Babies’ skulls are malleable when they’re first born, so some abnormal shapes are to be expected. Dr. Dina Kulik explains what to expect.

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My newborn’s head is a bit misshapen from birth. Will this go away?

To enable a successful delivery, babies have soft, pliable skulls that can change shape. Some babies will come out with a bit of a bulge on the top of their heads, which is usually on one side of the skull and is often soft. Called a cephalohematoma, it is essentially a big bruise between the skull and the skin from having been in the birth canal upside down during delivery. It is totally normal and not a sign of damage to the brain or skull.

You might notice it for a couple of days or even weeks after birth. As it resolves, it may feel more firm or squishy, but it shouldn’t increase in size—if it does, see your doctor.

If your baby was delivered by vacuum extraction, you may also see a bruise and mild swelling from where the vacuum was placed. This will also resolve within a few days.


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