Will baby's skull look "normal"?
July 19, 2009 12:20 AM   Subscribe

Question about my three-month-old's head shape.

My daughter was born 3 months ago, and during the delivery, at the last minute, there was an emergency. Her blood pressure dropped and the doctor had to affix a plunger-like vacuum device to her crowning head and pull her out for delivery. I live in a country where that technique is more commonly used than forceps.

The result of this is that her head is somewhat elongated towards the crown. If you look at her face to face, it's not noticeable, but from the side you can pretty clearly see the odd shape. She's also pretty much bald and you can see her entire skull. Once she has more hair it'll be much harder to discern her head shape.

I realize that newborns' skull bones haven't hardened yet and won't for some time. But is it possible that she'll have this elongated shape once the bones fuse?

FWIW, we love our kid no matter what! With the intensity of a thousand suns! I'm just curious how she'll look a few years from now.
posted by anonymous to Health & Fitness (16 answers total)
Twenty five years ago my own daughter was born in exactly the same way. It's called a Ventouse extraction.

At first she looked like she had a lid attached to her head. I was horrified.

Over the months it all settled down and twenty five years later she is gorgeous.
posted by chairish at 12:42 AM on July 19, 2009

My niece was delivered using this method in 2007. She had a funny little strawberry-colored "hat" for a couple months post-birth it did go away. She's at about 18 months now and had a delightfully normal skull.
posted by girlstyle at 12:49 AM on July 19, 2009

er, has a delightfully normal skull!
posted by girlstyle at 12:49 AM on July 19, 2009

Yes, it will return to normal but sometimes there is some minor residual effect. The alien looking head extending backwards look definitely disappears.
posted by caddis at 2:35 AM on July 19, 2009

Nthing...They used it on our youngest and he was like a Conehead for awhile
posted by poppo at 4:48 AM on July 19, 2009

My eldest daughter was sucked out with a vacuum sucker after she'd gotten stuck, and she looked like a conehead for a while. She's almost 4 now and her head looks normal. She also only had fuzz until she was a year and a half.
posted by leahwrenn at 6:06 AM on July 19, 2009

The bones in the skull of newborns are still quite malleable for the express purpose of allowing it to pass through the birth canal. The plates that make up the skull will only fuse solidly much later.
posted by PenDevil at 6:19 AM on July 19, 2009

Your doctor can tell you if it's anything to worry about as she grows. My son had some deformation that was not going away and it was corrected using a Doc-Band.
posted by mattholomew at 6:20 AM on July 19, 2009

In Pakistan I've seen new mothers shape their newborn kids' head by gently pushing with their hands, the way you'd shape clay. But I'm sure they'd prefer to use the above Doc-Band if it was easily available in the third world.
posted by exhilaration at 7:12 AM on July 19, 2009

I saw a documentary about the history of head binding and one section was about an old lady in the US oiling up her great grandchild's head and gently pursuading the bumps out of it. She said that the technique went all the way back to Africa. I suppose of course, YMMV.
posted by bonobothegreat at 8:42 AM on July 19, 2009

I have a picture of myself from when I was first born where I look like Ernie.

It did fade. I no longer have an Ernie-shaped head, you'll be happy to know.

Don't worry about it. Also, you probably shouldn't worry about the next thing that you worry about, but you will. Post another question then.
posted by A Terrible Llama at 1:59 PM on July 19, 2009

Also, I don't think you should try reshaping your kid's head. You have enough to do.
posted by A Terrible Llama at 2:00 PM on July 19, 2009

I recall this as being common, and also that the profession of pediatrics exists pretty much to reassure the parents of 3 month olds that everything is normal, don't worry. Don't be afraid to ask your doctor.
posted by nax at 2:42 PM on July 19, 2009

The same happened to one of my older brothers and he ended up with a perfectly normal-shaped head. Interesting note though - he was one of identical twins and he wears glasses while the other does not. My mum thinks this is a result of his birth and that it mis-shaped his eyeballs, but she isn't a biologist - and glasses aren't the end of the world!
posted by teraspawn at 2:43 PM on July 19, 2009

I live in a country where that technique is more commonly used than forceps.

And do lots of your countrymen have lumpy, elongated skulls?

This is totally normal -- babies' heads always come out kind of squooshed. It takes a month or two for the lumps to even out, but it does even out.
posted by ook at 8:47 AM on July 20, 2009

a month or two

(or more; I don't really remember exactly when my son's conehead disappeared.)
posted by ook at 8:48 AM on July 20, 2009

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