A health expert, Dr. Chinonso Egemba, has cautioned mothers and grandmothers against using hot towels to remould the head of newborns, noting that the act could cause brain injury to the infants.
Dr. Egemba, popularly known as ‘Aproko Doctor’ on social media said it is inappropriate for anyone to reshape the head of a newborn.
Dr. Egemba stated this in a new post on his Instagram page @aproko_doctor.
He noted that an irregular head shape may occur during the vaginal birth, because of how tender and delicate the heads of newborns are.
This he said is not an unusual occurrence that requires the intervention of the mother to correct, stressing that the head will return to its normal shape later.
He said, “During birth when the baby is passing through the vaginal canal, because of how soft and how fragile the baby’s core bones are, they can overlap on each other and if birth is prolonged, because of how long the baby’s head has spent in the vagina, it may retain a certain shape.
“African mothers, when there is birth around you, you have brought a hot towel to remould and arrange the head.
“That thing you are doing is causing problems for the baby.
“Excessive moulding can damage some of the baby’s brain because their skull is fragile and pressure can affect the baby’s brain,” Egemba warned.
He explained that over time the head will return to its normal shape, adding that this may be in a couple of days or weeks.
He further urged mothers to be patient during this period, adding that they should refrain from using towels to reshape the newborn’s head.
Reacting to the post, a Consultant Neonatologist, Dr. Andrew Eigbedion said, “Babies may come out with irregular head because of a narrower than normal pelvic outlet relative to the size of the baby’s head.
“If the mother’s pelvic outlet is smaller compared to the baby’s head which is bigger, chances are that moulding can occur at birth.”
Eigbedion who works at Irrua Specialist Teaching Hospital, Edo state, added saying, “If what they are using to do the moulding involves hot materials like hot clothes, for instance, the risk that can occur to the baby is a form of burns to the scalp and head of the baby.
“The baby’s scalp could also bleed, depending on the depth of hotness of the material being used to massage the head.”