20 Things That Moms Think Are Genetic (But Surprisingly Aren't)

When mom and dad find out that they are going to become parents, thousands of questions come front and center. Of them, the most common questions are will it be a boy or a girl, what will he or she look like, and what traits will he or she will get from me?

Next comes the genetic testing, if parents choose to go that route. These tests rule out a lot of genetic medical disorders a little one can get from mom or dad. But what about all the good stuff? Will he or she look more like mom's side of the family or dad's?

The thing is, there are a lot of things that moms think are genetic, but totally aren't. While almost everything can arguably be perceived as genetic since we're all just a bunch of 'x' and 'y' chromosomes, there are (strangely enough) some things that happen when a baby is born that has nothing to do with genes and even less to do with that random hereditary shoulder lean mom's great, great, great grandfather had.

So, ready to find out what traits that little bun in the oven can just get relatively randomly? We bet most of these things never even crossed the minds of moms to be. Excited? Read on!

Continue scrolling to keep reading

Click the button below to start this article in quick view

Start Now

20 Marked At Birth

via:Lanette and Shaun

Believe it or not, birthmarks are actually not genetic. You know those weird shaped sometimes discolored marks that can appear pretty much anywhere on one's body? They aren't genetic! That's right! Even though that cute little spot shaped like Texas on your little one's left arm strangely resembles the birthmark on uncle Bob's right leg, those marks just kind of appeared.

According to BetterHealth.gov, birthmarks are marks that appear at birth or shortly after. Birthmarks are not hereditary they happen by chance. Though it is not completely unlikely that members of the same family can have similar marks on the skin that appeared at birth or shortly afterward.

19 Listening Up


"Watch out! Grandma has the ears of a hawk." We all have that one person in the family that can hear everything, at times it seems they can even hear what we're thinking. Unfortunately, there's no way your little one will develop that same trait just due to family alone. He or she will have to have great hearing all on his or her own because hearing well is not genetic or hereditary. Unlike being hard of hearing or having hearing impairments, which is genetic due to certain genes that affect how one hears, having good hearing is not genetic according to the CDC.

18 Hairy Fingers


Some babies are born with lanugo. You know that soft hairy coating that forms over your little one so they stay warm inside the womb that's still visible? Well, for other babies, the lanugo disappears by about the 36th week in utero. But digital hair, the hair that forms on a little one's fingers isn't something that falls off or gets absorbed and usually lasts well into adulthood. Finger hair, known as digital hair is surprisingly not genetic. One could have imagined that if dad is hairy the kid will be, too, not necessarily. While hair color is genetic and hereditary, digital hair is not, according to Live Science.

17 Sitting Up Tall


Mom may have the best posture on this side of the Mississippi but that's probably due to her debutant training or her desk job, and less due to her grandmother or grandfather.

Good posture is not hereditary or genetic, In fact, neither is bad posture, though slouching and back problems are. However, according to very well health, if you happen to have bad posture or you see your little one developing bad posture, it is pretty easy to correct with some exercises and potentially physical therapy if the problem really warrants that. Always consult a licensed health professional before undergoing any form of treatment of the spine, the website warns.

16 Dreamy Eyes


Did you know that eye color is actually not genetic? Hold on let me explain. I know memories of high school biology are rolling back in full force, but what many people don't discuss are recessive traits. Recessive basically means that they aren't the traits that are dominant in family members. So if both mom and dad have brown eyes, it'd be hereditary and genetic to give their little one brown eyes, but it would not be to give them blue eyes. It's a recessive trait that could be somewhere on one side of the family's lineage but sometimes it is just completely random.

15 Pronouncing Those Syllables

via:St. Louis Post-Dispatch

Lisps or speech impediments can impact a child's speech and give him or her a hard time pronouncing certain letters and sounds. Most often children with lisps have a hard time pronouncing the letter 'S.' According to the website Health of Children, "In some cases, a child with no physical abnormality will develop a lisp. It has been thought that some of these children may be imitating another child or an adult who lisps. Lisping is also associated with immature development." But they are not genetic. So if you see a family with a little difficulty pronouncing a few words, chances are that manner of speech was learned and not genetic.

14 Bow Legs


Most toddlers will exhibit a bit of bow-leggedness at one point or another, especially when they are first learning to walk. But most of the time any time that sort of works itself out by about 3 years old. The thing is though, bow-leggedness is not hereditary. Instead, researchers like Healthline say that it's something that can actually be linked to a bone disease, and less of something that would be passed down from great granddaddy. If your little one shows signs that his or her legs just aren't straightening out, consider asking the doctor what to do to get things resolved.

13 Unique Smiles


What is quite possibly one of the most characteristic things that one notices when you're happy is your smile. Many people have a smile that is super memorable and others, not so much. But having a gap in ones two front teeth is something that can leave a memorable mark on many people. Surprisingly enough though, gaps in teeth are not genetic. So, no just because your aunt from your husband's side has that really distinguished gap, that does not mean that your little one will possibly inherit that trait. Sorry, mom. Strangely enough, though one's jaw size is genetic and can determine how big one's face is and how the teeth grow in.

12 Moles Of Any Kind

via:Famosos ao Minuto

One of the most famous moles in Hollywood is possibly Cindy Crawford's. And one of the most famous moles in your family may be the one on the foot of one of your distant relatives, but most moles are not genetic unless they are the kind when you have about 100 or so. So although a mole may look cute or very Crawford-esque, your little one probably will not inherit the same mole you or your partner has, it's just not the way genetics work, according to The Clevland Clinic. Most of the time moles are nothing to worry about, however, so unless you suspect something fishy is happening no need to worry if your little one has one.

11 Foot Arches


Foot arches are not genetic, neither are flat feet or overly arched feet according to foothealthfacts.org. According to the site, the way one's foot is arched largely depends on how one's spine is developing. So mom, have dreams of your little one becoming a twirling ballerina? Or having visions of your tough little guy becoming the best all-star basketball player since Jordan? You may want to examine those feet first since you and your partner's feet are not really an indication as to what type of feet your little one will have. Keep the faith though shoes can work wonders on feet.

10 Inny And Outy Bellybuttons

via:Best Ten News

Something that everyone has and that very little people have control over what they will look like is belly buttons. Whether your little one has an inny or an outy is actually not genetic at all. According to most pediatricians one's belly button shape, size, and protrusion actually depend largely on the way they were tied at birth. Occasionally, things like an umbilical hernia can occur making your baby's belly button protrude in a weird way, this can be somewhat difficult to discern from a typical outy, so if you think something is off, go see the baby's pediatrician he or she will let you know if there is any real cause for concern.

9 Mr. Or Mrs. Smarty Pants


"Your baby is so smart." "Your little one is so intuitive." "Wow they can do that already, she must get her brains from her mother!"

What Mother doesn't want to hear complete strangers gloat about how brilliant their little one is? The only thing is mom, your genes can't take all the credit. Unfortunately, intelligence is not hereditary. One really has to put in the extra parenting work in order to produce a top of the line smarty pants. This means teaching, listening, and all that fun stuff parents do to prepare their kids for the real world.

8 Attractiveness

via:Harper's Bazaar

Have you heard the expression beauty lies in the eyes of the beholder? Well, that is true for genetics as well. Sure your little one will look like you and your partner, but every once in a while that mix of chromosomes can really throw a curve ball on the attractive meter and your little one's features may leave you scratching your head. Attractiveness is not genetic, though many believe that in order to have a cute baby there need to be attractive parents, that just isn't the case. In order to have a cute baby one just needs to like babies or make sure that the couple in question has a lineage of a few favorable traits.

7 Laugh Out Loud


Surely you've heard that family member with the laugh that's contagious and that somehow manages to fill up a room. That warm feeling you get when you hear someone really laugh, really fully, unfortunately, is not something you can hope can just be passed down from generation to generation. Laughing is not genetic, nor is the sound of ones laugh. So in order to ensure your little one has a cute laugh you may just want to play videos of that adorable cat slipping on the freshly waxed floor over and over in order to coach the way it sounds. Just Kidding.

6 Sound Of Voice


Similar to the way you laugh, the way your voice sounds and pretty much everything that goes on in the voice box is just not genetic. Though family members have been known to have singing in their veins... weird, right? That's probably due to the anatomy of one's larynx or vocal cords developing similarly in families, which is important when it comes to singing since one needs a pretty decent set of pipes in order to carry a tune; but when it comes to actually speaking, that can vary like black and white, according to a study conducted by the University of Iowa Voice Academy.

5 Smile Indentations


Aren't dimples just the cutest? Those little smile indentations can make any cherubic faced baby just that much cuter. But the thing is, moms and dads will never know if their little one will get that trait since dimples are not genetic. At least not a genetic trait, dimples are actually a genetic defect according to Baby Center. If both parents have dimples babies have a 50 to 100 percent chances of developing dimples, but not because they are passed down genetically, but because both parents have shortened facial muscles that cause a divot in the face when he or she smiles, and the baby may as well. Who knew?

4 Quick Learners


How quickly a baby learns to walk, talk, stand, run, or throw a ball is sadly not genetic. It's easy to ask grandma when you did something in hopes of gauging when your little bundle of joy will be on his or her way to doing whichever action for the first time, but unfortunately, it just doesn't work that way. Every child is different. Each child advances and learns at their own pace and develops when he or she is ready, child psychologist Nancy Brown says. So try not to be worried, or pressured if you walked at 12 months and your little one is still crawling only by 18 months. All in due time, mom.

3 Smelly Toes


My little guy has had smelly toes since he was about one month old. Neither his father or I have had issues with our feet smelling so I was a bit perplexed as to where he got such an adorable trait. (Insert sarcasm here.) As it turns out, body odor, of the feet or anywhere else just is not genetic. A lot of it is hormonal and depends on how each individual's hormones function in their body. In our case, that's a good thing because at least I don't need to run out and get odor eaters for the entire family, but it could mean that parents have to be on the lookout for future generations, just in case.

2 Metabolism And Food Consumption

via:CERP del Sur

I have had my fair share of scoffing at those people who can just eat and eat and eat and still seem to be swimsuit ready. If you are hoping your little one will be the same way even if you aren't, cross your fingers because that just may happen. Metabolism and how quickly one processes food is not genetic, surprisingly enough. Though how one physically looks is at times, genetic, how quickly one's body metabolizes food is not. So just keep an eye on your little one at first to make sure he or she isn't getting too full before you throw in seconds or thirds.

1 What A Personality!


Ah, personality. The one thing parents wait with bated breath to see in their little ones. Usually, by about 6 months your little one's personality will begin to develop and parents can get a pretty good feel for how their little one will be, personality wise. Unfortunately, or fortunately, I guess it depends on how you look at it, your little one's personality has nothing to do with genes and genetics. Your little one is unique and will have a personality all his or her own, while there are certain characteristics one can learn from being around Mom, Dad, or other family members, those traits are not passed down through genomes.

References: BetterHealth.gov, Centers for Disease Control, VeryWell Health, The Clevland Clinic

More in Did You Know...