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What are Cranial Deformities?

An infant's skull is not very rigid and has high plasticity, so it is easy to understand how sensitive it is to external pressure forces. During the birth canal crossing, the newborn's skull undergoes significant transient deformities, thus making it possible to cross. Regardless, other external forces, postnatal or even prenatal, can cause deformation of the head, not so transitory.

Cranial deformities such as plagiocephaly, brachycephaly, and scaphocephaly are produced by constant and external pressure on the skull and can appear during pregnancy and/or at the birth canal crossing. They can also manifest itself during the first year of life, especially in the first four months, being one of the main causes the positioning of the head during this period.


Why correct them?

Scientific studies indicate that plagiocephaly causes functional motor problems in 40% of those affected, cognitive difficulties in 15-20% of those affected, and speech learning problems in 25% of those affected. Other associated problems are misalignment of the jaw with dental malocclusion, recurrent otitis media, hearing problems, and unilateral or bilateral astigmatism.


How to prevent?

Prevention is essential, whether to avoid the appearance of cranial deformities or to prevent the worsening of existing conditions. So, some precautions can be taken to help:

  • Place the baby in a supine position (face and torso up) and alternate the side of the head for which the baby sleeps, always using the BUMI Pillow;
  • Avoid letting the baby stay for long periods in the transport chairs and the strollers without the BUMI Pillow;
  • Alternate the infant's head position throughout the day;
  • The baby shall be placed on his stomach («Tummy time – Back to sleep and round again») more than 3 times during a day for a total of about 1 hour a day, when he is awake and always under supervision. In addition to the prophylaxis for the deformity, it stimulates its neuromuscular development;
  • If on artificial breastfeeding, avoid giving the bottle always in the same position, alternating the baby's tilt side.
When external forces exert pressure on the baby's skull, it tends to give in.
When external forces exert pressure on the baby's skull, it tends to give in.

What is it?

Plagiocephaly (from the Greek plagio: oblique and kephale: head) is understood to mean the asymmetry of the cranial perimeter. Called "Positional or Postural Plagiocephaly" when faced with this deformity, the skull develops a flat area on the back or one side, and this occipital pattern can be symmetrical or asymmetrical. In these cases, the head can adopt the configuration of a parallelogram or trapezoidal.

Plagiocephaly is the deformity that most often occurs in newborns, not only being an aesthetic issue, it is mainly medical due to the pressure exerted on the growing brain and the future problems that it can cause.

How to measure?

The measurement of the degree of deformation of a plagiocephaly should be performed by a professional. It is necessary to measure the two diagonals of the head from the frontal eminences and with the same angle to the Anterior-Posterior (AP) line, calculating the difference between the two diagonals.

In a head without deformation, the two readings should be the same. The difference between them will result in a number between 0 mm and 40 mm, which will indicate the degree of severity of the cranial deformity, whether mild, moderate, or severe.

Find out how to distinguish the different pathologies.