Plagiocephaly: A Common Concern for New Parents

Head shape

Congratulations on becoming a parent! As you navigate the exciting journey of raising a child, you may come across certain concerns and topics that you may not have been aware of before. One common concern for new parents is plagiocephaly, a condition that affects the shape of a baby’s head. In this article, we’ll explore what plagiocephaly is, what causes it, and how you can address it.

What is Plagiocephaly?

Plagiocephaly, also known as flat head syndrome, is a condition characterized by an asymmetrical or flattened shape of the baby’s head. This typically occurs when a baby spends a lot of time in one position, such as lying on their back. Since a baby’s skull is soft and malleable, prolonged pressure on one part of the skull can cause it to flatten or take on an irregular shape.

Causes of Plagiocephaly

There are several factors that can contribute to the development of plagiocephaly. These include:

  • Prolonged time spent lying on their back, such as during sleep or while in a car seat or stroller

  • Muscle tightness or weakness in the neck, which can limit a baby’s ability to turn their head

  • Multiple birth (twins, triplets, etc.), which can lead to crowded conditions in the womb and limited space for each baby to move freely

Addressing Plagiocephaly

If you notice that your baby’s head is becoming flattened or asymmetrical, it’s important to discuss your concerns with your pediatrician. Depending on the severity of the condition, your doctor may recommend various strategies to address plagiocephaly, such as:

  • Encouraging supervised tummy time while the baby is awake to reduce the amount of time spent lying on their back

  • Using repositioning techniques to vary your baby’s head position while they are lying down

  • Physical therapy or exercises to address any muscle tightness or weakness that may be contributing to the condition

  • In some cases, a specialized helmet or headband may be prescribed to help reshape the baby’s head


Plagiocephaly is a common concern for new parents, but it’s important to remember that it is often a treatable condition. By being mindful of your baby’s head position and discussing any concerns with your pediatrician, you can take proactive steps to address plagiocephaly and ensure that your baby’s head develops properly.


How can I prevent plagiocephaly?

Encouraging tummy time while your baby is awake, varying their head position while lying down, and using a baby carrier instead of prolonged time in a car seat or stroller can help prevent plagiocephaly.

At what age does plagiocephaly typically occur?

Plagiocephaly can develop in the first few months of a baby’s life, as they spend a lot of time lying on their back during sleep and while awake.

Is plagiocephaly a serious condition?

In most cases, plagiocephaly is a mild and treatable condition. However, if left untreated, it can lead to long-term head shape abnormalities and potential developmental delays.