So you’ve had the wonderful realisation that you’re pregnant. Congratulations! Whether you’ve already decorated the nursery or are just beginning your pregnancy journey, you might be wondering 'What will my baby look like?' Will they have your tangled hair (oh no!) or his blue eyes (yes please), or even Grandma’s long lashes?
Before you find an app that will morph the faces of you and your other half (be prepared for a few laughs), a little science will help you predict what your baby will look like. Whether you know if you’re having a little lad or lass, or have decided to wait for the surprise, you can use genetics to help you guess at your baby’s features.
If you don’t remember much from your biology classes, don’t worry. What you need to know is that each of us gets half our genetics from our mum and half from our dad. With genes passed down through the generations, it’s very possible that your little one could end up with Grandad’s jawline! Here’s how you can use some basic biology to peek into the future and picture your baby before birth.
so what will my baby look like?
If you think your partner’s dimples are utterly adorable or can’t get enough of their freckles, you’re in luck. Such traits are thought to be dominant and more likely to be passed on to your little darling. Recessive features like attached earlobes and thin lips are less likely to reappear down the line. However, some characteristics aren’t quite so predictable because they’re affected by more than one gene. In such cases, it can take a bit of guesswork…
how can i predict the colour of my baby’s eyes?
Get your crayons at the ready for this one because there are lots of combinations! Eye colour is determined by a complex mixing of many genes, some of which are dominant while others are recessive. This means that while brown eyes are a familiar sight, it is possible for two dark-eyed parents to have a blue-eyed babe. The simplest way to work out your baby’s eye colour is an online predictor. It’ll make a guess using genetics but our genes are complicated so you could still be surprised by your baby’s peepers.
when do babies’ eyes change colour?
Even if your eye colour prediction is right at birth, it’s still possible that their baby blue gaze could change colour over time. That’s because exposure to light once born can stimulate the production of melanin within the iris (their eye’s coloured part). In some babies, this can cause those sea-blue pearls to gradually darken until around 12 months old. Look out for the most obvious change around six to nine months, though it can take up to three years for their eyes to settle into their true hue. In some cases, subtle changes can even continue into adulthood!
what colour will my baby’s hair be?
Just as with eye colour, your baby’s locks could turn out to be many different shades. Darker hair tends to be dominant over lighter colours but it’s not as black and white brown and blonde as that. Different pigments from mum and dad, as well as grandparents, mix together to produce a range of hues. Just like kids with paint pots!
From perfect ringlets to silky smooth, predicting your baby’s hair type isn’t simple either. While the straight hair gene is recessive to its curly counterpart, they both combine together to produce mixed results. Looking at baby pictures of you and your partner might help you guess but the only way to really know is to wait for your bundle to arrive! Just remember that their hair is one of the many things that can change in the first few months after birth.
how tall will my baby grow?
If you always struggle to reach high shelves or constantly bump your head on low ceilings, your little one may grow to have the same problem. Of course, that partly depends on the height of your partner. To guestimate how tall your baby will grow to be, you need to do a bit of maths. Simply add your height to that of your other half and divide it by two. Then, add on two inches if you’re expecting a little lad, and minus it for a lass. The other method is to double your child’s height when they reach a certain age; 18 months for a girl or two years for a boy.
However, neither method is entirely accurate. Lifestyle can have an impact, as can nutrition, gender and the general unpredictability of genetics. So, while short parents tend to have shorter children, your little one could surprise you and become the basketball champion you always dreamed of being!
All in all, it’s tricky to answer the classic 'What will my baby look like' question! If you really can’t wait until you welcome your little bundle into the world, there are ways to take a guess. But a guess it shall be! If we can predict nothing else accurately, we know that children are rather unpredictable. That trait definitely extends to their looks!
So while you hope the family chin doesn’t creep in, the only way to truly know what your baby will look like is to wait and see! Just cross your fingers for a healthy and happy tot then let genetics do the rest. Whether they get the luscious locks or glittering gaze you’re dreaming of, surprises are bound to happen where babies are involved…