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Newborns and cephalohematoma

Infant cephalohematoma happens in 1 to 2 percent of live births. This injury occurs more often when birth-assisting tools are used during the delivery process. While the initial injury may heal without medical problems, additional complications may arise. Families should be well aware of this condition and complicating factors.

What is cephalohematoma?

Cephalohematoma is a pooling of blood between the infant's skull and internal layers of skin caused from damage to blood vessels. Infant brain cells are not at risk with this trauma.

What are the symptoms?

There aren't many outward symptoms of cephalohematoma. This is an internal trauma, and it may be difficult to notice a laceration. Infants may not display behavioral symptoms that are clear to the general observer.

Parents and medical professionals need to be attentive in their observations. Symptoms of infant cephalohematoma include jaundice, infection, anemia, or unnatural bulges located on the head of the infant. A physician should be contacted immediately if an unusual bulge is apparent.

What are the risk factors?

There are a few risk factors that can lead to infant cephalohematoma. There is a direct link of the increased risk of cephalohematoma to forceps use during delivery. Other factors include:

  • A prolonged and difficult labor;
  • First pregnancies; and
  • The mother's pelvic area is smaller than the infant's head.

Cephalohematoma injuries can heal on their own but active observation and treatment of this injury and other conditions are necessary for parents and physicians to perform on those at risk.

Do you suspect your newborn has cephalohematoma?

This condition can result from medical negligence. Delivery doctors may be responsible for this injury to a newborn. It is important for affected parents to consult with a compassionate and experienced legal professional to understand their medical malpractice options as they apply in Southern Illinois.

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