Florida photographer Kayla Reeder captured a rare photoset of an active childbirth this Valentine’s Day, including photos that show how an infant’s head changes shape to pass through the birth canal.
Reeder, who specializes in newborn and maternity photos, photographed the birth of couple Nikki and Chris’s son Graham. The photos show Nikki in labor, Graham’s head after emerging from the canal and the couple’s first moments with their newborn son.
“The molding on Graham’s head was extra dramatic because of his position. His head was tilted a bit to the side so the molding isn’t centered and it caused his mama to push for a bit longer than if he would have been in a better position,” Reeder told the Daily Mail.
The photographer received a call from Nikki four days past her due date, alerting that she was in labor and headed to the hospital.
“Her daughter came in for a kiss before it was time to push and you could tell how much it encouraged mama,” Reeder told Popsugar.
Thanks to Graham’s tilted position, Reeder said, the birth was longer and more difficult. It also resulted in the newborn’s cone-shaped head, but Reeder said there was no cause for alarm.
A baby’s skull has soft spots made of fontanelle that allow it to pass through the birth canal more easily. As an infant grows, the skull slowly fuses together, becoming solid bone. During the childbirth process, the fontanelle can mold and change shape like Graham’s, thanks to the pressure caused by the blood, birthing fluids and passing through the vagina.
An infant’s head shape should be examined in the months after childbirth, but babies virtually always develop a normal skull within a few months.
Babies born breech, feet first, or through C-section do not experience this. Although Graham’s coning appeared relatively extreme, it was normal and no cause for alarm, Reeder said.
Nikki’s labor, through slowed down by Graham’s positioning, went without incident and required no intervention. Within two days, Reeder said, his head was round and normal. The baby joins his older sister, mom and dad.