STUDY: Women With Prettier Faces Want More Children

women facesTypical female face with high (left) and low (right) oestrogen levels

Photo: Impact Lab

Women with more attractive facial features have higher levels of oestrogen and will likely want more children, according to a recently published study by the University of St Andrews.

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To show a correlation between estrogen levels and maternity desire, researchers asked 84 women their ideal number of children and compared it with their urine samples.

The results revealed a positive correlation, which contradicts previous research linking a woman’s maternal tendencies with her testosterone level.

Psychologist Dr. Miriam Law Smith, one of the lead authors, says:

We know that oestrogen is strongly related to maternal behaviour in many other animal species, but to see such a large correlation in humans is astonishing.  Of course, we’re not saying that all maternal tendencies are related to oestrogen levels, because maternal tendencies are also shaped by our experiences, our background, our upbringing, and a whole host of social and cultural factors.

Furthermore, oestrogen levels have been proven to sculpt facial appearances since it inhibits bone growth, resulting in slender, more feminine features. The study found that subjects who wanted more children typically had more feminine faces.

They are also perceived to be more attractive by men.

“In evolutionary terms, it makes sense for men to favour feminine fertile women – those that did would have had more babies,” Law Smith added.

The research is published in the journal Hormones and behaviour.

Composite faces of women with lowest 'ideal number of children' (left), and woman with highest 'ideal number of children' (right)

Women with poutier lips (right) have higher maternal tendencies

Women with larger eyes (right) have higher maternal tendencies

Women with smaller noses (right) have higher maternal tendencies

Women with smaller jaws (right) have higher maternal tendencies

Women with rounder hairlines (left) have higher maternal tendencies

Women with smaller ears (left) have higher maternal tendencies

Women with more defined brow ridges (right) have higher maternal tendencies

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