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November 15, 2016
For the moms out there with kids like mine, I have some BIG news. Chances are as your due date is approaching, and if this is your first time, the process of birth is probably weighing heavily on your mind. I can remember a few weeks before my son was born and I just kept thinking about the “big moment.” During the last ultrasound, the doctor had mentioned that she thought he had a larger than average head circumference. When I heard this my first thought was, “Wow his brain is huge and he’s going to be a genius!” Little did I know that this might actually be true. Even less did I know how much this would scare me about an hour later.
At first, it was an exciting thought that I had with absolutely no research or evidence to back it up. And then it was absolutely terrifying for my body. During those last couple of weeks, it was all I could think about. I watched some really horrifying videos and read some graphic articles. I was so afraid of what would happen to my body that I prayed and prayed for a c-section.
There was no real evidence that the size of your baby or their head makes any difference in labor length, intensity or pain but it was still so scary. Despite my fears, everything went as well as I could have asked for. Okay, I had a c-section. No matter the size of your baby or their head, there is some really great news!
New research shows that babies with larger heads are more likely to succeed. UK Biobank’s research found a strong link between higher intelligence with large head circumferences and brain volume. The study is following 500,000 Britons to discover the links between their genes, their mental and physical health and their path through life. Participants were given cognitive tests and the results were compared with several areas to find any associations between the cognitive test score and involved genes, head circumference and brain volume.
It’s important to remember that having a smaller head does not equal poor cognitive function, nor does it mean that a large head automatically means excellent cognitive function. This does not mean that if your child’s head is smaller that they will struggle. There are many, many variables which can impact a child’s cognitive development success in life.
As a parent, you really don’t need to worry much about the results of studies at this level. What you can take away from this is that there are many variables which impact your child’s development. Perhaps you feel like your child is really struggling even though you are doing everything you can to help them.
Some people might find it comforting that there are also genetic components in development, like this study has shown, and it isn’t solely based upon parenting. Some babies and children are just harder than others in terms of caring for them and teaching them. And if nothing else, try not to worry about a larger head when it comes to thinking about childbirth.
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