Of all the things we look forward to during pregnancy, setting sights on your baby for the very first time has to be up there with the best. As your due date gets closer, you may find yourself daydreaming about what your baby will look like – will they have your eyes? Your button nose? Will they have their father’s strong jaw or his thick, dark hair? What colour eyes will they have? Was the story you heard about heartburn during pregnancy true, and if so, will your baby be born with a full head of hair?
As much as some online games and predictors will tell you they can tell you the appearance of your baby, the reality is that a lot of what your baby looks like will be scientific – based on the genetic makeup of both you and the biological father of your child.
Here are some things you may not know about your baby’s appearance.
- Eye Color – most babies are born with blue-grey eyes, and these can change colour in the weeks and months following birth. This is because the iris’s make-up contains melanocytes which respond to light to activate the color. In the womb where your baby has spent the last nine months, the surroundings are dark and dull, whereas after birth the sunlight may trigger a change in both the shade and/or color of the iris. In the majority of cases, your baby’s permanent eye color will be fully determined by around 6-9 months of age.
- Hair – Whether your baby inherits your dark brown hair or the full curls of their father, will depend upon both the Mother and Father’s DNA and whether the genes are dominant or recessive. As these genes aren’t always obvious, it can be hard to predict how much hair your baby will have, or what it may look like. One thing you may not know, however, is that it is incredibly common for your newborn to shed whatever hair they were born within the first four months. You will often notice your baby’s hair becomes much finer, or that they wear away a section of their hair due to friction, normally at the back of the head due to the amount of time they spend lying in the crib. Do not worry if your baby’s hair is falling out, this is simply down to post-birth hormones, just like the hair shedding that Moms experience after birth too.
- Face Shape – Whilst you may have been expecting the chubby-cheeked round face that you had as a child, it is also quite common for your baby’s face and head shape to be longer or almost cone-shaped after birth – but this may change fairly rapidly. Don’t forget that labor is a fairly traumatic experience for a baby, putting their body through a quite immense amount of pressure as they enter and leave the birth canal. Because the bones in your baby’s skull aren’t permanently fused, their head shape adapts to help their journey during labour, meaning their head may be more pointed or peaked at the top when they first enter the world.
- Weight – If you’ve got a larger bump than most or are often asked if you’re expecting twins, you may be certain that your baby will be substantial in weight when they are born – but this isn’t always the case. Whilst private scans and measuring your bump can give a good indicator, much of your bump size may actually depend on the size of your placenta and fluids – your baby may in fact be smaller than you think.
Ultimately, whilst predicting your baby’s appearance may be fun, patience is a virtue. One thing is for sure, when you see your baby for the first time, it will certainly be worth the wait.