The Bigger the Head, the Smarter the Baby, Says New Study

Image Source: Thinkstock
Image Source: Thinkstock

Apparently size does matter when it comes to determining just how successful a child may be later in life, according to a study led by UK Biobank. Well, at least when it comes to the size of their cranium. The study, which was recently published in the journal Molecular Psychiatry, suggests the larger the head, the bigger their future success. (So if you were looking for a silver lining to all those hours of pushing, there you go.)

According to the study, researchers discovered the findings while examining the link between IQ, genes, and health. Data used in the study was gathered by UK Biobank from a pool of 502,655 individuals between the age of 37 and 73. Physical assessments, blood, urine, and saliva samples were collected from the subjects between 2006 and 2010 in the UK.

While analyzing data from 100,000 Britons, they discovered that those with larger than average (13.5-14 inches) infant head circumference were more likely to get a degree and scored higher on verbal-numerical reasoning tests.

“These results demonstrate substantial shared genetic aetiology between brain size, cognitive ability and educational attainment,” the study stated.

Of course,  genetics, upbringing, parental education, overall environment and other factors help to influence a child’s level of intellect, however, this recent study helps to build on past results on this topic.

As a mom who gave birth to two girls with larger-than average heads, all that frustration over fitting those noggins into too-small onesies suddenly seems worth it. Okay, so giving birth to two beautiful daughters probably made the painful labors and recovery worth it on its own, but these findings are certainly a bonus.

Both my girls had large heads as infants, with my eldest measuring in at 14 inches, which is right on the cusp of “average.” At 6 pounds, 14.5 ounces and 20 inches long, her head appeared to be nothing short of massive. It was almost cartoon-like in appearance when compared to her petite frame.

Although she was swimming in her infant-sized clothing, my daughter’s head barely made it through the teeny tiny cutout. She was consistently in the highest percentile for head circumference. In fact it, was a running joke my husband and I had with her pediatrician, who would make crystal clear that in fact our daughter — and later, daughters — had a big head for her age.

Back at home, my husband and I would pull and tug on the onesie’s collar to get our baby undressed — not stopping until we heard it rip slightly, making it safer to pull over our daughter’s bountiful head. And it wasn’t uncommon for my daughter to frequently rock a onesie that had been purposely cut at the collar, just to ensure it would go off and on easily.

Eventually, all onesies were given away, to make way for a wardrobe full of tops that could be snapped, buttoned, or constructed with enough elasticity to stretch over that great big noggin of hers.

And hats — all those adorable tiny baby hats — were quickly donated, too.

But hey, I’d trade a mountain of adorable baby hats for a smart kiddo any day of the week.

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