October 2, 2023


Parenting News

8 Causes for Uneven Cranium, When to Fear

12 min read

A child’s head form is just not all the time completely spherical. Right here, a pediatrican walks us via toddler head form improvement and doable medical considerations from new child to toddler.

baby's head shape

Infants don’t all the time have a superbly spherical formed heads, and it’s straightforward to start out worrying as a brand new dad or mum.

Why does my child have such an odd head form? Will they ever look regular? Is the uneven form an indication of some underlying situation?

The top of a new child differs from that of an older toddler or toddler. Untimely infants have softer cranium bones than full-term infants. As well as, there are elements that may change a child’s head form. Some head shapes could also be an indication of an issue or underlying medical situation. You will need to distinguish what form is regular from what is an indication of an issue.

To type out what’s regular and never, we requested Pediatrican Leah Alexander to stroll us via toddler head form improvement and doable medical considerations.

Your Child’s Head Form: Regular Improvement, Medical Considerations

The Anatomy of an Toddler’s Head

An toddler’s head consists of an outer layer of bushy pores and skin, underlying muscle, and the cranium bones. Within the cranium lies the mind with its connecting nerves and blood vessels. The mind is surrounded by a liquid known as the cerebral spinal fluid. This fluid each cushions the mind, and offers a conduit for vitamins and elimination of mobile waste.

At start, the cranium is separated into 5 bone items which might be held collectively by connective tissue. This construction is essential to permit mobility of the cranium bones because the child’s head passes via the start canal. It additionally leaves room for the mind to develop over the primary few years of life. The open areas between the bones are known as fontanelles. Most newborns have 4 of those “gentle spots,’ the biggest of which is situated on the highest of the top.

Additional time, the cranium bones develop, harden, and are available collectively to kind a whole vessel for the mind.

The Regular Development of Fontanelle Closure

Every fontanelle closes at a distinct time all through the primary two years of life. The scale of the anterior and posterior fontanelles are sometimes bigger amongst infants of African ancestry. The anterior fontanelle closes earlier in boys than it does in women.

fontanelle closure

If any of those openings shut too quickly, the cranium can limit mind development. Any that stay open longer than anticipated can point out a head measurement that’s too giant.

At routine nicely visits, the physician will look at your child’s head to examine for indicators of an issue. Its measurement shall be measured and recorded on a head circumference chart. This enables any issues to be detected early. What is taken into account a “regular” head measurement differs for every toddler, and is influenced by hereditary elements.

It’s extra essential that the top to develop at a gentle and constant fee, and for it to be proportional to the scale of the toddler’s physique.

Causes For Irregular Toddler Head Shapes

Beginning-related Causes

Extended Supply

Typically, the start course of itself alters the form of a new child’s head. When a vaginal supply takes longer than the anticipated period of time, the toddler’s head can change into molded inside the start canal. This will likely lead to what some dad and mom name a “cone-shaped head.”

Luckily, this can be a non permanent subject. The gentle connective tissues and versatile cranium bones return to a traditional form in the course of the first week of life.

Vacuum Extraction

If an assistive system is used in the course of the supply to assist the toddler’s head go, the stress may end up in a brief head form abnormality. Usually, a vacuum system is used, attaching it to the infants head to drag because the mom pushes. It’s used when fetal misery happens, and the newborn have to be delivered shortly. It might additionally stop a caesarean part.

After a vacuum process, the newborn might have a “cone-shaped” head on account of swelling beneath the scalp from the suction drive of the vacuum system. This swelling, known as a caput succedaneum, self-resolves inside the first two days of life.

Alternatively, an accumulation of blood might kind beneath the scalp, known as a cephalohematoma. A tough supply of an toddler with a big head might trigger it as nicely. In contrast to a caput succedaneum, this assortment of blood is usually situated on one facet of the top. It may well take one to 2 months for a cephalohematoma to go away. Because the blood breaks down, it could trigger the newborn’s pores and skin to look yellow, or jaundiced.

Whereas nonetheless within the hospital, medical doctors might order a blood take a look at to verify these blood byproducts usually are not at a excessive degree. The scale of the cephalohematoma will regularly lower because the blood inside it’s reabsorbed and metabolized. Bigger ones, nevertheless, might take extra time to resolve, and may calcify, making a everlasting change within the form of the cranium.

Head Form Abnormalities Related to Positioning


Throughout the first few months of life, dad and mom might discover that an space of their child’s head begins to look flat. This head form change is called plagiocephaly. It most frequently happens because the child’s head rests on a flat floor for prolonged intervals of time.

The again of the top is the most typical location due to the period of time infants spend mendacity on their backs. This sort is extra particularly known as brachycephaly. By age three months, 46 % of infants have some quantity of head flattening. It might, nevertheless, be current at start in new child twins or multiples on account of in utero stress towards the top.

Some infants develop flattening one facet of the top together with facial asymmetry. These infants are likely to look extra in a single route than the opposite, leading to stress on that very same facet of the top. Often, the newborn can simply flip the top in both route, however there’s a choice for one facet.

Some infants, nevertheless, have a neck muscle drawback that limits head actions. If a proper or left sternocleidomastoid muscle is injured throughout start, it may end up in torticollis. In such conditions, intervention is critical to enhance neck mobility and stop longterm issues.

Due to weeks to months of neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) care, many untimely infants develop head form modifications. One or each side of the newborn’s head could also be come flat on account of prolonged intervals of mendacity on a hospital mattress. This head molding is extra seen in preemies born previous to 30 weeks gestation who require longterm hospital care.

Fontanelle Closure Issues


If a number of “gentle spots” shut sooner than anticipated, this could trigger an uncommon toddler head form.

For instance, if each side of the anterior fontanelle shut too quickly, the top will seem “pointed” and elongated. In distinction, if the precise facet of the anterior fontanelle closes earlier than the left facet, the newborn’s head will protrude on the left facet.

This cranium abnormality is called craniosynostosis. There are additionally instances the place this closure happens in utero, though it is probably not seen at start. Over time, the irregular head form turns into evident.

Maternal thyroid illness and a few fertility medicines enhance the danger.

Craniosynostosis is problematic as a result of the newborn’s mind doesn’t have room to develop. To stop longterm problems, surgical intervention is critical.


Macrocephaly is outlined as a bigger than regular head measurement. When plotted on a head circumference chart, the newborn’s head is above the 97th percentile or what’s regular for many infants.

The bigger head measurement of some infants could also be constant that of their dad and mom, however it is very important rule out problematic causes of macrocephaly. Hydrocephalus and different causes of elevated stress inside the cranium require rapid medical consideration.


Hydrocephalus happens when there may be an excessive amount of cerebral spinal fluid across the mind. This extra fluid will increase stress inside the cranium, and may harm mind cells. Hydrocephalus can develop on account of an excessive amount of fluid manufacturing, or a structural abnormality that blocks fluid outflow. It might additionally develop after a traumatic supply.

As well as the newborn’s head showing too giant, different indicators embrace a bulging anterior fontanelle, downward place of the newborn’s eyes, seizures, and lethargy. In additional subtile instances, the closure of fontanelles is delayed.

Improve Intracranial Strain

Any irregular construction that kinds inside the cranium will increase stress on the mind, and may lead a bigger than regular head measurement.

A mind abscess might kind if an an infection happens in the course of the neonatal interval. Beginning trauma could cause bleeding across the mind, forming a set of blood inside the cranium.

Mind tumors additionally enhance stress on the mind. Signs are much like these seen with hydrocephalus, however the toddler could also be very irritable on account of complications. Frequent vomiting might happen that’s extra voluminous than regular toddler reflux.


A smaller than regular head measurement is called microcephaly. It might be current at start, or the top might subsequently fail to develop at a traditional fee. This head abnormality is related to a smaller mind measurement, mind structural abnormalities, and impaired cognitive improvement sooner or later. It might happen alone, or together with different bodily abnormalities.

Infants with this situation have visibly bigger faces and jawlines. There are a selection of causes of microcephaly, together with genetic mutations, infections, and prenatal publicity to alcohol, medication, and different toxins.

Lately, maternal Zika virus infections have been linked to toddler microcephaly. As a result of mind improvement is irregular, all types of microcephaly are related to longterm neurological issues.

Beginning Defects

There are a selection of medical circumstances current at start which might be related to an irregular head form. In these instances, the newborn’s cranium bones don’t kind correctly whereas rising in utero. This will likely even be poor formation of nerves and their connections inside the mind.

Congenital head abnormalities can happen on account of genetic mutations, hereditary predisposition, prenatal poisonous exposures, and infections. Many are related to microcephaly or macrocephaly. Abnormalities elsewhere on the physique might also be current.

Though there are an unlimited variety of the reason why an toddler has a start defect, a number of particular ones are price mentioning:

abnormal baby head shape due to birth defects

What Head Form Abnormalities Require Remedy?

Most childbirth associated head form abnormalities self-resolve, and don’t require remedy. One exception is that if a calcified cephalohematoma develops that causes a big head deformity. Dad and mom might go for surgical correction in such instances.

The suggestions for administration of plagiocephaly differ.

Usually, conservative measures similar to extra “stomach time” and upright positioning as core muscle energy improves are adequate to advertise the return of a traditional head form.

Molding helmets have change into standard “re-shaping” choices amongst dad and mom. Though their use has been endorsed by the American Affiliation of Neurological Surgeons, some medical research haven’t discovered vital enhancements in an toddler’s head form.

If dad and mom select any such intervention, the optimum time to hunt an analysis toddler is round six months. Ready till this age is right as a result of the top flattening might have already improved or self-resolved. After 18 months previous, remedy with a molding helmet could be tougher and take longer. When an toddler’s plagiocephaly is related to torticolis, bodily remedy is the mainstay of remedy. Dad and mom can proceed strategies utilized in remedy classes at residence. Persistent instances require neurology or surgical evaluations.

Head form abnormalities attributable to underlying medical issues usually require neurosurgical intervention.

To scale back the elevated intracranial stress of hydrocephalus, a shunt is surgically implanted from the cranium to the stomach with a purpose to drain the a few of the fluid across the mind.

A mind abscess or assortment of blood might require surgical drainage.

Fontanelles that shut too quickly have to be surgically re-opened to permit the toddler’s mind to develop usually. Molding helmets could also be used after surgical procedure to additional enhance head form.

Sadly, there isn’t a remedy for microcephaly or the sequelae of many start defects. Signs are managed by a multidisciplinary workforce that features neurologists, developmental pediatricians, geneticists, and craniofacial specialists.

Steadily Requested Questions on Child’s Head Form

How lengthy does it take a traditional toddler’s head to “spherical out”?

If areas of a child’s head have change into flattened in the course of the first few months of life, they need to naturally start to “spherical out” between six to eight months previous.

Do infants outgrow torticollis?

Torticollis is just not a head form concern, however a head place concern. It’s a situation the place your child’s neck muscle groups trigger their head to twist and tilt to 1 facet. So, do infants outgrow torticillis? Sure. Bodily remedy is usually initiated by age two months, and 97 % of instances utterly resolve. If, after six months of bodily remedy, there isn’t a enchancment, botox injections or surgical procedures could also be thought-about.

Is torticollis linked to autism?

No. There isn’t a affiliation with autism.

Do pillows assist scale back plagiocephaly?

Whether or not or not a pillow reduces plagiocephaly has not been studied on account of dangers to the toddler. Pillows, blankets, and different gentle surfaces usually are not really helpful for infants, and enhance the chance of sudden toddler loss of life syndrome (SIDS).

Will my two yr previous’s head “spherical out?” At what age is a baby’s head form everlasting?

A toddler’s head will proceed to reshape itself, albeit at a slower fee, till all the fontanelles shut at age three. The cranium bones are additionally extra calcified, and have a thicker density at this age.

How frequent is it for an toddler to have a “cone head?”

There are not any statistics on the prevalence of non permanent molding that happens throughout supply. A caput succedaneum (i.e. cone head”) is seen in as much as 33 % of infants.

Do pediatricians examine head form?

Sure. At every nicely go to, a child’s head is examined for any form abnormalities. Head measurements are recorded on a head circumference development chart.

What’s megalencephaly?

Megalencephaly is the time period for an abnormally giant mind measurement in an toddler. This differs from macrocephaly which displays the scale of the cranium.

Megalencephaly is commonly related to malformations of the mind tissue itself or the blood vessels that provide it. Because of this, the toddler or baby might have seizures, spinal twine issues, and delays in speech and motor expertise. This situation is commonly a part of a genetic dysfunction that additionally impacts limbs and different organs.

Are ridges on a child’s head regular?

Some infants and toddlers have distinguished bone edges across the fontanelles which might be seen on the pores and skin floor. Usually, these are regular. Nonetheless, if these ridges are related to a misshapen head, it’s possible that the fontanelles are closing too quickly.

Dad and mom ought to have this evaluated by their pediatrician, and the newborn ought to be referred to a neurosurgeon for imaging.


As seen, there are numerous each start associated, place associated, and medically associated the reason why a child’s head form could also be uneven. You will need to keep in mind that in most case, the top form abnormalities self-resolve, and don’t require remedy. Nonetheless, since not all abnormalities self-resolve and a few instances of uneven head shapes are on account of medical circumstances that want remedy and a spotlight, it is very important seek the advice of a pediatrician in the event you discover something uncommon about your child’s head form. 


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