To make birth as simple as possible, nature has been very kind. The largest part of the baby to appear (and usually the first) is the head. It is essential, of course, that the head fits through the mother’s bony pelvis.

That’s right. For this reason the bones of the head are relatively soft and quite pliable at birth. The bones forming the skull are in several segments. Later on, they will grow and finally join up (fuse). However, if the head is a tight fit at birth, the bones are able to move around, overlap and even change shape.

Seeing a newborn baby who has experienced a difficult birth is not uncommon. Frequently the head is quite misshapen. But this is temporary, and merely reflects the versatility of this part of the human body to stress. On top of the skull, where these bones come together, a fairly large hole occurs in the bone. This is referred to as the “fontanelle.”

Right again. If you feel for it, you will always discover it in a new baby. As your fingers move over the firm skull bones, they will suddenly encounter a marked lessening of resistance. The part is soft. The skin of the scalp covers the hole. Underneath this are blood spaces, and under this again is the brain.

In years gone by when baby may have required a blood transfusion, it was often done via the “fontanelle.” Do not be alarmed at feeling the fontanelle. It is perfectly normal.