If you find yourself daydreaming of your future baby’s face, you’re not alone. As parents, we all want to know what our baby will look like. Will they have Dad’s dimples? Mom’s blue eyes? Or maybe they will inherit their grandmother’s facial features. Let’s find out more about how genetics and maybe some apps can help you make predictions about your baby’s appearance.
The Role of Genetics in Your Baby’s Appearance
Genetics is a complex branch of biology that deals with genetic traits and features. To keep it simple, genetics can help give an idea of what your baby will look like, based on different gene variations. There are millions of combinations that are possible and still much to learn about gene variation, but there are some things we do know.
Your future baby will receive half of their chromosomes from each parent. These will combine to create your baby’s features. We know that some traits are dominant, meaning that if one parent has them then your baby will likely have them as well. Others are recessive, and these traits will usually only appear if both parents carry the recessive gene.
Freckles are an example of a dominant trait, so if mom or dad have freckles, it is likely that your baby’s face will also develop those adorable spots. But if only mom has blonde hair, there is more of a chance that your baby will have dad’s darker hair, since blonde hair is a recessive trait.
What is fun about genetics is that they are not entirely predictable. Even if one parent has a dominant trait, your baby still may not inherit it. When genes are passed along, parents may have recessive genes within their DNA that are passed along as well. Two recessive genes will then be more likely to influence what your baby will look like. For example, two brunette parents may have a red haired child if they both carry and pass along the recessive trait for red hair.
Although there is no way to determine with full certainty how your future baby will look, there are some features that genetics gives us clues about.
Your Baby’s Hair
Your baby will inherit many gene pairs that determine hair color and texture, leading to many different combinations. Scientists are unsure of how many gene pairs play a role in hair color, but they do know that the shade is influenced by how many color-producing cells each gene makes. The more color-producing cells, the darker your baby’s hair color will be.
Your baby's hair color may not stay the same hue that it is at birth—if they have any hair at birth! Dark haired babies may become blonde over the course of their toddler years, and vice versa. Your child’s hair color may continue to change through their childhood until they go through puberty.
Your Baby’s Eyes
When your baby is born, their eyes will likely be dark brown or gray-blue. Brown eyes typically will not change, but the eye color or shade of blue-eyed babies will usually change until they are between six months and one year old.
Eye color is also influenced by color-producing cells, known as melanin. Brown eyes are the dominant trait, so if you or your partner have brown eyes, then your baby will likely inherit those. However, it is possible for brown eyed parents to have a child with blue eyes if two recessive genes are passed along.
You Baby’s Complexion
Skin tone is determined by a combination of genes that determine the amount of melanin produced. This is influenced by the skin tone of both parents, as well as grandparents and ancestors.
Your baby’s complexion will likely change or darken over the first few weeks or months of life before settling into their natural color.
Your Baby’s Height and Build
Even if you give birth to a large baby, their newborn height and weight measurements are not indicative of their future size. There are over one hundred genes that play a role in determining height.
The size of you and your partner are not the only influences. If your baby has tall grandparents, your baby may also grow to be tall. Overall, about 80% of their size comes from their genes, and 20% is influenced by the health of the mother during pregnancy, certain illnesses, and nutrition throughout childhood.
What Parent Will the Baby Look Like More?
Parents each give their baby 50% of their DNA, but that does not mean the baby’s appearance will be an even split of both parents. Your baby may be the spitting image of you, your partner, a sibling, or even a grandparent.
Many people think that babies tend to look more like dad. Biologically, this hasn’t been proven, but anecdotally, you may see this comparison made among friends and on social media. Baby’s appearance is subject to multiple factors, so there is also a slim chance that your baby doesn’t look like either of its parents!
Are There Apps to Predict a Baby’s Face?
If you just can’t wait to see what your future baby’s face will look like, there are apps that may be able to give you a glimpse at your little one’s facial features.
These apps use algorithms and artificial intelligence to analyze uploaded photos and combine them to create a baby photo. Apps like a baby face generator will morph high-quality photos or baby pictures of mom and dad together to guess what your baby will look like.
These apps can be a fun way to imagine your future baby’s face, but keep in mind that no scientific data or research supports the accuracy of their estimations. Baby photo generators can be found in the app store for iOS or Android, or through Google. They may require a subscription or in-app purchases.
These baby face generators can provide a fun game or silly decor for your baby shower, but before you spend any money on one, it is probably best to make sure you have everything you need from your baby checklist first. The resulting baby photos can range from somewhat believable to downright hilarious!
Understanding a bit about genetics and looking through baby photos of you and your partner are the best ways to predict what your future baby will look like. Remember that traits may skip generations, and although mom and dad may not have a visible trait, they can still both carry recessive genes that combine to affect their future baby’s appearance. Use the tips in this article to help you better imagine the adorable face of your future baby, and happy daydreaming!