Head lag in infancy: What is it telling us?

Roberta G. Pineda, Lauren C. Reynolds, Kristin Seefeldt, Claudia L. Hilton, Cynthia E. Rogers, Terrie E. Inder

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Objective. To investigate changes in head lag across postmenstrual age and define associations between head lag and (1) perinatal exposures and (2) neurodevelopment. METHOD. Sixty-four infants born ≤30 wk gestation had head lag assessed before and at term-equivalent age. Neurobehavior was assessed at term age. At 2 yr, neurodevelopmental testing was conducted. RESULTS. Head lag decreased with advancing postmenstrual age, but 58% (n = 37) of infants continued to demonstrate head lag at term. Head lag was associated with longer stay in the neonatal intensive care unit (p =.009), inotrope use (p =.04), sepsis (p =.02), longer endotracheal intubation (p =.01), and cerebral injury (p =.006). Head lag was related to alterations in early neurobehavior (p <.03), but no associations with neurodevelopment were found at 2 yr. CONCLUSION. Head lag was related to medical factors and early neurobehavior, but it may not be a good predictor of outcome when used in isolation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalAmerican Journal of Occupational Therapy
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 2016

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Occupational Therapy


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