The birth of your baby is a grand phenomenon and involves a lot of apprehensions and aspirations. The nine month long wait is over and you have your little cuddly joy bundle in arms. All mumma’s and papas are vexed about the unanticipated pulsating soft marks, jaundice, birth-marks, skin rashes, head bumps and lumps.
So the baby is happily delivered vaginally. Wait! But the baby’s head is cone-shaped. Some parents are easy enough in cuddling and bracing their little ‘cone-head’ in their arms. However few find it uncanny and weird. Don’t panic. The cone-shaped or pointy head is transient and will fade off in few weeks.
Why Is My Baby’s Head Cone Shaped?
After a vaginal birth the baby’s head usually looks like cone-shaped or elongated During the descent and birth of the baby, the head becomes a bit elongated and cone shaped. The skull bones of the newborn are soft and naturally mobile and are meant to overlap each other. The vaginal birth canal is tight and muscular and usually compresses the soft fetal head during the process of birth. This cone shaped swelling is due to accumulation in the compressed areas of the skull. You can even see a small indentation on slightly pressing the swelled region.
This cone shaped swelling of the fetal head is called cephalohaematoma- an accumulation of blood between skull bones and the skin lining.
Soft Spots On The Baby’s Head
There are two soft spots or fontanels on the head which are basically soft spots permitting the easy overlapping of skull bones while the baby passes through the birth canal. The fetal swelling is more pronounced or prominent in first time moms or primigravidae. This is due to the tight musculature of birth canal. With subsequent births the vaginal musculature becomes lax. You can read more about soft spots or fontanels here.
Why Is My Baby’s Head Looking Flattened?
Sometimes the baby’s head becomes flattened because the skull muscles and bones are still soft and the baby sleeps continuously. The areas that will appear flat would be the position your baby sleeps in. Depending upon the area involved the flat regions, they are referred to as below:
- On the baby’s back of the head-plagiocephaly
- On the side of baby’s head-brachycephaly
How Can The Cone Shaped Head Of My Baby Be Treated?
With time as the baby’s grows older and becomes stronger, the cone-shaped head becomes round. The flattened points will also take a curved shape. Following are some useful ways to help this process:
- Encourage your baby to lie on the doughnut-shaped pillow. Make him lie on the round portion of his head as this helps in rounding the asymmetric head shape
- With time the neck of the baby will become strong, start putting your baby on his tummy or abdomen. In the beginning do this for two or three minutes and by three months increase this duration
- Try to change his lying position frequently. You can keep few brightly colored toys on his side and then change the position of the toy. This way the baby will roll from one side to the other
- If you baby takes feeder, feed him alternatively from left side and right side and turn his head each time sidewise
- The cone shaped swelling disappears fast once the baby begins to sit as the pressure from the skull gets decreased
Are There Any Medical Interventions?
If the above remedies do not work or you feel that the cone shape is more obvious, you could seek your doctor’s opinion. There are some effective medical interventions that can help you round the shape of your baby. Helmet therapy is a useful technique where the baby is worn a head wear especially designed to gently revert the cone shaped head to a round form.
Some Other Important But Temporary Findings In Newborn Babies
- Besides cone-shaped head, rashes, lumps and bumps are also common with vaginally delivered babies
- Erythema toxicum or transitory rashes develop as red spots with either a whitish or yellow centre. They are often misinterpreted as flea bites
- The otherwise scary rashes pop up and fade away in few days and are absolutely harmless. However personal hygiene should not be neglected as its absence can give way to super added infection
- The eyes of your newborn might not move in same direction in the initial three months of life. This is very much normal and will rectify on its own. So no need to panic!
- The color of the eyes is also not what you anticipated. It is usually dark in the beginning and as the baby becomes an year old the color starts changing
- The eyes of the newborn can be a bit bloodshot due to subconjunctival hemorrhage. This again is caused by bursting of fine blood vessel in the white portion of the eyes primarily due to the pushing of labor process
- Neonatal jaundice is another immediate observation after birth. In around 70 percent of babies yellow coloration of skin is seen after delivery and it goes off in 7 to 10 days. In some cases medical intervention is needed
- Some babies are blue at the time of birth especially the fingers, hands, toes and feet have bluish coloration. This again is temporary and goes off in one or two days. Just cuddle the baby close to your bosom and give your body’s heat. If the bluish coloration persists, seek medical help
Myths Regarding Cone Shaped Head Of The Baby
Some people believe that tying a cloth round the head is beneficial in rounding the head. In veracity, this is of no substantial use except that it puts unnecessary pressure on the head and is a source of baby’s discomfort.
Another common misconception is that elongated head has a large brain. Well think again does the statement make any sense? Rubbish elongated head has got nothing to with brain size because this is due to the collection of fluid between skull bones and skin layer.
Well, you should not bother too much for the ‘cone-shaped’ swelling as this will go away in few weeks as the baby grows older and the soft immature skull bones begin to fuse. Remember this is just a simple issue common with normal vaginal births, quite similar to hiccups, gas or spitting of milk. But as far as fear and tension is concerned, it hurts parents more than the little babies. In a couple of weeks the baby will be fine with round head.
So, the truth is that cone shaped elongated head is perfectly normal and recovers on its own with minimal or no interventions. What you need is a bit of care and awareness.