Cephalic Index: What Moms Should Know About Their Baby’s Skull


As a parent, it’s natural to be concerned about your baby’s health and development. One aspect of your baby’s health that you may not have considered is their cephalic index, or the ratio of the width of their head to its length. Understanding the cephalic index can help you monitor your baby’s skull development and address any potential issues early on. Here’s what you need to know about the cephalic index and how it can impact your baby’s well-being.

What is the Cephalic Index?

The cephalic index is a measurement used to determine the shape of a baby’s skull. It is calculated by dividing the width of the head by its length and multiplying by 100. This produces a number that indicates whether the skull is relatively short and broad or long and narrow. A cephalic index of less than 75 is considered brachycephalic (short and broad), while a cephalic index of more than 85 is considered dolichocephalic (long and narrow).

Why It’s Important

Monitoring your baby’s cephalic index is important because it can provide early indications of any potential skull growth issues. For example, a brachycephalic skull shape may be associated with conditions such as craniosynostosis, where the bones in the baby’s skull fuse together too early. On the other hand, a dolichocephalic shape could indicate a risk of positional plagiocephaly, a condition caused by prolonged pressure on one part of the skull, leading to a flat spot.

How to Measure It

Measuring your baby’s cephalic index requires the use of specialized tools, such as calipers, to accurately determine the width and length of the head. In most cases, this measurement is performed by a pediatrician during routine check-ups. If you have any concerns about your baby’s skull shape, don’t hesitate to bring it up with your pediatrician.

What Moms Can Do

As a mom, there are steps you can take to promote healthy skull development in your baby. One of the most important things you can do is to ensure that your baby has plenty of supervised tummy time while they are awake. This helps to reduce the risk of positional plagiocephaly by preventing prolonged pressure on one part of the skull. Additionally, make sure to reposition your baby’s head during sleep to encourage even growth of the skull.


Understanding your baby’s cephalic index and its implications for their skull development is an important aspect of caring for your little one. By monitoring their cephalic index and taking proactive steps to promote healthy skull growth, you can give your baby the best start in life.


1. Can I measure my baby’s cephalic index at home?

While it is possible to measure your baby’s head width and length, it’s best to have a pediatrician perform this measurement to ensure accuracy.

2. What should I do if I notice a misshapen spot on my baby’s head?

If you notice any irregularities in the shape of your baby’s head, be sure to bring it to the attention of your pediatrician. They can provide guidance on how to address the issue and ensure your baby’s skull develops properly.

3. Are there any long-term implications of an abnormal cephalic index?

In some cases, an abnormal cephalic index may be associated with underlying skull growth issues. It’s important to address these concerns early on to prevent any potential long-term implications for your baby’s health.