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How to prevent abnormal head shapes in newborns...
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FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS:

What if I can’t tell whether my baby has a crooked head or not?

Should I see my primary care physician at the first signs of an abnormal headshape?

How can I express my concerns to my primary care physician about my baby’s head shape?

Will this abnormal head shape go away on its own?

If my baby’s head is misshapened, is it going require surgery to fix it?

Can I prevent this from happening to my newborn?

Is there anything other than sleep position that puts my baby at risk for deformational plagiocephaly?

Is it okay to put my baby on her tummy when awake and I am supervising her?

 

Q: What if I can’t tell whether my baby has a crooked head or not?

A: Sometimes it is hard to tell because our eyes aren’t trained to see it, particularly if it is mild. First try looking over the top of the baby's head and compare the ears to see if they are in line with each other or if one is in front of the other. You can also recline the baby back toward you and look at the forehead to see if one side seems more forward than the other. Sometimes the back of the head will look like there is a big bump on one side and flat on the other. The ear on the flat side will be the one that is more forward. You can also look at the baby in a mirror and see if you can see asymmetry in the face. One cheek may look fuller than the other may and/or one eye may look more open than the other.

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Q: Should I see my primary care physician at the first signs of an abnormal headshape?

A: Yes, you should see your primary care physician because they can determine if the abnormal head shape is due to sleep position or something more serious. Some primary care physicians will refer you to a specialist for further input. If the diagnosis is deformational plagiocephaly, the key to a good outcome is aggressively treating it as early as possible. Our video and instructional booklet will help you do this. Therefore, seeing your primary care physician right away is best.

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Q: How can I express my concerns to my primary care physician about my baby’s head shape?

  • Show them what parts of your baby’s head look asymmetrical.
  • Describe when you first noticed it and if it has worsened or improved.
  • Indicate if your baby always turns their head in one direction more than another.
  • Ask them if they think your baby has deformational plagiocephaly and/or if they feel you should see a specialist.

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Q: Will this abnormal head shape go away on its own?

A: If deformational plagiocephaly is diagnosed early enough, (birth-3 months) it is possible to improve the abnormal head shape. This will take aggressive repositioning and neck strengthening exercises (if indicated) to be effective. Our Heads UP Baby™ video and instructional booklet will help you accomplish this.

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Q: If my baby’s head is misshapened, is it going require surgery to fix it?

A: It is uncommon for surgery to be used to treat deformational plagiocephaly. Usually, deformational plagiocephaly is treated with repositioning and exercises, in mild to moderate cases, and a cranial orthosis in moderate to severe cases. If you are being told that you need surgery you may want to seek a second opinion.

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Q: Can I prevent this from happening to my newborn?

A: Yes! That is the goal of our Heads UP Baby™ video. We are convinced that if aggressive repositioning and neck strengthening/flexibility exercises are started at the earliest onset of an abnormal head shape, it is very likely that deformational plagiocephaly can be prevented. In cases of severe intrauterine deformation or torticollis, it may not be completely preventable, but the parents may be able to help lessen the severity.

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Q: Is there anything other than sleep position that puts my baby at risk for deformational plagiocephaly?

A: Yes. Our Heads UP Baby™ video lists other things that increase your baby’s risk of developing deformational plagiocephaly.

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Q: Is it okay to put my baby on her tummy when awake and I am supervising her?

A: As soon as your baby is developing head control, you are encouraged to introduce short periods of play time with your baby on their tummy. Our instructional booklet make it easy and fun for you to learn how to do this.

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For more information and instruction on daily preventative and corrective exercises that you can do with your baby, order the Heads UP Baby® instructional video and booklet.



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The content of the Heads UP BabyŽ website are for informational purposes only and is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment of your family physician. There may be variations in treatments or recommendations based on your baby's individual facts and circumstances. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding your baby.

This video is licensed for private home exhibition only.  copyright 2000 Stephen P. Beals, MD.  All rights reserved.