If the baby was born with a flattened or crooked head, or if, as a newborn, the shape of the head started to bend, don’t worry, it manages to return to normal . This clinical condition is known as cranial asymmetry or flattened head syndrome, and depending on the measurements of the little head, it may be called Brachycephaly, Scaphocephaly, Plagiocephaly.
It can also occur, but less common than those mentioned above, it can be associated with Craniostenosis . It depends on which side got uneven. But, for all cases, both the mildest and the most serious, there are treatments.
How to Avoid or Correct Baby’s Crooked Head
The two longest diagonals of the baby’s head are the ones that tell if the baby’s head is bent. Depending on the degree of asymmetry, it can be classified as mild, moderate or severe .
Cranial asymmetry can spontaneously regress if pressure on the area, which previously caused the deformation, does not continue. Therefore, the sooner the problem is identified and precautionary measures are taken , the greater the chance that the head will return to “normal”. The ideal is to start taking them between 3 and 14 months of the child.
The measures are very simple: first, it is necessary to vary the position of the baby while he is awake, encouraging him to lie face down and play, at least four times a day, so that his head is not propped up on anything.
IMPORTANT: It is necessary that the baby has supervision during the prone position, and that he never sleeps in this position, as there is a risk of suffocation and sudden death .
Then moving the baby’s crib is also recommended, if possible every week. This is because, even if we don’t realize it, the baby has position and look vices, due to the arrangement of objects in the mother’s bedroom or bed in relation to the crib.
Some pillows for babies on trips, tested by pediatricians, can also help prevent the head from deforming. As a precaution, it is necessary to avoid leaving the baby too long in the baby comfort seat (in a car) or in the baby carriage . And also vary the way the baby is held, especially during breastfeeding .
Finally, if none of the above is sufficient, it may be necessary to use a cranial orthosis, which is a kind of orthopedic helmet for the baby. It can only be placed on the baby after 5 months. The helmet is used almost all day, for 22 or 23 hours a day. The problem is that it is not a cheap type of treatment. But its results are effective and quick, especially in the most severe cases of asymmetry.
In the diagnosis, the doctor must first identify if the baby has plagiocephaly, brachycephaly or scaphocephaly , which are very similar clinical conditions. Sometimes exams such as X-rays, CT scans or MRIs are prescribed to eliminate some other malforming disease (which, there, may not be curable), but it is usually not enough to need them to recognize head syndrome. flattened. Visual inspection and measurement by a craniometer are usually sufficient.
When confirming in the diagnosis that the crooked head is not due to malformation, being then caused by factors external to the baby’s body , one can take a deep breath and know that there is a way to reverse the situation. It may be a case of positional or postural plagiocephaly (PP), for example, caused by the baby’s position in the uterus during pregnancy, staying on the same side for a long time. This happens a lot in “big” babies (over 3.5 kg) and in pregnancies over 40 weeks . Males are also the most affected.
When the newborn does not move around a lot and spends a lot of time lying down, he may also have a bent head. The pressure of the mattress or pillow on it can cause the side of the head to flatten on the back of the head or the back of the head. At this stage, the baby does not have enough strength in the neck to support the head. Therefore, if you lie too far, the entire weight of it goes straight to the point of contact with the mattress, causing the deformation.
Understanding the Causes
The newborn baby’s head is twisted because the baby’s skull is still forming , so any position or pressure on his head, especially up to 6 months of age, can cause cranial deformation in the “moving plates” (sutures) that precede bone formation. In addition, at this stage of formation, the head grows very fast, so any obstacle that prevents one side from growing already makes the head crooked.
Comorbidities and Risk Factors
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An interesting fact is that, in Brazil, among the 2.9 million babies born in 2008, in a survey by the Ministry of Health, about 350 thousand babies had positional plagiocephaly. This number has tended to increase.
In the USA, after the American Academy of Pediatrics recommended that parents put their children to sleep on their backs to avoid Sudden Infant Death Syndrome , there was an increase, on the other hand, of plagiocephaly in American babies, which reaches reach 13% of newborns.
As cranial asymmetry is not as serious as the risk of sudden death, it is even more recommended that the baby sleep on his back , and that the treatment and prevention measures mentioned here be adopted.
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My name is Dr. Alexis Hart I am 38 years old, I am the mother of 3 beautiful children! Different ages, different phases 16 years, 12 years and 7 years. In love with motherhood since always, I found it difficult to make my dreams come true, and also some more after I was already a mother.
Since I imagined myself as a mother, in my thoughts everything seemed to be much easier and simpler than it really was, I expected to get pregnant as soon as I wished, but it wasn’t that simple. The first pregnancy was smooth, but my daughter’s birth was very troubled. Joana was born in 2002 with a weight of 2930kg and 45cm, from a very peaceful cesarean delivery but she had already been born with congenital pneumonia due to a broken bag not treated with antibiotics even before delivery.