What causesplagiocephaly and brachycephaly?

The skull consists of plates of bone that strengthen and join together as a child gets older.

A young baby'sskull is still relatively soft and can change shape if there's constant pressure ona particularpart of their head.

Reasons why this may happen include:

  • sleeping on their back the back or side of a baby's head can become flattened as a result of always sleeping on their back, but it's important they do this to reduce the risk of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS)
  • problems in the womb pressure can be placed on a baby's head before it's born ifthings are a bit squashed in the womb or there's a lack ofamniotic fluid to cushion the baby
  • being born prematurely premature babies are more likely to develop a flattened head because their skull is softer when they're born and they may prefer to rest their head on one side at first becausethey're not yet able to move their head themselves
  • neck muscle tightness this can prevent a baby turning their head a particular way,meaning one side of their head is placed under morepressure

Occasionally, aflattened head can be caused by the plates ofthe skull joining together too early. This is known as craniosynostosis .

Content supplied by the NHS Website

Medically Reviewed by a doctor on 21 Dec 2018