ‘variable expression’. This means that the cleft may be smaller, or the dimple may be in a different spot, or not appear at all until the next generation.”