The Facts About Plagiocephaly: What Every Mom Should Know

Head shape

As a mom, you want the best for your baby, and that includes ensuring their health and development. One issue that many parents may not be familiar with is plagiocephaly, or flat head syndrome. It’s important to understand what plagiocephaly is, how it can affect your baby, and what you can do about it. Here are the facts every mom should know about plagiocephaly.

What is Plagiocephaly?

Plagiocephaly is a condition characterized by a flat spot on the back or side of a baby’s head. It can result from the baby spending a lot of time lying on their back, which is the recommended sleeping position to reduce the risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS). As a result, the soft bones of the baby’s skull can become flattened in one area, leading to an asymmetrical head shape.

How Does Plagiocephaly Affect Babies?

While plagiocephaly is primarily a cosmetic issue, in some cases, it can also be associated with developmental delays. For example, if the flattening of the skull causes the baby’s ears and eyes to be misaligned, it could potentially impact their vision and hearing. In severe cases, plagiocephaly can even lead to jaw misalignment and asymmetry in facial features.

Treatment Options for Plagiocephaly

The good news is that plagiocephaly can often be corrected with early intervention. One common treatment is repositioning the baby’s head during sleep and encouraging tummy time while the baby is awake. In some cases, physical therapy or special helmets may be recommended to help reshape the baby’s head.

Preventing Plagiocephaly

While not all cases of plagiocephaly can be prevented, there are steps you can take to reduce your baby’s risk. This includes alternating the direction your baby’s head faces while sleeping, providing plenty of supervised tummy time while awake, and varying the positions in which you hold your baby. These practices can help prevent the development of flat spots on the baby’s head.


Plagiocephaly is a common condition that many parents may not be aware of, but it’s important to understand the potential impact it can have on your baby’s development. By knowing the signs of plagiocephaly and taking steps to prevent and treat it, you can help ensure that your baby’s head develops normally. If you have any concerns about your baby’s head shape, be sure to consult with your pediatrician.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: Will my baby need surgery for plagiocephaly?

A: In most cases, plagiocephaly can be treated without surgery. Repositioning, tummy time, and, in some cases, the use of a special helmet are often effective in correcting the issue.

Q: Will plagiocephaly cause brain damage?

A: Plagiocephaly itself does not cause brain damage. It is a cosmetic issue that, in some cases, may be associated with mild developmental delays if left untreated. However, early intervention can often correct the problem.

Q: How long does it take to correct plagiocephaly?

A: The length of time it takes to correct plagiocephaly can vary depending on the severity of the condition and the chosen treatment method. In many cases, improvement can be seen within a few months with consistent efforts to reposition the baby’s head and encourage tummy time.