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Cranial Deformities and Physical Therapy

Newborn head shape is influenced by positioning and growth in utero and/or delivery. Newborn head shapes should attain  normal by 6 weeks. Abnormal head shapes that remain after 6 weeks should be evaluated by a primary care provider.  Following birth, positional factors can influence head shape including baby's preference to turn head to one side while sleeping, torticollis, not spending much time on tummy, spending time in "containers" (infant carriers, swings, etc), or prolonged positioning in NICU/medical reasons (ventilator, feeding tube, Pavlik harness, etc).
Caregiver education and intervention are integral early in order to influence head shaping during the period when the skull is most flexible and susceptible to change. Our physical therapists will evaluate and develop an individualized plan including caregiver education and exercises to promote cranial symmetry as well as make recommendations for referring on for a cranial molding orthosis if necessary. 

By Rebecca Seagren, Physical Therapist, DPT