HiPP's A-Z of pregnancy & child health
The A-Z contains information on many aspects of pregnancy
and child health. It is arranged alphabetically so you can find what you are looking for with ease. If you are at all concerned about your health or your child’s health, please consult your health professional.
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- Positional Plagiocephaly (flattened head syndrome)
Babies’ skulls are made up of several ‘plates’ of bone that are not yet tightly joined together (the skull gradually fuses together as they get older).
Spending long periods in one position (e.g. on their backs when sleeping) can result in a flattened appearance of part of the head (e.g. the back of the head) and this is known as ‘positional plagiocephaly’. Mild flattening is very common. It is estimated that about half of babies under 12 months are affected.
The condition is a cosmetic one and does not cause any medical or developmental problems. Once the baby is old enough to change position (e.g. when sleeping) and the constant pressure is reduced, the condition usually gradually resolves itself or improves. There are corrective means that can be used i.e. a helmet, but this is not usually offered under the NHS.
You can help the natural improvement to baby’s head shape by giving plenty of play time on his or her tummy - and also sitting them up to watch the world!
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