Cephalic Index 101: Understanding Baby’s Head Shape


Welcome, dear parents! Today we are going to talk about something that might sound a little technical, but it’s actually quite common and important to understand: the cephalic index. When it comes to your baby’s head shape, this index plays a key role in determining whether their head is round, long, or somewhere in between.

So, what exactly is the cephalic index? In simple terms, it’s a measurement that compares the width of a baby’s head to the length. This can help determine if your baby has a more elongated head shape (dolichocephaly), a round head shape (brachycephaly), or a head shape that falls in between these two extremes.

It’s important to note that there is a wide range of normal when it comes to head shape, and many babies fall within this range without any issues. However, in some cases, a particularly long or round head shape can be a sign of underlying conditions such as craniosynostosis or positional plagiocephaly.

For parents, understanding the cephalic index can be helpful in monitoring your baby’s head shape and keeping an eye out for any potential concerns. If you have any worries about your baby’s head shape, it’s always best to consult with your pediatrician, who can provide guidance and support.

Why Does the Cephalic Index Matter?

Monitoring your baby’s head shape, including the cephalic index, is important for several reasons. First and foremost, it can help detect any potential issues early on, allowing for prompt intervention if needed. For example, early detection of craniosynostosis (when the bones in a baby’s skull fuse too early) can lead to better treatment outcomes.

Additionally, understanding your baby’s head shape can also help in addressing any concerns about normal variations in head shape. For instance, some babies may develop a flat spot on their head (positional plagiocephaly) due to spending too much time in one position. By knowing your baby’s cephalic index and monitoring their head shape, you can take steps to prevent or correct such issues.

How Is the Cephalic Index Measured?

The cephalic index is calculated by dividing the head width by the head length and multiplying by 100. The resulting number is then used to determine the shape of the head:

  • A cephalic index of less than 75 indicates a dolichocephalic head shape (long and narrow).

  • A cephalic index of 75 to 79 indicates a mesocephalic head shape (average proportions).

  • A cephalic index of 80 or higher indicates a brachycephalic head shape (short and broad).

While these measurements can provide valuable information about your baby’s head shape, it’s important to remember that they are just one piece of the puzzle. If you have any concerns about your baby’s head shape, always consult with your pediatrician for a thorough evaluation.


Understanding your baby’s cephalic index can be a helpful tool in monitoring their head shape and identifying any potential concerns early on. By keeping an eye on your baby’s head shape and seeking guidance from your pediatrician when needed, you can ensure that your little one’s head is developing as it should.


1. Is it common for babies to have a long or round head shape?

Yes, it’s common for babies to have a variety of head shapes within the normal range. However, if you have any worries about your baby’s head shape, it’s always best to consult with your pediatrician for peace of mind.

2. Can a baby’s head shape change over time?

Yes, a baby’s head shape can change over time, especially in the early months as their skull is still growing and developing. If you notice any significant changes in your baby’s head shape, it’s a good idea to speak with your pediatrician.

3. What should I do if I’m concerned about my baby’s head shape?

If you have any concerns about your baby’s head shape, don’t hesitate to reach out to your pediatrician. They can provide a comprehensive evaluation and offer guidance on monitoring your baby’s head shape moving forward.