All moms really want when they are pregnant is to have a healthy baby. But of course, health and appearance can go hand in hand, and moms can't help but wonder how cute their little one will be.
Of course, the biggest part of the equation in how the baby will look comes from genetics, but there are some things that can happen that can impact the baby's looks. Sometimes, the mom is to blame, for good or for bad. There are some superstitions about how to make sure the baby is beautiful, but research has also given some insights in to how to avoid birth defects that might impact the baby's looks.
From mom's food choices to the things she exposes her baby to in the womb — if she is at her healthiest, the baby will be even more beautiful.
Here are 20 things women do during pregnancy that affect the baby's appearance.
No one wants to get food poisoning, but it's even more dangerous for moms who are pregnant. Their immune system is down. That is why doctors recommend they avoid food that can get contaminated like sprouts and deli meats. Food poisoning isn't just annoying. It could mean that the baby is lacking in nutrients for a few days, and that could change the development of certain features.
Moms need to know that their decisions early on in the pregnancy are the ones that make the most impact on the baby's appearance, at least as far as facial features and birth defects like cleft palate or clubfoot. The major development of the baby's features happen in those first three months, so that's when the mom needs to follow her doctor's guidance the most and cut out unhealthy habits.
One of the most important things that moms need to do early on in pregnancy—preferably even before they get pregnant—is to start taking prenatal vitamins. The baby's spine forms around week four and five, when the mom just finds out she is having a baby, and folic acid can make a big difference in whether it forms correctly, and that can impact the baby's looks and development.
Fertility treatments have gotten better and better, and they allow thousands of women to become moms. But there are some increased risks to those children, and some end up looking differently than the mom expects. For one, there is an increased possibility of the baby coming early, which means they look different. Other defects could happen, but luckily they aren't likely.
In terms of health and appearance, the biggest problems can happen when the mom has really unhealthy habits. The hardest is when the mom or anyone else in the household does things they learned in health class are bad for their bodies. The baby's body is severely impacted too and is much more likely to have birth defects or other anomalies that happen in the womb, including changing the facial features.
Despite the cravings, it can be dangerous to consume too much sugar while pregnant, and that can impact the baby's appearance. Women with gestational diabetes and who eat too much might end up with macrosomia, which means a big pudgy baby. There are other worries too, but the mom will see their sugar consumption in the baby's rolls.
Milk is good for strong bones, and also for beautiful babies. The first benefit is in vitamin D, which can help moms avoid preterm birth and let the baby develop in stride. In addition, people in India believe that "golden milk" makes for an enhanced skin tone for the baby. They add saffron to their daily cup of milk, although moms have to be careful of overdoing it because too much saffron has been linked to contractions, according to The Adorable Baby.
This one isn't necessarily true, but some women are superstitious, and they might be concerned about the things that they eat. According to an old wives' tale, the baby could end up with a birthmark on the face if the mom eats too many strawberries. Some say that watermelon has the same impact, but the research doesn't back it up. So eat red fruit at your own risk.
Most of the time, moms-to-be are encouraged to add vitamins to their daily intake. But they need to be careful about vitamin A. In large amounts, it can actually be toxic and it can cause birth defects, according to Livestrong. It's found in a variety of sources, including milk and eggs as well as dark fruits and vegetables, so be careful not to overindulge. The vitamin is in some acne meds, so moms should stop using those as well.
Moms certainly deserve a little self-care while they are pregnant, but making their toes look pretty might have the opposite impact on the baby. That's because there are some hazards at nail places, including lots of chemicals and some possibility of infection. Some trigger points in the feet might also spur early contractions, so moms need to be careful when getting a pedicure.
When a pregnant woman gets sick, her baby can get sick too. And when the baby is developing, that could mean that the facial features and other things get changed. That's true of everything from the chickenpox to an infection down below. Moms shouldn't panic because if they get treatment quickly, the baby might be okay and any changes could be minimal.
One of the risk factors for having a baby with birth defects is being introduced to harmful chemicals. There are lots of dangers, from painting the nursery to harmful cleaning products or even smog in the air. Moms can encounter chemicals at home or at work, so they need to be careful so that the baby's appearance isn't impacted.
Preterm labor can be really intimidating in terms of the baby's health. But a preemie also looks a lot different. The skin can be translucent and the head will be a lot bigger in proportion to the body. Preemies can be smaller than other kids their age for a very long time. That's just what happens when the baby comes too early.
A woman's balance can get off during pregnancy between the baby bump and her loose ligaments. But a fall can cause issues with the baby's health and that could impact the appearance. Falling down might mean that the mom goes into labor or the placenta has an issue, which means less nutrients and a smaller baby.
Oranges are great for everyone, since the vitamin C in them can boost health and immunity. That amazing vitamin is also known to enhance the complexion of the mom and the baby. Fruits are definitely a healthy choice packed full of vitamins that can make the baby stronger and even more beautiful.
Exercise does wonders for a mom's health during pregnancy, and it can also be great for the baby's growth and development. That only means positive things for the baby's appearance. Doctors encourage moms to engage in moderate exercise, and a daily walk can be a beautiful thing for the mom and the baby.
Nuts are a really important part of a healthy lifestyle, and nutritionists especially recommend them in pregnancy. In addition, they are also known to be really beneficial for the baby's and the mama's skin. According to the Adorable Baby, the positive impacts to the appearance and physical health can't be overlooked.
More and more women take meds daily to combat health or mental conditions, and while doctors say that all meds could have an impact on the baby, some moms need to take them to ensure their health and the baby's. It's important to know that there can be birth defects when the mom takes meds, but that doesn't outweigh their benefits in some cases.
Most of the issues that have been documented about caffeine's impact on pregnancy involve behavior, but researchers say that they still don't know enough. Moms who drink more than two cups of coffee a day are more likely to have smaller babies, according to one study, which can mean other issues could come up.
Pregnant women are more likely to get sunburned than they usually are because of hormones, but we still highly recommend some time in the sunshine every day. That's because it can boost vitamin D, and that can enhance the mom's and the baby's health and beauty. Research shows that it can help moms avoid gestational diabetes and preeclampsia, which means that the baby will be healthy and more likely to make it to term.
Sources: Live Science, The Adorable Baby, Only My Health, Livestrong