Your Baby’s Head

by | Mar 25, 2022 | Newborn Care, News

​By Laura Jana, MD, FAAP & Jennifer Shu, MD, FAAP

Many parents have been mistakenly led to believe that all newborns are born picture-perfect, with pretty little round heads. Let us just say that for anyone who has gone through or will experience vaginal delivery, it is nothing short of a blessing that a baby’s skull is made up of soft bony plates that are capable of compressing and overlapping to fit through the narrow birth canal—a process referred to as molding.

Shaping up

For some babies—such as those who “drop” well in advance of being born (in other words, settle themselves head first deep into their mother’s pelvis well in advance of delivery), or those who must endure long labors and narrow birth canals—the result is often a newborn head shape that more closely resembles a cone than a nice round ball.

If you run your fingers over your newborn’s skull, you may also find that you can feel ridges along the areas where the bony plates of the skull have overlapped. In short, slightly misshapen heads are quite common right after birth. 

Fortunately, over the next several weeks the bones of your baby’s skull will almost assuredly round out and the ridges will disappear—assuming, that is, that your baby doesn’t spend too much time on their back with his head in any one position. This is a common but easily avoidable cause for the development of a flat back or side of the head known as plagiocephaly.

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