Plagiocephaly and Brachycephaly

Babies sometimes develop a flattened head when they’re a few months old, usually as a result of them spending a lot of time lying on their back.

This is known as flat head syndrome, and there are 2 main types:

  • plagiocephaly – the head is flattened on one side, causing it to look asymmetrical; the ears may be misaligned and the head looks like a parallelogram when seen from above, and sometimes the forehead and face may bulge a little on the flat side
  • brachycephaly – the back of the head becomes flattened, causing the head to widen, and occasionally the forehead bulges out

These conditions are quite common, affecting around 1 in every 5 babies at some point.

In most cases they aren’t a major cause for concern, it is considered more of a cosmetic issue than of a medical concern as they don’t have any effect on the brain and the head shape will often improve by itself over time.

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