What is Plagiocephaly?
Plagiocephaly is commonly known as “infant flat head syndrome”.
It is characterized by an asymmetrical head (often resembling a parallelogram) caused by prolonged external pressure on your infant’s head. It’s usually first noticeable when the infant is 6-10 weeks old.
What To Look For
What causes Plagiocephaly?
Torticollis is a muscular problem where your baby consistently tilts their neck at an unusual angle due to tightening in the neck muscles. It can be present at birth or develop if the infant usually sleeps with their head facing the same direction.
Infants who struggle with tummy time or have bad reflux often take longer to develop the muscle strength tummy time provides. This leads to them spending more time lying on their back, putting them at greater risk of developing plagiocephaly.
Premature babies have softer bones when they’re born. They are also often required to wear a respirator for weeks or months, which forces their head to stay in the position for long periods of time. This puts them at a greater chance of developing an asymmetrical head shape.
If your infant spends a lot of time in a swing, car seat, or baby carrier, this creates pressure on the back of their head. Over long periods, this can cause their head shape to change.
Rarely, an injury can occur to the baby during birth and can cause damage to the muscles or nerves of the body. For example, a brachial plexus injury can lead to a decreased ability to move left or right (depending on which side the injury is).
If the infant had less than optimal amniotic fluid while in the womb, they would have been less cushioned from movement. This can lead to the baby being born with congenital head shape asymmetry.
LACK OF AMNIOTIC FLUID
When you’re pregnant with multiples, there is often far less maneuvering space in the womb, and one baby often gets pushed into one position for a long period of time. This can cause head shape asymmetries.