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The moulded baby syndrome: incidence and risk factors regarding 1,001 neonates


Postural deformities are frequent in neonates. The moulded baby syndrome (MBS) comprises one or more of the following disorders: plagiocephaly, torticollis, congenital scoliosis, pelvic obliquity, adduction contracture of a hip and/or malpositions of the knees or feet. We analysed the incidence of MBS in healthy neonates and identified the risk factors of its composing elements. One thousand and one healthy neonates were examined on the second or third day of life by the same paediatrician. Familial, obstetrical, perinatal history and putative risk factors for postural deformities were collected. Families of newborns with a torticollis or plagiocephaly were given positioning advice and the outcome was evaluated by a phone survey 2 months later. MBS was detected in 107 neonates (10.7%): 97 plagiocephalies or torticollis, 25 congenital scoliosis or pelvic obliquities, and 13 malpositions of the knees or feet. We identified risk factors related to the mother (age: OR = 1.39, parity: OR = 0.643), to the obstetrical history (preterm labour: OR = 1.65, oligoamnios: OR = 10.179, breech presentation: OR = 2.746, pregnancy toxaemia: OR = 3.773, instrumental delivery: OR = 6.028) and to the newborn (male gender: OR = 1.982, birth length: OR = 1.196). The initial plagiocephaly or torticollis improved in 77% of infants after 2 months of stimulation and positioning measures. Paediatricians should be alert regarding the frequent but subtle MBS postural deformities and give positioning advice to the parents. A neonate of male gender or greater birth length, with an older primiparous mother, a history of preterm labour, oligoamnios or pregnancy toxaemia, a breech presentation or an assisted delivery is more likely to have MBS.

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Moulded baby syndrome


Odds ratio


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Correspondence to Amandine S. Rubio.

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Rubio, A.S., Griffet, J.R., Caci, H. et al. The moulded baby syndrome: incidence and risk factors regarding 1,001 neonates. Eur J Pediatr 168, 605 (2009).

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  • TAC syndrome
  • Plagiocephaly
  • Torticollis
  • Congenital scoliosis
  • Hip contracture